The 6th Discipline of Guest Experiences: Culture

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too.  


Now matter how solid your strategy is or how carefully you design your Guest Experience, it’s simply impossible to plan for every single Guest interaction at every last touchpoint. At some point, you need to put your trust in your organization’s most valuable resource – your team members – to do the right thing for Guests.

Building a Guest-centric culture is critical to your success.

How exactly to you get to this level of a Guest-centric culture? First, you overhaul your recruiting practices so that you get Guest-obsessed people on the front lines. Second, you need to socialize the importance of Guest-centricity through storytelling, rituals, and training. Third, you’ve got to reinforce new values and behaviors through informal and formal rewards. Finally, tie it all together with a steady cadence of communication that never lets team members forget why they’re doing all of this in the first place.

Measurement Practices

  • Screen candidates for Guest-centric values as a part of the recruitment process
  • Screen candidates for the specific skills needed to deliver on the organization’s Guest Experience strategy as a part of the recruitment process
  • Provide training to help new and existing team members build and maintain the skills they need to deliver on their part of the organization’s Guest Experience strategy
  • Communicate the importance of Guest Experiences to all team members and partners
  • Collect and share stories of Guest Experience best practices with all team members
  • Perform rituals and routines that reinforce the importance of Guest Experience and what it takes to deliver it
  • Use informal rewards and celebrations to highlight exemplary Guest-centric behavior
  • Connect formal reward structures to performance on Guest Experience metrics

Guest-centric values are the building blocks for reprogramming your organizational DNA. Behaviors are how you turn all of the other practices form the other five disciplines – strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, and governance – into habits that your organization just can’t kick.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. You need to build a Guest-centric culture that pervades your church from bottom to top
  2. Recruit leaders of your hospitality teams for Guest passion and cultural fit
  3. Socialize the key behaviors required to deliver a great experience throughout your organization
  4. Reward team members to reinforce Guest-centric behaviors
  5. Solidify your Guest Experience efforts with constant communication about the “why”

Series Concluding Thought – Mastering these six essential disciplines of Guest Experience takes time and effort but it’s something that you have to do. If you want to succeed at connecting with Guests coming to your campus, you have to decide – right here, right now – to roll up your sleeves and do the work of building competence in these six disciplines. That may scare you – but what should scare you more is the thought of becoming irrelevant to your Guests – which is what will happen if you don’t take action.

To read an overview of the Six Disciplines of Guest Experiences, go here. To begin reading an in-depth review of each of the six, go here.

If you haven’t already, order your personal copy of Outside In right now. This is an excellent guide to developing a Guest Experience ministry in your church – one that you will refer to time and again. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine have done an amazing job of writing a business text that has immediate and far-reaching implications for your church. Go ahead and gift it to yourself for Christmas this year!


Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here



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