Leading through Communicating: Part One

Sparking and Sustaining Change

Andreas knew a change was needed. He had been hired as a General Manager of a luxury hotel yacht to drive the service and sales team to grow meetings, incentive customers and ultimately increase revenue. In his first months, he came to learn how unmotivated and discouraged the team really felt. Yet, being a strong leader with naturally expressive characteristics, Andreas continued to persevere each day never letting his own enthusiasm waiver.

It seemed to him that while most people seemed to simply be going through the motions of their work day, anytime he suggested a change for the better in how things were being done, his employees spoke up expressing resistance and roadblocks for why things couldn’t be done differently or more effectively on the hotel yacht.

One day, Andreas brought the team together. He told a story about how he had changed the life of one of his customers, Sara, while at his former job. Sara had come to Andreas’s luxury hotel to let him know that her boss had asked her to find a venue that would impress their investor clients who the company was hosting over two days. Sara has visited three luxury venues in London, England and while they were all lovely, none  really stood out. Then Sara met Andreas. After an engaging and entertaining tour of the hotel, Andreas sat with Sara and over a lovely high tea service, learned how she had recently moved from Montreal, Quebec for her new job in England after a heart wrenching break up. She seemed fragile and at times, on the verge of tears. She admitted to feeling over her head in her new job and being lonely in a new, big, albeit awesome city.

Andreas told Sara about his move to London many years before coming from Germany and he told it with such humor and compassion, she laughed and cried through the entire story. A bond formed. Andreas vowed quietly to himself he would help Sara. The next day, Andreas reached out to another young planner client he had a good relationship with and explained the situation asking if she would reach out to Sara, professionally and personally. Andreas’s client honoured her word and not only did she help Sara plan a great meeting, they became the best of friends.  

Andreas asked his team if they could guess where the investor meeting was held. They all guessed correctly – his former luxury yacht. Then he asked, “Do you know who the bride is who has chosen our luxury yacht for her wedding next month?” (Hint: the answer is Sara.)

Andreas then went on to talk about the professional video shoot of the wedding he was planning to use to promote the yacht. Andreas wanted the entire team involved in the filming. He explained how he wanted to show the world the story of the best venue in London for events. He knew if they could all see the same dream, it would come true because he got to work every day with best service team in the world on the yacht delivering people’s dreams.

Andreas asked if they would all take a pledge to tell their own stories of helping one customer on the yacht over the next 4-6 months.  

One year later, Andreas’ team is at the top of the competitive set in revenue performance in the city and have changed the lives of many very happy customers who in turn recommend and refer the yacht hotel. Sara is pregnant with her first child and as Andreas says, “a new generation of London’s floating yacht hotel begins!”

Andreas’ leadership style is expressive. From forging a relationship with Sara, to encouraging his team, Andreas leveraged his leadership strengths to promote positive change in his organization. Do you know your own leadership style and why that might be important to know about yourself? There are a number of stories within this story. What are they? Tell us your leadership communication experiences and how you encourage your teams.  


Sherry Sibio is the VP of OTEC Client Solutions. Through a consulting and training process, Sherry loves helping customers' dreams become a reality and bringing their stories to life.

Posted: 11/28/2016 10:57:21 AM by jamie | with 0 comments

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