We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen

credo card

Back in the early 2000s, I took on the opportunity (never a challenge, always an opportunity) to lead a resort in the Cayman Islands. I began by looking to best practice and saw that the top hotel brands in the world had an unerring focus on their internal culture and then delivering, through that, to their guests.

I often say “get clear on the WHY and the HOW is easy”, and at the same time, people need to know HOW to deliver on the WHY.

Today a simple story from one of the hotel brands I studied in depth back then, the Ritz-Carlton hotel company.

We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen

This one simple statement speaks so much to the top class hotel brand that is Ritz-Carlton.

In my studies of top hospitality brands, one of my key learnings was that the phrases “the customer is always right” and, similarly, “put the customer first” are sure ways to fail.

The way to build a strong and sustainable high service culture that continues to grow and develop over time is, instead, to put your people first. Only by doing so will they then be able to put their people first.

I could wax lyrical about books like “Peak” by Chip Conley, “The Experience Economy” by Pine and Gilmore (both books were bibles for me in building and leading a hospitality culture). I could talk about “people first” service businesses like Southwest Airlines, Four Seasons, Gleneagles Hotel and others.

Today though, I simply suggest you take some time to look at the underpinning of the Ritz Carlton culture. It includes their credo and the pocket credo card that ever staff member carries with them at all times. This gives them a simple set of “how” rules, guides and values.

However, the driving force for all that Ritz-Carlton does is that they recognise their people first as “Ladies and Gentlemen” before asking them to serve their guests.


Also published on Medium.

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