As a Meeting and Professional, I hear this on a regular basis. As a Nonprofit Association Professional, my first response is usually – be competitive in your rates. But, the longer that I am at this, the more I realize that I am designing experiences for my members, and that means more than saving a few dollars. There is a saying, “Stop tripping over dollars to pick up pennies” and as Nonprofit Professionals it is easy to fall into this trap. All of this came to fruition as I balanced two different contracts for an upcoming conference.
So, what was the tipping point in these two contracts? Spoiler alert, it wasn’t money. It was something completely intangible and so much more important – culture. Culture is so much more than organizational goals and values, it is the passion that trickles down from the top of the organization into every single employee. It can be seen on the smiles that you encounter at the front desk of a property and felt in the care that is given by all the levels of staff. It’s DWYSYWD. I became familiar with this acronym “Doing What You Say You Will Do” during a Leadership Challenge workshop where we talked in depth about Modeling the Way as a Leader. DWYSYWD is about trust and credibility, and I don’t know about you, but those are pretty high on my checklist when I consider partnering with any supplier.
Back to those contracts. Really they were quite similar – F&B, room rates, and technology where all on par, so it was truly an apples to apples comparison. It wasn’t until visiting the second property that I truly experienced a culture of service. At a lunch meeting with the Salesperson (who was amazing in and of herself), the General Manager came and introduced himself (so far, nothing that cutting edge). Then he suggested an appetizer based on his experience, went to the kitchen to place the order himself, and proceeded to serve us, himself. All while demonstrating the utmost respect and admiration of his staff. That General Manager practices DWYSYWD.
A few years ago my family was eating at Texas Roadhouse and I pointed out that all the staff were wearing shirts that said, “I Love My Job!” I commented to my daughter, 8 at the time, how nice that was to see such passionate employees. She rolled her eyes and said with a synasism that should be reserved for a much older, jaded person, “Mom, they have to wear those.” Before you are asking for business, ask yourself an important question: Are you are wearing the shirt because you have to, or because you can’t wait to get up and go to work everyday? And let me tell you, if you are doing it because you have to, it shows. If you want to, then that is the culture that I want to align with my association and my members.