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Thoughts about culture

My colleague Juliette Boone recently attended the HR in Hospitality Conference and shared with me some of the impactful takeaways and insights. In particular, she was impressed with Marilyn Carlson Nelson’s keynote speech that kept the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats for 60 full minutes.

Marilyn shared thoughtful notes on the topic of culture:

  • Culture starts at the top of the organization, but it is tested at the bottom.
  • Culture requires trust and must be perpetually renewed.
  • If you don’t like something, fix it.
  • We all have a longing for meaning in our lives.
  • Decisions about performance must be balanced against a company’s stewardship and long-term stability.
  • You will be judged by what you tolerate.
  • Women are more “risk aware” than “risk averse” and provide a strong balance of thinking in the executive suite and boardroom — we need more women in these roles.
  • “Returnship” programs such as those recently initiated by McKinsey, Bain and others for women (and men) who take family-leave breaks need to be adopted by our industry.
  • The importance of a values-based workplace cannot be underestimated.

Also of note was a discussion among a panel of chief human resource officers on the topic of contemporary challenges facing the industry. As it often does, the subject of an entitled Millennial workforce came up. Taking an opposite point of view, Alan Momeyer of Loews Hotels pointed out that we shouldn’t necessarily romanticize the issue. In fact, by the time today’s graduates reach the workforce, they are much more prepared and ready for leadership assignments. Perhaps they deserve more than we think.

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