Understanding and Living Values By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS Wednesday, 24th June 2009
In a previous column, I shared definitions on how they thought hospitality was real and personal; I have had additional input to be shared in a future article, but some readers started discussing ideas on Values and how challenging it is to identify and keep them.
In challenging economic times such as what we are facing today, it can be even more difficult to maintain them.
You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. --Harriet Woods (1927– 2007), American politician/activist, two-time Democratic nominee for the United States Senate from Missouri, and former Lieutenant Governor of Missouri.( 1st and so far only female Lieutenant Governor).
While I tend to focus on the hospitality industry, I also believe that many business practices are transferable from one industry to another and I recalled reading about this topic of VALUES in a number of places the past 20 years.
One of the best books I ever read on the topic was A Passion for Excellence , the 1985 sequel to IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE by Bob Waterman and Tom Peters. This book offered example after example of what they called “the Leadership Difference.” 2
One of the companies cited in the book was Johnson & Johnson, the global company that produces a wide range of medical products and services.
In a 20073, Russell C. Deyo, General Counsel, Johnson & Johnson was interviewed and shared some insights in a British legal magazine on how that global company maintained its sense of purpose and values.
The article quoted Deyo as saying that “A credo or corporate vision is meaningless unless the words are taken off the wall and put into action. We have had the benefit of operating under our Credo for over 60 years. It is built into our organization and the DNA of our employees. Our Credo is a one-page document setting forth our responsibilities to our customers, our employees, the communities in which we live and work, and lastly to our shareholders. We believe that by focusing on our responsibilities to the first three groups of stakeholders, our shareholders will have a fair return.”
He explained the advantages for Johnson & Johnson and other companies that have a strong mission statement to attract and retain great people, saying people want to work in an environment that offers challenging and meaningful work and a culture where they are expected to do the right thing.
He talked about how critical a real corporate vision is to build pride as part of the company’s principle and that it created a framework for decision-making. He said that when making decisions, people would think about the quality of their decisions and the impact of those decisions. He commented that this encouraged decision makers to focus on ethical considerations and long-term impact rather than merely short-term business results, which was important for a global company like theirs where there is substantial accountability with the management boards of distant business units.
J & J is the parent company that produces and markets Tylenol. In the article, Deyo explained that the Tylenol story is told frequently to new employees including new senior managers as a real world example of how the J&J Credo was used in making decisions and in offering insight into crisis management.
When management made the decision to recall every bottle of Tylenol capsules from every home and store in the United States after a very few bottles had been discovered to have been poisoned after distribution, it was a clear demonstration of putting the safety of customers first. He share that this incident also delivered other important lessons, including the importance of being open and transparent when responding to a crisis.
He explained there was also a story of innovation. A few months after the crisis, Tylenol was relaunched in triple-sealed, tamper-resistant packaging. This packaging is taken for granted today, but it was an important innovation to provide consumer safety and confidence. Deyo closed his interview with the observation that J&J people still like to refer to this incident as an example of how being true to the company Values, heritage and Credo results in decisions that pay dividends many times over.
The credo is listed on page 333 of A Passion for Excellence and is very visible on the Johnson & Johnson web site and company publications as noted in the following:
In a number of workshops and interactive training sessions over the years, I have used this credo as an outstanding example of stated values.
In many of our programs, we have modified it to one that is aligned with the hospitality industry. If any readers would like a copy of the hospitality version, please email me your request.
The hospitality industry deals with many issues, including security, safety, employment practices and operations. Understanding and living VALUES does make a difference – what is your hotel and company’s stand on it?
1 Tom Peters and Nancy Austin, Random House 1985 2 Cover sub-title of Passion for Excellence 3 January 2007, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Inc. 4 The credo is available on their web site in both printed form and in a short video that also reflects some of the firm’s diversity - www.jnj.com
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding speaking engagements, consulting, customized workshops Or feel free to share an idea for a column anytime. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication
John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events. He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.
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