Gregg Siegel
Business Communications Copywriter

Expert writing services for business-to-business marketing communications,

corporate communications, internal communications and more


Marriott School Services: Year-end Presidential Keynote (Draft)


"CONTINUING THE WINNING STREAK--

WORKING TOGETHER, IT'S A SURE THING"

President, Marriott School Services

School Services Division National Meeting Keynote Address

 

(After video interview presentation)

 

{SLIDE 1: (TITLE SLIDE)

"CONTINUING THE WINNING STREAK--

WORKING TOGETHER, IT'S A SURE THING"}

 

I hope you all enjoyed that presentation, and a special thanks to all of you who participated in its creation. I think that all of us in the Schools Division, whether relative newcomer like myself or K-12 veteran like many of you, have a vague idea of how far we have come in a relatively short period of time. But, I think that the reflections, insights and memories we just saw and heard really help remind us and put in perspective the success we are celebrating here today, as we close the book on a breakthrough year and begin, I'm confident, a year that will be even more successful for the Schools Division.

 

{SLIDE 2: WORKING HARDER, WORKING SMARTER}

 

Why was it a breakthrough year? Well, we see it, of course, in the numbers. In our retention rate, in our sales volume and in our bottom line, the key measures of any successful business. But, we also see it in areas that are more difficult to quantify, and harder, perhaps, to clearly perceive on a day-to-day basis. We see it in things like the increasing proficiency of our people. The growing sophistication of our programs. Our true dedication and commitment to customer service. Our willingness to sacrifice. And, our increased teamwork and partnering.

 

{SLIDE 3: WORKING HARDER, WORKING SMARTER}

                       • UNIT MANAGERS

                       • OPERATIONS

                       • SALES

                       • ASSOCIATES}

 

This was the year of the unit manager who showed faith and gave corporate support services another chance, rather than spending money to go elsewhere, and found that headquarters really is coming a long way in meeting the needs of our customers...It was the year of the sales manager who wisely tapped into the expertise of local operations professionals when pitching new business, leveraging available resources and creating wins for everyone...The year of the district manager who cut traveling expenses to the bone, making the effort to find better hotel rates, and being willing to double up in the "rent a car"...The year of hourly associates who rose to the occasion, learning new skills and doing more with less.

 

All of these kinds of efforts, no matter how small they may seem to the individual, multiplied by the thousands of people in our Division, are, in my opinion, a big part of what made the difference for us. As they say in Congress, "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon, it adds up to real money." Well, in a Division our size, it doesn't take long for a few dollars here and there to make quite a difference.

 

{SLIDE 4: THANK YOU!}

 

As most of you know, I've been in food service management for more than two decades, and I can honestly say that I've never been so proud to be part of any team as I am at this moment. Your performance continues to be truly amazing. I thank you for allowing me to be part of this success over the past two years. And, in my role as Division President,  I also offer thanks on behalf of a number of other people. The efforts you have made--in training and teambuilding in your Regions, in your Districts and in individual units--are very visible, not only to me, but to Chuck O'Dell and his staff as well. Chuck has asked me to thank you in my remarks today, and will also add his personal thanks and congratulations later, both to the group, and, knowing Chuck, to as many individuals as possible. Our clients have also thanked us, if not verbally, then through the evidence of their continuing trust in us, year after year, renewal after renewal. And, by promoting us to other schools who can benefit from our special brand of service. But, perhaps the group that benefits most from our hard work probably isn't even aware of us. Those are our customers--the millions of students we nourish every day. No matter how large we get, how complex in systems or technology, we should never lose sight of the fact that our job is to give meals to and maintain facilities for little kids. That's it--our business is that simple. But, as parents or aunts or uncles ourselves, we know that there are few things that could ever be as important. I thank you too, on their behalf.

 

{SLIDE 5: WHAT'S NEXT?}

 

Indeed, we have come a long way. But, as we're all aware, success is a journey, not a destination. When we look back on the next year, on the next ten years, what will we see? What will we be saying on the video--or the 3-D hologram--ten years from now? Things have changed so much in the last ten years--by then, will pizza and French fries have gone the way of meatloaf and mashed potatoes? Will new research somehow suggest that cholesterol is good for you and veggies bad? Will good old catsup show up salsa as a flash in the pan--or will the #1 condiment be something else entirely?

