In the easy-reading but powerfully-impacting style he is known for, Mark Miller has released his newest book Chess Not Checkers.
And he’s not playing around…
Well, actually he is – and that’s the part leaders everywhere will enjoy. Miller tells the story of Blake Underwood, newly appointed CEO of a company troubled by poor performance and low morale. Nothing seems to work – especially trying to do what he’s always done before.
The problem, his new mentor points out, is that Blake is playing the wrong game.
Here’s a couple of quotes that set the whole book up:
Most of us began our leadership journey utilizing an approach with striking similarities to the game of checkers, a fun, highly reactionary game often played at a frantic pace. Any strategies we employed in this style of leadership were limited, if not rudimentary.
The game today for most leaders can be better compared to chess – a game in which strategy matters; a game in which individual pieces have unique abilities that drive unique contributions; a game in which heightened focus and a deeper level of thinking are required to win.
Chess Not Checkers is an enjoyable read that leaders in all organizations will want to put into practice quickly. Here are the “4 Winning Moves” Miller develops in the book:
- Bet on Leadership – Growing leaders grow organizations
- Act as One – Alignment multiplies impact
- Win the Heart – Engagement energizes effort
- Excel at Execution – Greatness hinges on execution
It’s your move…
It’s one thing to have a Credo, Three Steps of Service, and 12 Service Values like the Ritz-Carlton (see the post here for more details on these Gold Standards). Many businesses go through the exercise of defining key values or composing mission statements. They might even display them in their literature, or in imposing art displays on the corporate walls.
But how many business leaders understand the importance of regular and repetitive presentation of these core aspects of their business – not only to management, but also to their front-line staff?
Enter the “lineup” at Ritz-Carlton.
To truly appreciate the Ritz-Carlton leadership approach to repeated dissemination of the “Gold Standards” mentioned above, you would have to drop in on a section of the housekeeping staff as they prepare for their days work – or at the corporate headquarters – or in the kitchen of the fine restaurants that serve the hotel chain – or anywhere, and everywhere, throughout the entire organization.
You would observe that a meeting is taking place at the beginning of each shift. Not just any meeting, though: the leader in each group starts by sharing the Credo and talking about the importance of creating a unique guest experience. Another team member might share a guest story from a Ritz-Carlton hotel in another country. Another team member shares how what they do in their department helps create memorable guest experiences. Then a few quick announcements, special recognitions are given, and another team member closes the meeting with a motivational quote.
All in about 20 minutes.
On every shift.
In every Ritz-Carlton hotel and office around the world.
The magic of the lineup involves the following:
- Repetition of values – the core belief that values need to be discussed daily, and that values can’t be discussed enough
- Common language – shared phrases across all tasks binds the team together
- Visual symbols – The Credo is printed on a card that all team members carry at all times
- Oral traditions – Personal, direct, and face-to-face communication makes a huge impact in a world increasingly dominated by e-mail, text, and voice messages
- Positive storytelling – stories communicate life in a powerful and memorable way
- Modeling by leaders – the active, daily presence of the leaders communicates the importance of the time together
What would “lineup” for each of your Guest Services teams do to preserve the core values, communicate the importance of everyone on the team, and provide momentum for the day’s activities?
Or how about this word for the process?