Human Nature of Leadership
The human nature and human coexistence are structured in a way that always there are people who lead while others become the subjects. The running of a government, institutions or businesses requires leadership. In this paper, after establishing what leadership is, we will analyse leadership at Marriott Company. For better clarity, the paper will examine the company’s leadership decisions, the role of the leadership team and the characteristic of its leaders. In the end, the essay will give a description of strategic changes that made by its leadership in response to the trend in the industry.
Leadership is a field of study that has attracted many definitions depending on the sector in reference. Some scholars give an understanding that leadership is a position that governs others. Daft (p5), argues that leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their purpose. An analysis of his understanding of leadership reveals that a leader must be influential, must intentionally desire some changes to the people they are leading, and that the influence is in many directions and not coercive. Some schools of thought argue that leaders should lead by example. The mistake that many leaders do is to create a perception that they are special than their subjects. This brief explanation of leadership will go a long way in assessing leadership at Marriott Company.
Marriott International is a universal lodging company that has properties in approximately eighty-seven countries and territories. The Enterprise founders were J. Willard and Alice Marriott, who got leadership support from the larger Marriott family for about 90 years. Marriott International has its head offices in Bethesda, Maryland in the USA. The management of the company is by a Board of Directors and the Executive. Apart from the Executive Chairman, who was also the Board chairperson, other leaders in the company are the President, who is also the CEO. The current president is Arne Sorenson. The Company’s leadership also comprises of the Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer among others.
Since the establishment of this company up to the year 2012, it operated as a family business. As noted earlier in this text, the Marriott family offered leadership for nearly ninety years. J.W. Marriott, Jr. has been the Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board for forty years until the year 2012 when he stepped down. After Marriott Jr.’s leadership, the Company transitioned from a family business to a global lodging company. This change meant that its leadership also had to move from a family kind of leadership to a much professional and appropriately structured leadership.
The Marriott Family provided great leadership to the Company that has seen its growth from a small family business to its current stature. An overview of the forty years leadership by J.W. Marriott Jr. Show’s leadership decisions that resulted in the growth of this business. The Company has not only grown fat regarding profit to its shareholders, but it has also created employment for more than three hundred and sixty-one thousand people globally. One of the key organisational decisions that make this company outstanding over the others is its employment policies. Marriott International is among the best workplaces in the USA. It is has a commitment to diversity, social responsibility, and community engagement. The other attribute about this Company is that focuses on putting the interests of the minorities into consideration. By taking care of the employees and having a target group of clientele, Marriott Jr. established an excellent base for this company. With such structures, every member of the minority group feels very much comfortable associating themselves with the Company. Due to its excellent working conditions, the company attracts the best workers who Intern provides quality work.
Another important aspect of leadership is teamwork. Teamwork is an aspect that requires people to work together with an aim of meeting a set objective. A big organisation such as Marriott International requires a good coordination of its workers from the Headquarter to the smallest of its branches. Using the analogy of the human body, it demands that all human organs to perform their individual function which at the end had a common purpose. Similarly, to an organisation, it requires that every employee from the junior to the top leadership to individually perform their role where at the end, they will lead to success in the Company.
Larry Fast, (2013) argues that where the top leadership fails from the beginning to support the people working under them, the junior workers becomes frustrated and inactive if they have to do it by themselves. By giving his personal experience as a leader, Larry says that corporate leaders must assume the role of a champion. By Champion, he means that leaders should equip themselves with knowledge about the power of strategy and the tools and culture that is required to implement the company’s decisions. He further states that an effective leader should discuss in advance a strategic idea with the superiors or with colleagues before disseminating it for execution by the juniors.
Larry Fast (2013) argues that as a regular practice by many Corporations, though strategies rarely get started at the Boardroom by the CEO, the senior leadership should assume the role. By so doing, they can come up with right guidance and supervision which leads to proper execution of the strategy. Good leadership team comes required to shape the path by which the subordinate staff will follow so as to achieve and sustain excellence. It is Larry understands that the top leadership of any organisation has a role in moulding the business. A reflection of these sentiments with an overview of Marriott’s leadership shows us that the Company took much of its time in building its foundation. As earlier seen in this essay, the company boasts of its attractive employment policies and gradual growth.
To establish the characteristics of the leadership of this organisation, it is prudent that we look at who J.W. Marriott the founder was. From his biography, we see his determination, after completing university studies, to start a business of his own. He came from a very humble family where his father was a farmer. His biography tells us that Marriott started doing business from the age of 13 years. Though he did not have much money to initiate the business he was dreaming about, it was his belief that by joining hands with his friends, he would get the capital to launch the business. Marriott was a kind of person who dedicated all his time and efforts in growing the Marriott business. In the exact words of his biography, we are told that he breathed, ate, lived and dreamed about his venture. Even when the retirement time came, he was not ready to let go of the company’s management. From this overview, we see the founder of this institution as an aggressive and determined person who will work at all cost and levels to attain what they believed. We also see him as a very hard working person who applies to nothing but success.
