If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers and the customers will keep coming back.
—J. Willard Marriott Sr., founder, Marriott International
Perhaps more than anything else they can do, organizations and their leaders can demonstrate that they care by their willingness to go the extra mile when times get tough. Very often, that demonstration occurs simply by being physically present when their workers, customers, or communities are experiencing difficulty.
In our view, there is something of a quid pro quo involved here. Recall from the first chapter that discretionary effort is, by definition, a contribution people can make if—but only if—they want to. The conscious decision to part with some of that discretionary effort is based, at least in part, on the individual’s perception of how things would go if the shoe were on the other foot. In other words, “You’re asking me to walk through fire for you? Would you—or have you—done the same for me?”
One of the reasons that Marriott International is able to capture so much of their staff members’ “spirit to serve” is that they have demonstrated time and again that the company will pull out all the stops in times of need.
When Hurricane Katrina struck the central Gulf Coast region and unleashed its fury on August 29, 2005, more than 1,800 people lost their lives and many thousands ...