Overview: The Success of Embassy Suites 'The Circle of Leadership'
By Darci Riesenhuber, Director of Brand Culture & Internal Communications, Embassy Suites Hotels
Retaining high quality leadership is critical to the success of any business, particularly hospitality. It is surprisingly difficult, even today, to find quality front-line staff, but even worse to lose them. The best way to attract and retain quality staff at the bottom, however, is by developing great leadership at the top. The General Manager is the lynchpin to a healthy culture at any given property. They set the tone and influence the quality of life for everyone else at the hotel.
The Circle of Leadership (CoL) is ...view middle of the document...
Each personal development journey begins with a 360° evaluation followed by an individual feedback session. In some instances, this is the first time these managers have actively solicited and opened themselves up to very direct and honest feedback from their bosses, peers or team members. Next, they complete the Hogan Challenge Report© to gain insights into their strengths, potential barriers, or success derailers, values and personal motivation and are asked to share their results with others for additional, more specific feedback. The result is heightened personal awareness and a level of vulnerability that allows each individual to grow beyond where they currently are, both personally and professionally.
Each monthly webinar focuses on one or more key competencies including Service, Leadership, Change Management, Building Talent, Innovation, Professionalism, Character and Execution. While maintaining the confidentiality of individual assessments, results are incorporated into the webinars, thus ensuring the program is highly targeted to participant’s individual needs. In addition to these formal learning opportunities, the CoL provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact and build relationships with other members of the program, including CoL alumni, and allows participants to expand their career opportunities, learn best practices and, ultimately, provide better leadership and coaching to their staff.
At the conclusion of the year-long program, members are invited to a special Day of Recognition at Hilton Worldwide’s corporate headquarters. As part of this event, graduates are asked to deliver a brief presentation on how they applied the concepts from the program and how it made a difference in their lives or in others’. In some instances, their stories are inspiring and emotional. Presentations have been known to bring a tear to the audiences’ eyes, which is a tough act to follow. However, the program does not necessarily end here.
Following the one-year program and approximately 60 hours of total invested time, graduates are further engaged in ongoing development opportunities. Unlike during the first phase of the program where individuals are encouraged to focus on their own skill development, this phase is about CoL members giving back. CoL graduates, or alumni, are invited to meet with brand executives at Hilton Worldwide’s corporate headquarters to participate in focus groups and brainstorming sessions to provide input during the planning and testing phases of new brand concepts and initiatives. Alumni play a key role as brand advisors for future innovations and practices that keep our guest experience relevant and fresh. It is a win-win for CoL alumni and the brand. The brand gets the opportunity to test, fine-tune or abandon concepts with input from the field before rolling them out to the entire portfolio, often saving the company a lot of unnecessary time or money. We are also able to gain buy-in and commitment early on...