Louis Carter named as a Top 10 Global Guru in the Field of Organizational Culture

Louis Carter, Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute and author of the recent book,In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance and Create an Emotionally Connected Workplace (McGraw-Hill, 2019) has been named as a top 10 Organizational Culture Professional on the 2019 Global Gurus list. The awards will be presented at the Global Gurus Awards Gala on July 6, 2019.

The Global Gurus List ranks the top 30 of the world's best experts in various fields like Leadership, Coaching, Organizational Culture, NLP and more. The Global Gurus List is compiled of 16 categories from around the world, and is the only list that acknowledges non-English speaking gurus and gurus in third world countries making an impact for their contribution to the world.

“It is an honor to be named along some of the founders of our field, and my early mentors, and now peers,” says Carter. “Having worked with companies throughout the world in Asia, The Middle East and Europe, in addition to North America reinforces that the most successful organizations, regardless of where they are, share a common value of their most impor
tant asset, their people.”

The Global Gurus List is determined by a criteria consisting of Public opinion (30%), Originality of ideas (30%), Impact of original ideas (10%), Practicality of ideas (10%), Presentation style (10%), Number of publications and writings (5%) and Guru factor (5%).

For more about Global Gurus, visit https://globalgurus.org/organizational-culture-gurus-30/.

About Louis Carter

Louis Carter is CEO and President of Best Practice Institute, a benchmark research consortium, association and management consulting firm that helps organizations and C-suite senior executives achieve their market strategy through talent and change management. His books include Change Champions, Best Practices in Talent Management, Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change and Leading the Global Workforce. He has spoken at universities and institutions from Beijing to the United States to Hong Kong and Dubai, and has been quoted and profiled by Fast Company, Investor's Business Daily, Forbes, Pando Daily and CIO Magazine. His research and teaching has been translated across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America. His numerous advisor, facilitation and acceleration roles focus on public relations, research, and technology consulting. His newest book is In Great Company: How to Achieve Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace (McGraw Hill, February 2019). Learn more at https://www.louiscarter.com.

See the official press release here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/louis_carter_named_as_a_top_10_global_guru_in_the_field_of_organizational_culture/prweb16420143.htm

The Best HR Practices in the Hospitality Industry

The Best HR Practices in the Hospitality Industry

In the hospitality industry, the quality of your customer services and staff responsiveness has a direct impact on the image and reputation of your hotel, as well as its bottom line. Being the frontline brand ambassadors, the performance of your employees is what drives the true competitive of your hotel. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to attract, train, develop, and retain passionate, competent, and accountable employees, and find ways to keep them engaged and motivated to perform their best.

Hotel executives need to devise a well-managed and robust talent management strategy that creates a culture of ongoing development, high performance, and organization-wide commitment to providing top-notch service in a practical way. In this article, we are going to examine the value of talent management and how hoteliers can include high levels of customer centricity in the hospitality industry for optimum results.

Best Practices for Talent Management and High Levels of Customer Centricity

HR managers and executives have always concentrated on basic steps of talent management, such as recruiting, hiring, and retaining skilled and experienced employees. But to reach high levels of success, they need dedicated, high-performing employees that utilize customer-centric approach. Moreover, they need to establish a talent management strategy focused on developing a culture driven by performance based evaluations to help curb employee turnover costs, increase employee satisfaction, and assure high customer service levels.

Implementing a talent management program requires careful planning and thorough understanding of all the organization’s elements that work in unison to drive results. Many hotels are incorporating web-based solutions to optimize their key management functions in order for managers, HR executives, and employees to shift their focus to other high value activities.

A good example of web-based talent management system is of Pechanga Resort and Casino in California. It handles employee appraisals and support performance programs for its workforce of over 5000 employees. Within just a year, the hotel experienced significant positive results in terms of better alignment and lower turnover.

Some hotels are using several highly effective talent management practices to enforce customer-centric culture to improve their customer services:

Creating Internal Talent Pools

Instead of driving resources to finding new hires with specific skills set for different positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes.

