5 dysfunctions of a team
5 Dysfunctions of a Team and How to Counter Them for Success
April 16, 2018
Mindsets of teams
10 Mindsets of Champion Teams
May 6, 2018

hotel industry tipsProviding exceptional customer service like the 5-star experience expected of a luxury hotel requires these 3 (three) essentials. Here’s how you can help your team achieve their success culture in a 5-star environment.

Connection, capability and commitment. These are fundamental elements of high achieving teams. let’s start with the obvious one of capability.


Like most businesses, service industry staff come with a skill set or a set of qualities in order to provide the very best service for a customer. Making a bed or a table setting, reception or switchboard experience, event management, the list goes on.   

But what about the qualities that will give your team the edge on customer service excellence like dealing with difficult customers for example?

We‘ve written a number times about the ongoing challenge of tricky customers. If this is something your team could use some help with check these articles out.

Customer complaints and how to manage them

6 ways to help deal with complaints and the challenging people who make them.

WYE - JW Marriott QuoteWhat else does your team need to develop to provide outstanding service?

What about empathy? Here’s a great case study of two companies, a bakery (empathetic) and an airline (apathetic) that highlights the value of practising empathy in the workplace.

Does your team know how to build trust with someone they’ve just met? Build rapport in a moment? How about speaking or presenting to groups of people?

What about stepping up to a management role?  or problem-solving?

One of the best ways to find the gaps where your team needs development is by creating a success culture where feedback is seen as an opportunity.

Creating a Culture of Feedback

Feedback is often seen as a threat or like something is wrong rather than the rocket fuel it is for breakthroughs in growth and development.

To create a success culture where feedback is seen as an opportunity you need a culture based on trust, where people feel safe not only to fail but to try new things and to succeed. A culture where everyone champions each other to be the best they can be. This is the work of Team Intelligence™. We’ll share more about that in a moment but first,

Marriott core valuesHere are 5 ways to help build trust with your team

…with a respectful nod to the great Steven Covey of the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

1: Demonstrate respect and genuine care for others. Respect the dignity of every person on your team, especially those who don’t do anything directly for you.

2: Try on a ‘what you see is what you get’ approach to your leadership style. Be transparent, open and authentic. Tell the truth in a way people can verify. Try to err on the side of disclosure, and don’t have hidden agendas or objectives. Never withhold information.

3: Make things right when you’re wrong, apologise quickly. Compensate where possible and demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up. Don’t let your personal pride get in the way of doing the right thing.

4: Communicate person to person not position to position. Take the time to learn who your team members are and what they are doing for the organisation. Ask questions with genuine interest about their role.

5: Demonstrate trust. Encourage people to be the expert they are. Tell them how their insight into the challenges and opportunities associated with their role is highly valued. Then let them step up. Let them share their knowledge and trust them to make a difference to the workplace environment.


Cultural and business success comes hand in hand when you focus your business on the needs of your people, from customers and employees to suppliers, shareholders and the wider community.

Getting connected with your team and them with each other is the first step to Success Culture and developing Team Intelligence™

Team Intelligence™ is all about teams working to achieve better results as a cohesive unit. When a team is at the ultimate level of team intelligence, they’re firing on all cylinders, championing each other and winning together in their success culture.

We recently wrote about 10 Mindsets of Champion Teams – here’s a quick list:

  1. It’s up to me (Accountability)
  2. We understand time
  3. We embrace fear (and are innovative)
  4. We have shared values
  5. We engage human to human
  6. We are on a learning curve
  7. We respect each other’s perspective
  8. We genuinely care for others (empathy)
  9. We embrace feedback
  10. We trust.

So how do you develop Team Intelligence™?

Teams are people who want to be valued, who want to feel like they are contributing, and that they are great contributors to the business, as well as other people’s successes.

hotel staff

Effective communication!

This includes listening something we can all easily practice in any given moment.

Gallup research also showed the 5th most common management error that results in turnover is the failure to listen and understand employees.

Listening is fundamental to effective communication and building trust. The best leaders listen to their teams receptively and without judgment on their dreams, passions, fears, joys, goals and also aspirations – which makes them feel validated and understood.  

Here are 10 ways to immediately improve your communication skills with your team and beyond

Give Feedback, informally (see above)

Give praise, practice gratitude

Research shows that emotionally smart leaders who are in the practice of praising and complimenting their teams are bound to see more good quality performance.

There’s a lot to be said about how we contribute to an organisation, but sadly, it’s often not communicated. However, teams who understand and appreciate the value of each other’s role have a better chance of success in their working relationships. What’s more, people like to feel like they are contributing; that their function makes a difference –  and making a difference is one of the greatest human motivators.

A great way to show appreciation to your service team is by giving them the opportunity to see first hand the human impact their role/function makes. It could also help other team players see their unique value in the system.

Be approachable and ask questions

How are you going to know if your colleague or team member’s needs for success are being met? By checking in, being approachable, asking questions about their well being and needs. It’s as easy as a smile, saying “hello” and asking them what’s happening? How are they going?

Tip: sharing a little about yourself is an excellent way for opening up dialogue. One of the ways we implement this in teams is by encouraging them to share something they are grateful for at the start of a meeting.

There are many great studies on how being grateful makes us happier and on how happiness is a precursor to success.

customer serviceCommitment

We recently wrote about 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and How to Counter Them it was based on the principles of a book I often refer to, to help teams recognise areas that need work, called ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni.

One of the dysfunctions is lack of commitment.

Having defined the right core values for your business and your team is also one of the best ways to keep your team on track and working toward commitment and your ultimate goals.

Here are a few articles on company core values you might find of interest:

How Marriott is Winning with 5 Core Values

Why Your Company Core Values are BS

We also wrote about the customer service culture that drives names like Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Salesforce, where reputation and bottom line relies heavily on the experience of the end user, excellence in customer service is a priority: When Customer Service Drives Company Success Culture


If you’re at the end of this article thinking ‘there’s so much to do’. Then stop.

Big results like Success Culture and a having a high performing team built on Team Intelligence™ is always the work of small steps and decisions – ones made daily and actioned consistently.

Do one thing, something, and do it over and over until it becomes a habit and a norm.

Try this: Pick something from your values and make that come alive in a daily activity for your service team. At first, it might seem mundane but over time you will see epic positive consequences.

That’s how you create true 5 Star Teams. Promise.