Isadore Sharp, a Hotelier with a Heart

I often read book reviews…much more than the actual books. I like the way people can digest and tighten up a message that is as long and sometimes boring in a 400 page book, but works in a newspaper column or even as a little blog. One I read the other day was about Four Seasons, a new book about the founders of the iconic hotel chain. Isadore Sharp started the whole thing in 1961.

The takeaway in this hotelier’s story to me is how he treated the members of the lowest rung of his staff…the housekeepers, cooks, bell staff, waiters and clerks were trusted, respected and motivated by their creedo that this was at the heart of the issue. They were the front line, so they were encouraged to solve service problems as they arose, and to remedy failures on the spot. “Make the people who work for you shine,” was their advice to the managers.

The Four Seasons was named as a “100 Best Companies to Work For,” for a 12th consecutive year. I think that their ‘bottom up’ way of treating employees may have a lot to do with that!