Developing Collaboration by Eliminating Information Silos

Information silos hinder information flow among different levels of organization and create obstacles in the way of success. For better performance, experience and knowledge must be readily available to employees, and must be proactively delivered to the right person at the right time.

Meaningful Customer Service Values

While every hotel has its own elaborate purpose, mission, and vision, it is of paramount importance that they include elements geared toward providing meaningful and differentiated customer experience. The senior management needs to outline such customer service values of their hotel, and ensure that their staff at all levels has clear understanding of how their individual actions contribute to providing these values.

Aligning Corporate Strategy with Individual Roles

Goal alignment is a powerful management tool. When you engage employees using this tool, they feel greater ownership in directing their efforts to achieving the hotel’s strategic goals, and become more committed to exhibit higher performance.

Employee Empowerment

Apart from establishing meaningful customer service values, senior executives also need to empower employees to ensure they deliver them in a way that adds values to the customer experience. Not only that, they should be able to closely tie the hotel’s purpose with the culture of employee empowerment, in order to generate effective results.

Executing Enterprise-Wide Transformation

Effective and long-term structural transformation is essentially based on four main characteristics: scale, magnitude, duration, and strategic importance. Nevertheless, hotels can only reap the benefits when the transformation takes place at individual employee level. There is no one-size-fit-all solution for executing change organization-wide, but there are several tools, techniques, and practices that can be implemented in most situations.

Change should Start at the Top

While change in an organization is unsettling for people at all levels, employees turn to the upper management and leaders to provide strength and support, and lead by example. The leaders will have to first embrace the new approaches and become a role model, if they want to motivate the rest of the workforce.

Clearly Communicating the Message

Too often, it has been observed that leaders assume their employees will eventually understand the issues, sense the need to change, and set themselves on the new direction to embrace the change. Instead, they need to reinforce core messages through timely advice, which should be both practical and inspirational. Moreover, to ensure the execution of change, the leaders may need to over-communicate in certain situations through multiple, redundant mediums.

Explaining How Change Affects Employees Individually

Organization-wide change is not only an institutional journey; it is a personal one as well. Each employee needs to know this change is going to affect their work, what they are expected during and after the transformation process, on what basis their performance will be measured, and what is the altered definition of success and failure.

Involve Every Layer

As the transformation process progress, the leaders need to be identified and trained in a way that they completely understand the altered vision, mission, and values in order to make the change a success.

Lessons from Industry Leaders: Acts of Extreme Customer Services

Ritz Carlton Hotel

The famous Ritz Carlton Hotel set an example of great customer service, which went viral on the internet in no time. Chris Hurn stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island on a vacation with his family, where his son accidently left behind his dearest stuffed animal, Joshie. Chris told his son that Joshie decided to stay a little longer there. He called the hotel to enquire whether they have Joshie, as his son was feeling devastated without his little friend. Luckily, they found it and told Chris that they will send Joshie over.

To support Chris’s little story, the hotel staff took a few pictures of Joshie having a massage, by the poolside, and taking a drive along the beach. Impressed by the thoughtfulness of the hotel, he decided to make a video to share his experience with the world.

InterContinental Hotels

InterContinental Hotels started offering destination advice to tourists by making videos featuring hotel concierges. The hotel also uses live video chat on Apple’s Facetime and Skype to connect with their guests to provide their concierge service for a higher level of customer service through digital channels.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

The Gaylord Opryland resort is operated by Marriott International, and knows how to satisfy a repeat customer to keep them coming back for more. Christina McMenemy, a regular customer of the hotel, was entranced with the spa-style music of the clock radio in the guestroom. Since the clock was custom-made for the hotel only, she couldn’t find it anywhere to get one for her bedroom.

During her recent visit, she expressed her desire to the hotel management if she could get the alarm clock, but was turned down. Disappointed, she decided to give up her hunt. But later on, she found two alarm clocks on her side table with a note saying, “We hope you enjoy these spa sounds at home.”

