Ocean Partners is the management umbrella for a pair of co-located
hotels, Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton Inn, in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
The General Manager, Tom Williamson had seen and heard Bob and Kathleen
from Clarity Works! at several Chamber of Commerce events
where they were the featured speakers and seminar leaders. Tom decided
they would be perfect for his first off-site, management retreat.
After discussions with Bob and Kathleen, Tom accepted their proposal
to combine team-building, using the DiSC Personal Profile and strategic
vision planning, using Appreciative Inquiry in the retreat.
Schedules were synchronized and the retreat was set for a weekend
at the Hampton Inn in St. Augustine. Prior to the retreat, the Clarity
Works! team met with Tom to define the goals for the retreat
and establish follow-up meetings to evaluate the results. Just prior
to the off-site, Bob met with the management team for the first
time to administer the DiSC Personal Profile.
The heads of the operational departments for the two hotels were
curious about the simple instrument which asked them to chose words
and phrases that were 'most like' and 'least like' them. The instrument
would be scored and the results explained at the first session of
The Friday afternoon session in St. Augustine was buzzing with
excitement. The team was nervous about leaving the hotels in the
hands of their subordinates for the three day weekend. They were
also anticipating the results of the DiSC Personal Profiles. After
many phone calls back to the properties, they settled in to hear
about their unique behavioral styles.
There were several high D's, those whose style is to dominate their
environment and who are very results oriented. There was a lot of
laughter as the styles were revealed. "Oh, yeah, that's you,
all right." "I guess it really nailed you" were some
of the comments. The high I's, the relationship-oriented styles
were pleased with the description of their role as the people-oriented
members of the team. The high S's were proud of their steadying
influence on the team and the high C's pointed to their ability
to keep the team out of trouble by complying with rules and regulations.
The discussion of styles and the implications for working together
as a team carried on into the happy hour and into the group dinner
as well. The participants were eager to show off their new understanding
as they laughed and joked their way through seating arrangements
for dinner and how the different personalities would decide what
to order. The excitement level was running high, because they had
a new way of relating to and understanding each other. They were
becoming comfortable with the new vocabulary that allowed them to
be more specific and customize there messages according to the style
of the other party.
Saturday morning they were still bantering back and forth about
their styles as they started the strategic visioning process using
Appreciative Inquiry (Ai). Ai is designed to uncover the
root causes of success and allow the organization to build similar
opportunities for success in the future.
Pairs were formed for a structured interview process. They were
asked to reflect and talk about a time when they had been part of
an extraordinary team; when they had been most involved or felt
most committed to the organization. As the stories unfolded, they
identified common threads and began to create a vision of an organization
that would involve even more of the experiences and opportunities
they were excited about in the past. Their future began to take
shape as they saw possibilities to incorporate the best from their
past while creating a vision for the future.
They explored their past successes in the hotel and hospitality
industry, and their stories inspired projects for the future. In
a burst of creativity, they went beyond their assignment to create
propositions. They began to do full blown project planning.
This is one advantage of 'whole system dialogue,' having all of
the decision-makers and resources for action in the same room. They
created a plan to turn unused space into a revenue producing asset.
This project has real potential to become a significant contributor
to the operations' bottom line. It is such a hot idea that they
are keeping the details close to the vest at this point. More information
will be posted when they say okay.
Another creative plan involved channeling referral rebates from
a local beach emporium into an emergency relief fund for the hotels'
workers. This idea was so well crafted that the Ocean Partners executive
management agreed to match the funds, dollar for dollar. This fund
will be a morale booster and will help employees cope with minor
and major crises in their lives.
"After Appreciative Inquiry and team-building with Clarity
Works! our management team is fired-up. In the workshop we identified
an innovative revenue stream and created a new program to improve
- Tom Williamson, GM, Courtyard by Marriott/Hampton