Memorable lessons from Mackay

The way in which I conduct my business on a daily basis is inspired by a vast variety of books I have read, people I have met and my family. One author in particular has been a muse for me in my professional world. Harvey Mackay, author of “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” helped me understand two key elements in life: the importance of understanding your customer and that the little things mean everything.

In Mackay’s book, he explains that knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. I instill this concept into my independent hotel group brand every day because, as most businesspeople know, the customer is everything. Across my properties, we strive to know as much about our guests as we can and are constantly asking questions pre, during and post stays to find out what we can do to make their experiences memorable.

Another main point I convey to my staff is that the little things don’t mean a lot — they mean everything! Mackay explains that in business there are 1,001 ways to mess up every day, and almost all of them can be avoided with a little more attention to detail and common courtesy. Attention to detail is a trait I look for in all my staff, as my main job is to minimize mistakes.

Mackay is still writing today, as he just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his nationally syndicated newspaper column and wrote a blog post highlighting 20 of the most important morals he’s put forth in more than 1,000 columns over two decades. His lessons are timeless, and their insights stretch into my personal life as well. I even have an agreement with my daughters that in exchange for completing my summer reading assignments, which included Mackay’s book this year, I will pay their college tuition. Everyone can garner useful information from Mackay!