With the cutthroat competition in the hospitality industry, a well-thought-out talent management strategy has the power to dramatically improve customer service levels, along with employee engagement, and significantly lower the employee turnover rate. The result is a more competitive, agile organization, where each member of the workforce has a clear idea of what is recognized as accomplishments and how they can achieve rewards.

To Be Great at Sales, Know Your True Customer and Follow-Up!

To Be Great at Sales, Know Your True Customer and Follow-Up!

For any business, the true mark of success lies in their sales. The amount of sales they are able to make per year can mean the difference between bankruptcy and rapid and sustainable growth. A company’s sales are largely influenced by the salespeople they have, who are directly influenced by the sales leadership. Moreover, salespeople are also responsible for studying, crafting, and directing sales strategies.

Keep in mind that sales are not only made by the sales team—the sales strategy makes a direct impact on the number of sales a business experiences. It takes between six and nine months—or more—for businesses to establish practices for selling that show real results. Continuous improvement and testing is critical. Each company has their own method or technique that works to their benefit. The following are the four best practices for selling that businesses have used to increase their sales. Surprisingly, none of them have to do with selling—it is all centered on solutions and servicing the customer and becoming centered on their needs. To be the best sales leader, become customer-centric and get to know your true customer – all of their questions, the right person, and stay motivated.

Prepare for All Types of Questions and Circumstances

Salespeople should be prepared for any question the customer might throw at them. A skilled salesperson is a conversationalist who is so well-versed about the product that they can answer almost any question the client may have about it. Moreover, they go above and beyond their duty in trying to ensure that the customers are comfortable and happy with the products they’re getting from them.

In 2007, an ice storm turned the Eastern Seaboard’s airports into igloos during Valentine’s Day. JetBlue was left with no choice but to cancel around 1,000 flights, leading to hundreds of stranded customers venting their rage online. Rather than blaming Mother Nature, JetBlue CEO David Neeleman apologized publicly for the inconvenience and introduced a customer’s bill of rights, along with a monetary compensation. That year, JetBlue won first place in J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study for low-cost air carriers.

Work On Self-Motivation

The best sales happen when a person is self-motivated to continue working towards targets that they have set for themselves. These don’t always have to align with the targets that the company has set out for them. Moreover, these can often be higher and loftier than the targets set out for them. A self-motivated person is also more invested in the company and is more productive than your average employee.

The Navy Seals is an excellent example of self-motivation on steroids. They are driven by an internal desire to succeed and “never quit.” Navy Seal Tom Shea, in his book, Unbreakable: A Navy Seal’s Way of Life talks about going beyond quitting and facing your internal fears. He explains how important it is to taste, feel, and experience what failure may be like as a motivator.  He asks the question, “What would your life be like if you never quit? You would be unbreakable.” His final lesson is: “Never quit on yourself.”

Deal with Decision-Makers

When trying to make a sale, a salesperson will always connect with the decision-makers and do their best to convince them that they must work with them. Even if they deal with a secondary person, they have enough charisma to convert them to their side and gain an ally who convinces the decision-maker as well. When it comes to making sales, this is one trick that only seasoned professionals really know about.

According to a salesperson in the financial sector, the biggest challenge, however, is managing expectations, while still educating newcomers about the steps that they will need to take in the future. While there is sense of haste to get the maximum gains, you cannot promise large returns if the person on the other side is not ready to take risk. The thing about risk is… well, it’s risky. So, how does one counter that? You sell a solution, not a service.

Always Follow Up

A good sales team will always run a follow-up procedure to ensure that their customers are happy with the product or service. Following up can often lead to more sales when the customer is satisfied. Moreover, it’s not always the after-care that needs follow-up. Sometimes, an initial call made by the customer can also get cut off or lost midway. Salespeople who have followed up on those missed calls have also ended up making more sales.

