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Ocean Partners

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 retreat.

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.

In session

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.

Bob New

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 employee morale."

- Tom Williamson, GM, Courtyard by Marriott/Hampton Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clarity Works!
Organizational Development and Consulting
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This page updated: February 3, 2004

 
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