Another attribute about Marriott as the founding leader is his concern about his employees. When he finally let the Company’s leadership go, he advised his son to take care of the employees. He argued that if one takes care of their associates, they will bring customers. As earlier noted in this essay, Marriott International is one of the few companies in the USA that has the best work policy. This factor, therefore, means that the leadership that succeeded him carried on with his leadership traits and aspirations.
The other leadership quality that could be seen from the founders of this organisation is their concern for others and charitable nature. He lived a life that did not only aim at acquiring wealth, but also giving back to the community. Today, the company still practices this social welfare activity every year through a Community Service Award in memory of Alice S. Marriott. J.W. Marriott could not have attained his business success alone without the significant efforts that his wife Alice accorded him. Apart from meeting her family duties, she was also very active in the firm. He dedicated herself in many Charitable, Civil, and cultural institutions. She also held many significant government positions.
Before J.W. Marriott Jr. handed the business management to professionals, he had made tremendous steps in ensuring that the company will continue growing. During the 1970s, it is argued that he had shifted the Company’s business model from hotel to property management and selling. The decision helped the Company increase its growth rate and broaden its leadership position. In the year 1993, the Company then split into Marriott International, which is the hotel, and a hotel ownership company that was chaired by his brother. The most significant and recent decision that the Company’s leadership made was to stop treating the Hotel as a family business. This transformation occurred in 2012 following the retirement of J.W. Marriott.
To ensure an increased profit gain and development of the Company the Executive leadership came up with an aggressive growth plan in the year 2014. The Organization unveiled a plan to open more than 1300 hotels in the developing economies such as Africa and Asia. In justification of this decision, the chief executive officer argued that globally, since the international trips reached to one billion and would double in ten years, it would be prudent for the company to provide hospitality services to the travellers in almost all destinations. (Bhattarai, 2014). This initiative was a very significant strategic change as it focused on providing services to its clients from wherever they go and at the same time enhancing its growth.
For a very long time, Marriott leadership expanded the company to other countries targeting the US travellers. By so doing, the company purposed to ensure that its clients receive similar services in and outside the US. As Bhattarai elaborates, about five decades ago, Marriott changed clientele strategy and started expanding the company to other countries targeting the locals or the regions. In the beginning, the company began its expansion in many common areas such as Acapulco, Amsterdam and Toronto. As the company advanced, it continued attracting new locations from different regions around the world with much focus on the locals and regional tourists as opposed to the initial target of the US tourists. In an Interview, one of the key leaders of this institution said that they were going to open more hotels in other countries where the big percentage of their business will be about local business or regional business. To make the hotels much accommodating to the locals the rooms are designed to fit cultural nuances of the locals. For instance, in India, the word ‘inn’ as understood does not portray a high quality of products. As a result, the Company dropped the word in its India’s Fairfield Inn, hotel, and it just gets referred to as “Fairfield”. (Bhattarai, 2014)
Another strategic advancement that the Company’s leadership has taken is in the application of technology to offer efficient services. Notably among them is the introduction of a mobile application that allows its guests to check in and out of their rooms. Another mobile application enables persons in a conference to request for services without leaving the meeting room. Still on Technology, the company is also focusing on marketing its services through social media where it targets the huge number of young travellers. For instance, before the Company could open its Moxy Hotel in Milan, it profiled its employees and their hobbies in its Instagram account. Its aim was to create a fashionable impression of Moxy to its clients. Such a gesture could see it shine over its competitors and attract the huge number of population that associates with fashion. (Bhattarai, 2014)
For many years, the Company had only one brand, and this meant that its customers did not have much choice. In the year 1983, it introduced Courtyard that offered mid-price for business travellers. After the success of Courtyard, the Company launched Fairfield Inn and Marriott Suites in the year 1987. These brands favoured the clients in different ways. Others provided affordable services for the mid-earners while others attracted the customers due to their location. The organization has a portfolio of 18 diverse brands. (Cederholm, 2014)
In conclusion, from this essay, we can clearly affirm that leadership is a position of influence that intentionally purposes change to the people being lead. From the analysis of Marriott International Company, we can see that it all started as an idea from a young entrepreneur who did not even have the funds. We have been able to establish the leadership qualities of the founding fathers of this company that made this company realise its today’s glory. Many leaders do not easily let go something that they hold so much passionately as J.W. Marriott Jr. did by making the family business a professional company with shareholders. This essay has therefore given us an insight that a successful leader should look at the bigger interests of the institutions they lead rather than only considering their interests.