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Behaviors Create Culture and Make All the Difference

Posted January 07, 2019

When I am traveling, I often take note of the behaviors of staff at resorts, restaurants, airlines, grocery stores, etc.  You can really see how common behaviors make up a culture of an organization.  It is always very evident when organizations are intentional in creating an aligned corporate culture.  What is corporate culture?  A culture, being a collection of big and small behaviors, evolves whether it’s managed or not.  Cultures arise naturally and, absent of any direction, will change organically.  The collection of behaviors create experiences for customers/clients, and these experiences impact the results of an organization positively or negatively.  Simply stated, great client service produces better results for the organization.

I would like to share my example of the cultures I experienced during my recent holidays.  I am a loyal Marriott customer. According to my loyalty card, I have spent 450 nights in one or another of their properties since joining as a member. I enjoy the multiple brands they own, I like the service, I like their app and I can usually find one of the Marriott properties wherever I go.  Over the holidays, we stayed at one of their affiliate properties, Atlantis in Bahamas. I found the front desk staff aloof and indifferent with some issues we had with our room and checking in, among other things.  I wondered if this behavior existed elsewhere in the resort, so I started to take note of the other staff around the pools, beaches and restaurants. In many cases, I noted behaviours similar to the front desk. One that struck me was multiple times I noticed a beach/pool towel lying on a pathway from a guest accidently dropping it. Numerous times, staff would walk by the towel on the ground and not pick it up. This one small behavior, not picking up a towel, was a clear indication of the type of culture that had arisen at Atlantis.  The quality of our room and the unresponsive staff led me to shorten our stay and move to the Baha Mar Hyatt hotel for the remaining days of our trip.  Would Baha Mar be any different?

Thankfully, is was a complete difference! Interestingly, I noticed anyone from a manager to a lifeguard pick up dropped towels. It was impossible to walk by any of the staff without them saying “Good morning sir,” often coupled with, “How is your day going?” Another example was in the restaurants. One of the managers went out of their way to squeeze us in for dinner when did not have a reservation, then checked back later to ensure we were being cared for.  He did this twice for us. One morning, a staff member at the coffee shop ran after me to make sure I had a fork for my breakfast, as I was taking it up to my room.  What a complete difference between Atlantis and Baha Mar. Does this experience impact the results of the two resorts?  It has to.  We have gone to Atlantis for 6 years in a row. Would you like to guess which property I will pick next year? I will also post this experience on my LinkedIn, and tell the story multiple times.

If you want to read one of my favourite blogs from Gord at Think.Shift on how culture closes deals you can here: Can your Culture Close Deals?

For us at GHY the lesson is clear: The little behaviors we do each day create our culture, and our culture creates experiences which impact whether or not our clients continue to do business with us. These behaviors could be quick call-backs, answering phones/e-mail in a timely manner, proactive communication when delays happen, accurate reporting, solving problems, etc. These little behaviors make all the difference. 

I am grateful to our Associates who live our our values and strive to create great experiences for our customers, day in and day out. 

Chris Bachinski - President

GHY International | Geo. H. Young & Co. Ltd. | GHY USA, Inc.