Read the article about The Founding & Growth Of The Best Practice Institute

In business, a PR crisis is always a bad review, YouTube video, or ice storm away. The key is to be quick-to-respond. Not too long ago, Apple withdrew its iOS 8.0.1. The company did it within an hour of its release. While the problem was of connectivity and performance issues, which even caused loss of service, Apple’s response was anything but slow and thick. Apple apologized, offered its users a convenient workaround, and set to work on the iOS 8.0.2. As a result, customers weren’t given the time to post those bad reviews and YouTube videos we just mentioned, and the company went on to increase its sales and gain the trust of their customers.

Ending Note

Buying behavior has changed forever. Customers are educating themselves via the Internet and social media – and your sales process needs to change as well. The four best sales leadership practices above are practiced by various different companies, ranging from small businesses to global businesses. Moreover, used in conjunction with a strong marketing strategy, these are some of the most successful sales strategies.

Veteran Recruiting: Keeping the Top US Employers on the Top

Veteran Recruiting: Keeping the Top US Employers on the Top

Turn on the TV or navigate through at an online job portal, and you are likely to see a report, ad, or article of a company, reading that they are hiring veterans. You may wonder whether they are doing so to honor the service members, or is there some kind of smart business strategy behind it?

Well, it is the latter in most cases. In the past few years, civilian and government employers have become aware of a host of unique strengths and useful capabilities veterans possess, and the value they can add to their enterprise. They have realized that veterans have a lot to offer, as a majority of them are educated, detailed-oriented, disciplined, quick learners, self-starters, professional, and have a strong work ethic.

With so many qualities, it only makes sense for top US employers to establish themselves as veteran friendly organizations to attract this highly qualified talent pool. A few notable examples of such companies include Walmart, Halliburton, and Best-Buy. Let’s delve deeper and understand why veteran recruiting is experiencing an upward trend and how this practice is helping the top US employers to stay on the top US employer’s lists.

Why Top Employers are Emphasizing Veteran Recruiting

The answer to this question is quite straightforward: Veterans are arguably some of the most competent, technically trained, and entrepreneurial individuals in the US.  Gone are the days when hiring a veteran was seen as a philanthropic act to help the country’s heroes get jobs. Nowadays, employers see hiring a veteran as a beneficial recruitment decision.

Companies willing to tap into this elite talent pool are making relentless efforts to not only ensure recruiting and hiring qualified veteran employees, but also retaining them to cap the turnover rate to continue leveraging from the capabilities of the right individuals. If you look at the ‘Best for Vets’ list of MilitaryTimes, the companies like Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Capital One and others, are utilizing the best recruitment and retaining practices for veterans.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common qualities and skills that veterans bring with them:

Refined Leadership Skills

One of the critical components of military training is developing leadership qualities within the service members that enable them to cope with situations requiring confidence and initiative towards solving a problem. Along with leading, delegating, and motivating whenever required, they have to do these mostly in high-stress situations.

If their polished leadership skills are applied in a workplace environment, they are likely to stay composed and lead their team members into accomplishing the objectives and goals, all the while building confidence in their team.

Accelerated Learning Curve

Veterans are quick learners: they have the ability to grasp new skills and concepts rather easily. Moreover, they can easily enter the workforce and adapt to the workplace culture with identifiable and transferable skills, which they have already applied in real-world situations.

Strong Work Ethics

Every branch of the armed forces focuses on developing strong work ethic in the service members, because unreliable and unfocused service can put human lives in jeopardy. The training develops a mindset that they have to do whatever it takes to complete their task and achieve their goals. Such level of commitment to accomplishing objectives can prove to be invaluable for any organization, as they translate to consistency, self-discipline, reliability, and professional maturity.

Up-to-date with Latest Technology Trends and Globalization

Veterans are mostly aware of technical and global trends regarding business and industry, due to their experiences during the service. They have the kind of technological savvy and global outlook to excel in any organization.

