Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Culture: The Competitive Advantage

What a great speaker we just had at our Vegas Internet show! Jim Fitzgibbon, the past president of Four Seasons Resorts.
The title of his presentation was "Culture: The Competitive Advantage" so I was all ears.
Jim didn't disappoint, with a fantastic speech about his history with Four Seasons, and the many ways he built one of the most respected brands, thru his passion for company culture and developing his people. He captivated us with some fantastic stories and lots of take away quotes. Here are a few:
1. Mantra - 3P (People Product then Profit)
2. Train people on the small details a thousand times and the big things take care of themselves
3. Any time you stay at a Four Seasons, ask the manager to attend the morning staff huddle. They love to have guests visit and see culture and accountability in action. One part of the huddle sounds interesting, when they ask everyone "What mistakes did you make yesterday, and what did you do about it?"
4. "Culture is what employees do when you are not watching"
5. It's about Trust
6. My favorite was Jim's story and quote from Herb Kelleher, the Chairman of Southwest Airlines, on what was their secret weapon was. "It's our culture and people - Our competitors could copy everything in our strategy tomorrow but can never copy our culture and they know it"
Jim wrapped up his talk by giving away 7 nights at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora @ $1800 per night. It was a software developer from Norway who won, and when asked who we would take with him on the trip, the guys eyes popped open and he said "I don't know, I don't have a girlfriend!"