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The Ritz Carlton 10/5 Way

I've been reading a book called 'Beyond Happiness' by Shaun Achor. It's the follow up book to his best seller 'The Happiness Advantage', which explains the immense life enhancing benefits of choosing to be someone who always sees things from a positive, as opposed to negative, mind-set. In this latest book, he explains what can be done to learn how to develop a positive mind-set. It's another great book that's packed with examples of what to do and how it works. The one that inspired me to write this is the example of the Ritz Carlton 10/5 Way. It's one of those little things that make a bid difference so I think it is worth mentioning.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel Group is world famous for their approach to guest service. The 10/5 Way is one of the core elements of their basic training for everyone - from Cleaner to General Manager. The 10 part of 10/5 means that whenever you are within 10 feet of anyone (guest or colleague), you must make eye contact and smile. The 5 part means that if you are within 5 feet of anyone, you must also greet them (say hello, good morning, etc.). You can't get much simpler than that as a behaviour principle, but as I indicated, it can be extremely powerful.

I've stayed in a few Ritz Carlton hotels, and admit it's one of the things that you notice. However I first experienced it on my 25th wedding anniversary when my wife and I stayed at The Cipriani Hotel in Venice. It too is a fantastic hotel and we had a great stay there. But when I reflect on what was most memorable about our stay, one of the things that stick in my mind is the way every member of staff you encountered greeted you with a beaming smile and the word 'buongiorno' (good day)

Things like this are obviously important in the hospitality business. But I think they are equally important in any business. That's because they can help set the 'tone' of the place. In Shaun Achor's book he comments on a hospital where the 10/5 principle was adopted to change the overall feeling of the place. They wanted it to change from 'somewhere that sick people go' to 'somewhere full of warm, happy, welcoming people'. It worked and the change was later accredited as playing an important role in boosting employee engagement, improving patients' recovery rates and so reducing costs and boosting revenues.

I'm therefore convinced this simple technique can work in any organisation - of any type and any size. So why not give it a try and see how it can work for you? I think that if you are determined to make it work, and stick at it, you could be amazed at the results.