A culture of service is just a day in, day out,
ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering,
compassionate, type of activity.

Leon Gorman

Last Monday morning I had the opportunity to enjoy coffee with my friend Craig Poole at Reading’s Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.  Coffee with Craig is always a learning experience. He has that unique ability to take a complex idea, explain it in layman’s terms, and then identify actions that serve to exemplify it.  He is the General Manager of Reading’s Doubletree by Hilton and had the distinction of being named a 2016 recipient of the chain’s highest award ( CEO’s Light & Warmth Award.).  As we enjoyed our coffee he smiled and asked, “Did you see the paper?”  I hadn’t read it that morning so I responded, “Not today.” With a twinkle in this eye he said, “It was just announced that Alneasa, or HR Director, was recognized with the CEO’s 2018 Light and Warmth Award.”  His pride was evident, as was the pride of every member of his Hilton family (many members of the staff refer to him as “Dad). Hilton employs 380,000 people worldwide and each year only 12 are selected from to receive this award.  In the three-year period (2016-2018), two members of Reading’s Doubletree staff, located in one of the poorest urban areas in the country, have received this award. Think about that, Hilton is international; no other hotel in the organization has attained this status.  Why? Because Craig Poole and his Reading Doubletree family live and breath a “Culture of Service”

So what does that mean?  In an organization, a culture of service is is a collective way employees think about providing outstanding service, act to provide it, and understand how and why they do it.  When I asked Craig for his thoughts, he shared “ A culture of service means being selfless. It is something that is genuine; it comes from your heart.  It lifts up both the server and the recipient. It is something that becomes addicting and the behavior becomes natural.” I pressed him a little more, “I believe many organizations like yours believe they have a culture of service.  So what does one look for in determining if this exists?” He thought for a moment and responded, “It begins with leadership, leaders set the tone. Leadership is followship. Leaders model the behavior and then use the mantra, “Follow me and I will be behind you!”  Within the organization there is a sense of happiness. Service cannot happen in a culture of fear or intimidation. Every guest, every client, is made to feel that they are a returning guest, as if they were coming back to see us again. And perhaps most important, there is a sense of family among the staff, that becomes evident to customers.  They quickly realize that, they too, are now a part of our larger family.

Simon Sinek said, “Most organizations can tell you what they do, some can tell you how they do it, but very few can tell you why they do it!”  It would seem to me that providing a culture of service that serves to lift people and make them feel valued is a suitable “Why” for almost any organization.  In fact, it’s not a bad idea to incorporate into our own lives. Craig Poole has done it, and I’m working hard to make it a part of my life. You can too! Have a great week and,

Embrace the Challenge