How Marriott is Winning with 5 Core Values

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When it comes to developing workplace synergy, defining the right core values for your business is one of the best ways to bring your team together and keep them on track. Here are 5 values I was recently impressed by.

Putting People First. Pursuing Excellence. Embracing Change. Acting with Integrity. Serving Our World.

Initially, I was introduced to Marriott’s values by a relatively new staff member, new in that she was part of the merger between Starwood and Marriott.  She described Marriott Core Values in her words and then I did a bit more digging.

She succinctly described her understanding of what Marriott lives by as part of its “TakeCare” program.

Thier first priority is to take care of me, my health, my well being, spirituality, finances and my self-development.  

Secondly, was about taking care of co-workers and the importance of being mindful, respectful and a cheerleader who engages, supports and learns from the people they work with.

And finally, it’s about taking care of my company, be an advocate, be my best, support the customers and community. If Marriott takes care of their people, they, in turn, will take care of the customers and the community at large.  The TakeCare program is an investment in Marriott’s most important asset – their people.  Now that is Team Intelligence™ at it’s best!

Here’s My Take on Marriott’s Core Values

1. Putting People First

No matter what industry you are in, or which side of the service table you are looking from, it’s people and the quality of your relationships that will drive your business to success.

Understanding the needs of your customers and building a rapport will take your customer loyalty well beyond your product or service.

One of the best ways to build rapport is to ask questions. Make your first moments together about them.

Here’s something we wrote for our construction clients on building rapport. It includes questions which even though are meant for building clients will give you an idea of the value in asking questions.

Putting people first also means taking care of your #1 asset: Your People, and there are so many ways we can lead a team and show them that we care. If you look after your team, they, in turn, will look after your customers.  

People that are ‘loved’ are loyal and engaged and that makes them the best advocates for exceptional customer service and encouraging other great people to work with you.  The best begets the best!

I know an extraordinary Manager who treats his team like a college football team, much to his success. My favourite strategy, however, is demonstrating empathy. When leaders and teams listen, really listen, using empathy to comprehend what each individual is thinking or feeling without attempting to change or fix them or solve the problem, the person feels appreciated as a human being; they feel valued.

Here are 10 ways you can start improving empathy within your team and organisation.

2. Pursuing Excellence

A participant in a workshop recently said to me “the day you stop learning is the day you die”. To be honest others in the workshop felt that it was slightly dramatic but I see a lot of truth in it. Life is an ongoing learning experience and we should be embracing it.

It makes sense that a multinational high-end luxury chain like Marriott would choose this as a core value. I think it is important to remember that time is on our side when pursuing excellence.

By implementing small daily activities, that focus on excellence, we will see long-term success.  The compounding effect will kick into place. It’s also important to note, that if we are in too much of a hurry to get ahead we can lose the opportunity to create and design. You have to work out what’s working and what’s not first.  Nurture and cultivate before you harvest.

We’re so used to our instant gratification world that we’ve lost our patience. Our attention moves to the next sparkly thing. However, whatever it is we want to achieve, is all possible if we just start and keep moving, and allow space to make mistakes and innovate. Consistency is the key.

3. Embracing Change

Change, whether at work or home, whether perceived as positive or negative, generally requires us to adapt either in the way we think or the way we do. For leaders, it is important to acknowledge the level of discomfort this can bring because it is only when we understand the overall impact that we can effectively facilitate transition. This is where the power of Team Intelligence comes into play so well.

If a company was to embrace change, to encourage it like it was part of a normal working day, there is an opportunity to view it as a way to move forward. Change is not be feared or dreaded, it’s to be seen as an opportunity to improve.

4. Acting with Integrity

What’s something that if removed would destroy the most powerful government, successful business, thriving economy, influential leadership, or even the deepest love? Trust.   

Trust is fundamental to the success of all good relationships. People make purchases on trust. Word of mouth, one of the most powerful marketing tools is powered by trust. Research has shown that people who trust each other are more productive, feel a higher degree of loyalty to their team and organisation and give outstanding service.

How Do You Build Trust?

  • Straight Talking.
  • Honesty.
  • Letting people know where you stand.
  • Using simple language.
  • Calling things what they are.
  • Demonstrating integrity.
  • Showing others a little of your personal side. Building rapport.

Indeed the strength of your integrity, capabilities and track record will work for you in building trust with clients and colleagues alike – because as Marriott also believes, ‘How we do business is just as important as the business we do’.

5. Serving Our World

With a strong focus on people that give their best, it makes perfect sense to support others around you.  How you serve and support others in a charitable way demonstrates your commitment to diversity, good health, learning and overall well being of your community.

Serving others can be a financial commitment but remember, sharing your time and expertise as a mentor or a volunteer is an incredibly valuable asset and cannot be replicated by anyone else.  Your uniqueness is what makes your contribution special.


Defining the right core values for your business is one of the best ways to bring your team together and keep them on track.

If you haven’t yet defined your guiding principles, that’s ok. Take your time, ask questions and use the invaluable team intelligence around you to pull them together and enjoy the journey.