The Marriott Management Philosophy

The Marriott Management Philosophy

Category - leadership


A living tradition of values and beliefs

“A businessman once said, ‘A business succeeds not because it is long established or because it is big, but because there are men and women in it who live it, sleep it, dream it, and build great future plans for it.”

“We have realised for a long time that you can’t have a service business with a lot of employees without having people who know how to manage. So we have been teaching our management how to manage, as well as our employees how to take care of their jobs. Good management and trained personnel are the most important factors in our business.”
“Good personnel will work for a competent manager. Go to every length to find, hire, and train good employees and treat them like your family. This is the crux of your whole operation.”
“‘When we had six or seven fast food stores, I’d drive to every one of them every day, sometimes twice a day. Every time I visited, I’d find something was wrong: the root beer was flat or wasn’t cold; the lights hadn’t been turned on at night; or the barbeque machine wasn’t clean. There were just a lot of things our management didn’t do or didn’t see. So I decided then that if we were going to have a lot of places, we had to hire supervisors to do what I was doing – going from one store to the next, training managers.”
“Some of my remarks may appear to be too detailed, but it’s the little things that make the big things possible. The close attention to the fine details of any operation – restaurants, hotels or what-not – makes that operation first class.”

“I think today people have to be better prepared. There’s so much competition today that you’ve got to know your business and what you’re doing.”
“The Church and parents taught us to be honest, clean personally, good habits, workaholics. In short, to follow two of the greatest words in the English language: work and pray, a sure formula for success in any endeavour.”

“I don’t look back. I think mainly about how to help carry on this great business we have today, how to keep it going, keep it on track and how to organise and manage our business. Of course, my son has taken over full responsibility.
He’s great to work with. We don’t agree on everything, but what father and son ever do?”
“My life experience tells me that success is never final, but the decisions we make along the way determine the end and final outcome.”
J. Willard Marriott

From the moment he started the company 1927 until he died in 1985, JW Marriott lived the values we associate with his corporate culture and management style – concern for all employees, hands-on management, and an unrelenting commitment to meeting customer needs through excellence in quality, service and hospitality.
Everything he did was based on his uncompromising beliefs in treating people fairly, working hard, paying close attention to details, and listening to and giving customers what they wanted. Collectively, these values and beliefs form Marriott’s management philosophy – the foundation on which the company
was built and the superstructure on which the future growth had been aligned to.
This philosophy is behind all of Marriott’s policies, procedures, and other management systems. But how well values and beliefs are transmitted to employees ultimately depends on your day-to-day behaviour – how you interact with your people; stay in touch with your department, operation and customers; and achieve high standards. When done well, that behavior makes you part of a special management team, that will set you apart from your competition, and ultimately result in company profit and growth, and advancement opportunities for you.

The material which follows – quotes from JW’s memos, speeches, interviews, and inspection reports – reflects the very essence of the Marriott chains culture.

The Marriott Management Philosophy…A Living Tradition of Values and Beliefs in Action.

Guideposts to management
As managers, it’s important to periodically pause and look back on the principles that J. Willard Marriott used to successfully build his business. These were passed down as guidelines to run the company in a letter from father to son when J. W. Marriott, Jr. became Executive Vice President in 1964.
1. Keep physically fit, mentally, and spiritually strong.

2. Guard your habits — bad ones will destroy you.

3. Pray about every difficult problem.

4. Study and follow professional management principles. Apply them logically and practically to your organisation.

5. People are No. 1 – their development, loyalty interest, team spirit. Develop managers in every area. This is your prime responsibility.

6. Decisions: Men grow making decisions and assuming responsibility for them.
a. Make crystal clear what decision each manager is responsible for and what decisions you reserve for yourself.
b. Have all the facts and counsel as necessary – then decide and stick to it.

7. Criticism: Don’t criticise people but make a fair appraisal of their qualifications with their supervisor only (or someone assigned to do this). Remember; anything you say about some may (and usually does) get back to them. There are few secrets.

8. See the good in people and try to develop those qualities.

9. Inefficiency: If it cannot be overcome and an employee is obviously incapable of the job, find a job he can do or terminate now. Don’t wait.

10. Manage your time.
a. Short conversations to the point.
b. Make every minute on the job count.
c. Work fewer hours – some of us waste half our time.

11. Delegate and hold accountable for results.

12. Details:
a. Let your staff take care of them.
b. Save your energy for planning, thinking, working with department heads, promoting new ideas.
c. Don’t do anything someone else can do for you.

13. Ideas and competition:
a. Ideas keep the business alive.
b. Know your competitors are doing and planning.
c. Encourage all management to think about better ways and give suggestions on anything that will improve business.
d. Spend time and money on research and development.

14. Don’t try to do an employee’s job for him – counsel and suggest.

15. Think objectively and keep a sense of humour: Make the business fun for you and others.

J. Willard Marriott
January 20, 1964

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