CareerBuilder conducted a survey this year, and has highlighted a list of skills and qualities that employers think are beneficial and veterans bring to their organization:

  • Communication skills: 41 percent
  • Disciplined approach to work: 63 percent
  • Integrity and respect: 59 percent
  • Leadership skills: 52 percent
  • Perseverant attitude: 44 percent
  • Problem-solving skills: 48 percent
  • Quick adaption: 46 percent
  • Strong technical skills: 33 percent
  • Team player: 62 percent
  • Under pressure working: 54 percent

Tax Incentives

Apart from leveraging from veterans’ honed skills and abilities, employers enjoy some tax benefits as well. The government offers the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to companies that employ veterans. The amount of credit offered is dependent on the number of working hours and wages earned after one year. For example, for 400 hours worked, an employer can claim tax incentive worth 40 percent of veteran’s wage from the first year.

Another tax benefit is the Returning Heroes Tax Credit. This applies to companies that hire veterans unemployed for a certain period. Depending on the time span, the government allows employers to claim 40 percent of the specific amount of first year’s wage paid.

The Increasing Trend of Veteran Recruitment

The Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation conducted a study this year titled as, “Veteran Employment Survey: Understanding the Challenges and Creating Long-Term Opportunities for Veteran Employees”. It spanned for more than a year, between 2015 and 2016, and surveyed 1000 veterans and 400 human resource professionals across the US.

The study concluded with key findings that veterans are among the top three targeted individuals for recruitment by major companies nationwide. It also showed that US employers have dramatically increased the amount of efforts for recruiting and hiring veterans in recent years. However, some results indicated that there still exist gaps between civilian employers and military personnel today, and more streamlined efforts are required for making organizations realize the benefits of taking veterans on board and achieving success.

A Few Top US Employers Focusing their Efforts on Hiring Veterans

The Walt Disney Company

The CEO and Chairman Robert Iger of this industry giant started the Heroes Work Here (HWH) initiative in 2012, and accelerated the company’s efforts towards recruitment, retention, and support strategies for veterans and their families. The Walt Disney Company have hired more than 1,000 veteran employees by 2015, and has made more than 5,000 job offers to qualified veterans for different executive and middle management positions.

Walmart

The Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, initiated by Walmart, are continually expanding their efforts, and planning to extend their goal to hiring 200,000 veteran employees by the year 2020. The retail giant is already on track to on exceeding their existing goal of providing 100,000 jobs to veterans with short-term and long-term opportunities.

The Federal Government

Since veterans are less inclined towards joining the labor force, a large portion of veterans turn towards the government sector. Nearly half the military veterans are hired by the Federal government. This is evident from the fact that veterans make up 46.5 percent of the civilian employees that are working in the Department of Defense. Other sectors with high number of veteran employees include the Department of Transport, Department of Energy, and Department of Justice.

The top US employers have realized the potential of veterans and the many ways they can benefit from their unique strengths and capabilities. If you haven’t yet started a recruitment process for hiring veterans, it is best that you devise a strategy to attract talented veterans and get in the league of the top US employers.

In Search of Emotions: Confessions of a Strategic Thinker

In preparation for my new book on Emotional Connectedness, I asked several of my most trusted colleagues from the MG100 to tell me what they thought about the concept of emotional connectedness in business and life.

In Search of Emotions: Confessions of a Strategic Thinker

By Jeffrey Kuhn, EdD

Like many baby boomers, I was raised in the Cartesian tradition of subjugating emotions—the “passions of the soul” as Descartes called them. After all, emotions lie, and big boys don’t cry, or so I was taught. This imprinting led to a lifelong preference for thinking, especially abstract thinking and reflection, over feeling.

Twenty years ago, when Daniel Goleman’s work in emotional intelligence hit the scene, I dismissed it as silly human resources stuff. A couple of years later, during my doctoral studies at Columbia University, I was astonished by the number of colleagues who researched arcane forms of emotions, from somatic expression to emotional states of consciousness, for their dissertations, rather than something more practical that could be used in the real world. Despite my misgivings, emotions had taken center stage.

