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  • Writer's pictureAdele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Create a Culture Where Teams Can Thrive: Emotional Self Mastery Author, Cheryl C. Jones

Welcome to Get Great Guest Reviews!

In our last episode, I invited a hotel owner, Robert Rauch to share with me his perspective on what general managers and hotel owners can do to support their teams and lead them through this transition as we as an industry work to recover from the repercussions of COVID.

Today, we are going to examine the issue from a different perspective. Seeing that our teams are dealing with a high degree of stress that is impacting their quality of life as well as our ability to deliver great experiences for our guests, I’ve invited a phenomenal guest to share her expertise with us.

Cheryl C. Jones is the owner of Simply the Best Results and the author of Emotional Self Mastery and we are going to discuss tips on how we can create a culture where our associates can be inspired, thrive, and feel successful at making guests happy.

If you want some ideas on how to ease frustration and burnout while elevating positive feelings of confidence and success, have a listen and see if you can find some ways you can work into your life to enhance the experience for your team and your guests, along with your profitability.

Here are some highlights inspired by our conversation:

Let it go: What we considered “normal” in the past won’t work anymore. The status quo doesn’t work anymore. Honestly, many things didn’t work that well before either but were shrugged off as being the nature of our business.

When looking at critical reviews, it is very common for hospitality to believe that there is nothing we can do to control guests’ behavior or what guests say about us. But in fact, when we are willing to listen with an open mind and work together, we have the power to massively influence the experience for our guests and our employees. We just need to be willing to listen, learn, and let go of some things that we have always done, to make room to try something that works better now.

Be Curious: Progress comes from change. If we want to make progress happen every day, we need to celebrate a culture where we are always exploring the possibilities, seeking new and better ways of doing things.

Everyone wants to be treated like a VIP: Because times are challenging, we have this very special opening to change things to benefit our business, our guests, and everyone on our team.

Now, people are seeking work-life to be rewarding, financially and emotionally. Everyone wants to be treated like a Very Important Person, not just a pair of hands “to put burgers between the buns”, as Cheryl says. According to Cheryl, jobs aren’t fulfilling when they aren’t making use of our gifts. We need to challenge, invite and inspire people to be involved by sharing their opinions and insights as well as taking positive action.

People Are Moved by Inspiration… Not Mandates: Cheryl suggests that managers stop mandating behaviors, such as walking people somewhere when they ask for directions. Instead, invite them to act on an inspiring concept, such as making the world a kinder place, making every guest feel important, and turning transactions into meaningful touches of hospitality.

When you invite your team to collaborate on ideas on how to achieve our inspiring mission, they begin to identify themselves as the kind of people who are experts in hospitality.

To elevate confidence, help your team see themselves as the kind of people with good ideas on how to be extraordinary for our guests:

  1. See everyone as capable and valuable, and you are there to unlock their potential.

  2. Ask them what are the obstacles that keep us from delighting all of our guests.

  3. We work for them, so it is our job to help our team clear away those obstacles.

  4. Asking the team for their insights on how we may expand our guests’ happiness is a sign of trust and respect.

  5. Nurture their ability to articulate, collaborate, and refine ideas into positive actions.

  6. Tell them that you believe in their unique creativity and abilities.

  7. Celebrate their contributions and their personal and professional growth.

  8. Even when mistakes are made in an effort to do the right thing, we must try to talk about it in a way that doesn’t crush their spirit or kill their energy.

  9. Appreciate the effort and work together as partners to find ways we can get better every day.

  10. Receiving praise from guests and helpful support from peers and managers is addictive. Your staff will not only feel increasingly confident but they will be increasingly motivated to go above and beyond in service more consistently as they come to appreciate what an amazing gift it is to be able to be of service to others.

Compartmentalize less. Teams need to interact in a way that promotes understanding on how the whole hotel works. As their understanding expands, so will their ability to be great, creative problem solvers. Thoughtfulness and problem-solving are what work to make experiences better for employees and guests.

Collaborate: Cheryl recommends Peer to Peer learning as a powerful tool for cross-training, problem-solving, and employee support systems. Collaboration is an essential part of the Five-Star Review System.

Bringing people together to work on specific problems frequently provides the best outcomes. The trick is to ensure that people feel welcome and invited to speak, knowing that what they say will be listened to respectfully. This is critical to avoid “group think” or passively yielding to the highest-paid person’s opinion.

Banish Bullying: Fear is a collaboration crusher so disrespectful reactions, to people’s contributions, no matter how small, must not be allowed to go unaddressed. Having a difference of opinion, however, is not negativity. When people feel free to speak up and articulate the reasons for their concerns about a plan of action being considered, this is highly useful. When you can keep the benefits of a solution to a problem, and use the objection to identify and mitigate the risks, you are far more likely to have better outcomes with problem-solving.

Don’t Kill Your Team’s Energy: Cheryl points out that nitpicking on small issues can be discouraging to employees and the negativity can produce the opposite result that you are trying to achieve. Adele suggests focusing on the “why” instead, celebrating how well we are moving towards our goal of making every guest feel cared for, and appreciated at every encounter. Then, we can use storytelling to give examples of small ways we can up our game and challenge ourselves to outshine the competition by truly caring about the details that touch our guests. That way, you are not complaining. You are coaching; you are supporting; you are leading.

Leaders Support Their Team: Don’t just thank the team for toughing it out! Don’t just tough it out with them. If you want things to get better, you have to fix problems, not just tolerate them. Take time to ask your team how you can support them so that they can be successful at achieving their goals and the company’s mission to make guests feel great about their experience. Collaborate with them to find ways that you can take action to elevate satisfaction and diminish the friction points that are causing disappointment and frustration not only for your guests but for your teams as well.

Let's Connect!

If your hotel could benefit from more five-star reviews (and honestly, couldn't we all?), please contact us at, and let's see how we can put you on a reputation optimization plan to meet your needs and support your goals.

Follow and connect with Cheryl C. Jones:

Instagram: Cheryl C. Jones

Twitter: Cheryl C. Jones

Follow and connect with Adele Gutman:

Website: Adele Gutman

LinkedIn: Adele Gutman

Twitter: Adele Gutman

Thank you for listening!

If you found value in this discussion, it would mean the world to us to have you as a subscriber and shared this with anyone you know who might benefit from this conversation!

Have a great week and reach for the stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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