by Colm Allen
What are the values by which your company is run? Is your company vision so clear that your employees could clearly articulate those values and goals to a stranger and perform them on a daily basis?
What’s the difference between your company and your No. 1 competitor? It’s the people. You can’t build a great company by hiring bad people, and there’s no sustainable growth without the right team. No matter what you “do,” recognize we are all in the people business. In our industry, the job of leadership is to define the company strategy and build the right teams to perform the “service” of construction management.
A very wise senior construction executive we know is fond of saying, “When the project is over, and the building is occupied, all the client remembers is the ride.” The ride = service. The journey should be driven by your company vision so that your team can take your clients on the ride of their lives!
“When the ride is so good, it’s never about money — it’s about the experience.”
If you need some inspiration, look to industries outside of construction that have already made the investment in service, and you’ll see it’s paid off. It’s definitely possible to make service the factor that defines your company, and it’s 100% worth doing.
Take The Ritz-Carlton for example. They have a philosophy called their Gold Standards, which encompass the values by which they operate.
In their motto, they state who they are and what they stand for:
- “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen. This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.”
They define their commitment to service values so clearly that everyone from the bellhop to the managing director understands how to behave and perform as a member of The Ritz-Carlton team:
- I am proud to be Ritz-Carlton.
- I build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life.
- I am always responsive to the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.
- I am empowered to create unique, memorable, and personal experiences for our guests.
- I understand my role in achieving the Key Success Factors, embracing Community Footprints, and creating The Ritz-Carlton Mystique.
- I continuously seek opportunities to innovate and improve The Ritz-Carlton experience.
- I own and immediately resolve guest problems.
- I create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met.
- I have the opportunity to continuously learn and grow.
- I am involved in the planning of the work that affects me.
- I am proud of my professional appearance, language, and behavior.
- I protect the privacy and security of our guests, my fellow employees, and the company’s confidential information and assets.
- I am responsible for uncompromising levels of cleanliness and creating a safe and accident-free environment.
And finally, they have made a promise to their employees to “nurture and maximize talent to the benefit of each individual and the company” because it knows “our Ladies and Gentlemen are the most important resource in our service commitment to our guests.”
Let’s connect service back to the bottom line. Consider The Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Depending on the suite size, room rates are between $650 and $6,000 for a regular Tuesday night, and their customers will happily pay a premium for the experience. Why? Because the ride at The Ritz-Carlton is outstanding.
They are so good at the ride, that in 2000 they launched The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, where thousands of executives from various industries go to learn about customer service, employee engagement, and leadership development. Your competition could be training with them right now!
The Ritz-Carlton has over 35,000 employees and 89 hotels in 29 countries and territories, and their Gold Standards apply to each team member worldwide. Their luxury properties are consistently rated among the best in the world, so they must be doing something right. It goes to show that if a company of this size can make service a “critical success factor” to their business, then there’s no reason your company can’t adopt some version in your own business. In a world where we are being inundated with all things technology, service still matters.
So, again I ask, why are you really in business?
- What do you stand for?
- How are your values defining your company?
- Have you articulated them to your team?
- Do you have the right team to execute your vision?
The good news is that when you’re clear on your values, your company will be like a magnet; it will be so compelling it will attract the right talent to help you grow the business, the best vendors to partner with, and great clients to work for.