Reluctantly, through a series of pivotal experiences, I began to unchain my heart and see emotions in a new light. Shortly after graduation, an osteopath whom I’ve worked with for years (I’m a competitive cyclist) suggested that my head (intellectual capacity) and heart (emotional capacity) were out of balance. Decades of developing my mental muscle had taken a toll on my emotional capacity to a point where I would literally think what I was feeling rather than feel what I was feeling. I rejected his observation as New Age babble, but the seed had been planted—I gradually started to feel experiences and even found myself tearing up at movies. I also started noticing (and feeling) emotional capacity in others. While sitting on the tarmac on a flight home from Paris, I overheard a man sitting next to me counseling his son on his mobile phone. After the call, I commented to him that he had a deep capacity for love. We’ve since become close friends with a deep emotional bond.

My emotional journey accelerated in 2010 when I had the opportunity to deliver a series of partner-level executive development programs for a preeminent management consultancy. For several months I worked closely with senior partners in the firm and was struck by the emotional capability of these leaders. I remember drawing a Venn diagram on a piece of paper while observing a senior partner facilitate a session. In the left circle I wrote “intellectual sophistication,” and in the right circle I wrote “human connection.” Admittedly, for much of my life, I regarded credentials and craft—not emotional capacity—as the road to riches, but this experience had illuminated a blind spot in me. The X factor, I concluded, lay in having both dimensions—intellectual sophistication and emotional capacity—working synergistically rather than at odds with each other.

At that point in my journey, despite shedding an occasional tear at the movies or during one of those animal rescue commercials, for me, emotional capacity was an abstract concept on a Venn diagram. But, as they say, the teacher will appear when the student is ready. In 2013, I had been re-engaged by the management consultancy to develop a custom leadership program for its senior associates. At the time, my elderly father had been in declining health and had been moved into hospice care the week prior to the launch of the program. Just as I was leaving for the airport to travel to the conference center, I received the phone call that I had been dreading. My father had passed away. Like childbirth, nothing in life prepares you for a parent’s death. I was shell-shocked and in a mental fog, but as my dad would have said, “The show must go on.” I called Abby, my program partner at the firm, to let her know my father had passed away and that I would be with her the next day to launch the program and facilitate my session on strategic leadership after lunch, but I would need to leave at the end of the day to be with my family. This was a six-month immersive program so I would have plenty of opportunities to connect with participants.

The next day, at the conference center, I will never forget the outpouring of love that I felt (yes, felt) from members of the firm. During her opening comments, Abby shared with the participants that I was in the midst of a difficult family situation but that I wanted to be with them to launch the program. I will never forget what she said next: “Jeff is a partner in every sense of the word. Our mission is his mission.” That’s when the light finally came on. After decades of pushing an intellectual boulder up a hill, I recognized that intellectual sophistication, although essential, won’t produce the deep emotional connection with others that is paramount in socially complex business environments, and in life in general. Something more is needed. That something is emotional capacity and connection.

From a strategic perspective, emotional connection has also become a key differentiator that is impossible for competitors to imitate. Like many business strategists, I marvel at the droves of Apple devotees camping out on the sidewalk in front of their local store to be the first kid on the block sporting the latest iPhone. Admittedly, I’m a Samsung/Android guy, and don’t totally get the Apple thing, but I’m savvy enough to recognize that Apple mania is not about slick technologies—these are easily replicated by competitors—but rather, is based on a deep emotional affinity with the Apple brand and members of the tribe.

I have a considerable way to go in my emotional journey, and I doubt whether I will ever be able to channel my inner Oprah. But I certainly recognize the role of emotions in business and make it a habit of having my trusty Venn diagram tucked in my jacket pocket to keep my intellectual yang and emotional yang balanced when working with executive teams. Who knows, I might even become more “mindful,” the current corporate craze!

About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Kuhn is a distinguished thinker, author, advisor, educator, and speaker with expertise uniquely positioned at the intersection of strategy, innovation and growth, and organizational renewal—the work of strategic leadership. His research, teaching, and advisory work center on helping senior business leaders develop the capacity to think and lead strategically in dynamic market environments undergoing profound change.

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