Written by Dr. Glenn Williams, Founder, LCP Global
It’s 2023, and the hospitality and service industries are rebuilding. The COVID-19 global pandemic devastated sectors relying on a consistent flow of people. They could only pivot so much, with cafés, restaurants, hotels, motels, conference centres, and more bearing the brunt of lockdowns and restrictions on travel and trade.
In 2019, the Hospitality Sector, which includes the Travel & Tourism Sector, accounted for 10.4% of global GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). By 2022, the WTTC reported that the hospitability and tourism industries now account for 7.6% of global GDP.
Many businesses closed their doors for good. For those who made it through, there are challenges, but there’s also the opportunity to re-imagine and re-position an entire industry.
2023 has brought its share of issues, including rumblings of recession. More than ever, we need courageous leaders willing to think outside the box. If the hospitality and service industries are to flourish, those at the top must embrace a leadership model that grounds and enriches their own lives, empowering them to do the same for those they lead.
Re-imagine how you serve your customers with 5 Leadership Anchors™
As part of my doctoral thesis, I was privileged to meet and talk with many in global and regional leadership positions across different industries. From these interviews, roundtables, and extensive research, 5 Leadership Anchors™ emerged.
- Leveraging Relational Currency— involves the quality of your relationships, including those outside your immediate working environment
- Understanding Motivational Drivers—understanding what success looks like for you, and those you lead and serve
- Building Resilient Character—how your value code builds resilience, commitment, and confidence
- Empowering Effective Decision-Making—understanding how your personal script influences every decision you make every day
- Transforming Goals and Outcomes—building on the first four leadership anchors can create a new trajectory for you, your business, and your customers
Leveraging Relational Currency
Leaders must look after their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. The research and my discussions with hundreds of leaders tell us that most of those in top leadership roles often sacrifice close personal relationships in pursuit of success. Meaningful relationships outside work energize and refresh, but the positive effects are more far-reaching than many realize.
When leaders invest in their closest relationships, they model a lifestyle of connection to all watching. Prioritizing close friendships, marriages, and family, sends a powerful message to colleagues, staff, and, ultimately, our customers.
Forging authentic customer relations
For all of the disruptions of recent years, there were a few incredibly positive societal shifts. Number one was that we realized that relationships are, in the end, all we have. Those wanting to thrive in the new era of business must take the desire for genuine and authentic connections seriously.
Leaders who value their relationships are far more likely to appreciate strong customer relationships. Your clients need to know you’re listening, understand their needs and are here to serve and benefit them. This must be genuine. Customers can spot platitudes a mile off. It also conveys to them that the service you provide to them goes beyond the transaction.
If you want to set yourself apart, provide exceptional customer service, and flourish in business, ask yourself the following questions.
- What are some of the unique characteristics of your relationship with clients that set you apart from the rest?
- Which relationships are most important to your sales process and customer service endeavours? Do they know you care about their needs?
- How do your relationships outside work model your commitment to serving your customers, injecting meaning and joy in your interactions?
Understanding Motivational Drivers
What does a successful outcome look like for your clients and customers? In other words, what are their key motivational drivers?
Self-awareness is universally recognized as a vital leadership trait. Similarly, it’s critical for the relationships you want to serve well. How can you achieve it? Stop talking. Listen. Don’t focus on the product or service. Focus on your client’s needs and wants and the benefits they expect from you. By focusing on what they need, what motivates them, and their expectations, you’re more likely to recognize the overlap in what defines success for them and you.
Similarly, taking time to get to know your colleagues and the teams you have responsibility for will reap benefits for all. Think about it; how can you motivate and inspire those you lead and work with if you don’t know what’s important to them?
One powerful insight I have come to appreciate is that the needs of my clients change over time, and I need to be careful not to assume that the service I provided last time is what they need or want now.
Building Resilient Character
What’s your value code? A leader’s values influence all behavior and decisions. Your value code is foundational to your brand and the organizational culture you want to create. Your values influence how you view and serve others. If you regard customer relationships as purely transactional, it won’t be long before someone else comes along who can do it better.
However, if you focus on building connections, understanding needs, and appreciating the long-term value of customers—including what long-term value looks like for them—the value you deliver will be multi-faceted, authentic, and relationally based. This type of commitment creates resiliency in your brand, with trust an integral part of what you offer.
Empowering Effective Decision-Making
What’s your script? Developing an awareness of your personal script helps you understand what influences your decisions and how you empower others to participate in decision-making.
Learn to leverage the power of story. Your colleagues and those you partner with to deliver great customer service need to see how your story connects to your work. Everyone has a story. Learn about your customer. Learn to connect your story with theirs. Stories create context and meaning and spark interest. When you turn up to work, does your internal script focus on creating a brand encompassing a customer experience that builds connection, or do you tell yourself just to do enough to get through the day?
Transforming Goals and Outcomes
Building on the first four leadership anchors creates a new trajectory for you, your business, and your customers.
It’s contagious when leaders know who they are, who their customers are, and what’s important to them. It will change how you and your staff relate to and serve your clients. For example, when faced with a stressed-out customer, remember that we all have bad days and ask yourself some questions.
- How can I make their world better?
- How can I serve them in such a way that they leave inspired, feeling lighter?
As leaders, we’re in a rare moment in time. We can set an entire industry up to flourish as we embrace transformation in our own lives and champion it in the broader business culture.
I’ll leave you with this question. What goals can you set for yourself and your business that will radically transform how your customers see you?
About the Author
With more than 25 years working as a psychologist, CSuite leader, and executive coach working with leaders in more than 40 countries, Dr Glenn Williams founded LCP Global in 2010. Through his doctoral research and working with thousands of high-capacity leaders, he discovered the connection between personal and corporate well-being and how together they unlock resilience and breakthrough performance. Because success can often come at the expense of important goals and relationships, LCP Global works with leaders and their teams to build and catalyze a culture where leaders can flourish, and organizations can achieve strategic growth outcomes by
closing the gap between strategy and execution. When leaders embrace the 5 Leadership Anchors™, they are able to transform their capacity to lead themselves, others, and their businesses. Glenn is the author of three books, the latest published in July 2023, When Leaders
Are Lost: Moving Beyond Disappointment, Failure, and Hurt to Redefine Success.