 

Too bad we don't have a crystal ball. It would give us some fun--not to mention a heck of a business advantage. But even without a crystal ball we can be sure of one thing--changes will occur. And we can be equally sure of another--changes, as they have been throughout history, in every area of human endeavor, will be anticipated, and even directed, by those people with the Vision and the commitment to work that Vision into reality.

 

{SLIDE 6: AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR OWN DESTINY}

 

As the current leaders in the K-12 food service arena, we have a unique opportunity to direct the changes that will occur over the next ten years. We have the size, we have the scope, and, in a very real sense, we have our hand on the rudder. But, let me clarify that--we have the opportunity, not the exclusive right. Make no mistake--we are world class, but our competitors are no dummies, and they are in a constant "feeding frenzy" to take the opportunity away from us. They, too, know about the wisdom of teams. They, too, know about beginning with the end in mind. They, too, are refocusing on the customer. So while we have every right to enjoy the success we have earned, we must constantly move forward, because they will be. And, while we are here in the driver's seat, let's begin planning our next decade together.

 

{SLIDE 7: SHIFT #1: BECOMING A "LEARNING ORGANIZATION"}

 

What will the next ten years look like? Well, for one thing, there will be a premium on continuous learning, and in being part of what is called a "Learning Organization." None of us will be able to define ourselves by our titles anymore. It won't be "what are you?" but rather, "what can you do?" We all need to expand our skills and competencies, take a look at where we are weak and hone those skills, take a look at where we are strong and become even stronger. If Naomi McKenzie is already a passable Visionary thinker, she will work with the Stephen Coveys and the Chuck O'Dells to become better. If Naomi McKenzie can't tell a computer keyboard from a piano keyboard, you can bet she'll make it a priority to turn that around--fast. These, of course, are hypothetical examples.

 

Our business is changing. Where we once could carry plenty of pitchers, plenty of outfielders, plenty of infielders, we can no longer do so. The most successful individuals in the next ten years will be ready--both in terms of skills and in terms of emotional preparedness--to contribute as a pitcher for awhile, then as an outfielder, and maybe back to a pitcher again. And these individuals will not find this constant change difficult, in fact, they will find it revitalizing. They will be more fulfilled, professionally and personally.

 

To some extent, our managers and our organization can help us in this growth by providing formal training and resources, but it is up to each of us to look at ourselves and take the initiative. Overall, we need to be more personally reflective in the next decade, able to see our role in the bigger picture. To be more alert and sensitized to the cause and effect relationships of our actions, to be able to sit back and think about the bigger picture that impacts our day to day activities. Ask, in a given situation, am I part of a solution, or part of a problem? Where are my barriers and how can I remove them? Are my actions creating a barrier for someone else? What about my clients and customers? If they are demanding a change, am I anticipating that need, am I responsive to that need, or am I resistant to that need? The answers to all these questions were always important to our individual and business successes. In the next decade, they will be vital.

 

{SLIDE 8: SHIFT #2: CREATING OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE}

 

What else will we see looking back over the next ten years? Well, we will see a Marriott that has created a state of Operational Excellence. It's no accident that you see that phrase often during this meeting. Simply speaking, Operational Excellence means that no matter how spread out our units, how diverse, we are able to provide the same high level of product and service quality, whether it's to an elementary school in New York, to a high school in California or a to secondary school in Chicago. Right now, like many smaller, entrepreneurial companies, we are often creating programs at a grass roots level, and, that can be successful--for awhile. There comes a time where reinventing the wheel at each location causes quality to go down and costs to go up. It is an irony of success that once you reach a certain point some of the things that got you there no longer work on the larger scale. We will look back and see how we successfully made the transition, perhaps overdue, to an increasing emphasis on standardization. That will mean, number one, for those of you in this room, listening to the units and listening to our customers to create an on-target program in each area. And, it will also mean that we allow the units enough flexibility to fine-tune these programs just enough to meet individual needs while still maintaining a familiar Marriott "footprint." We'll be looking back on how this Operational Excellence helped us satisfy clients and customers by providing a consistent, recognizable standard of excellence at a price point that shouts "value." The high quality provider, low cost producer.

 

{SLIDE 9: SHIFT #3: DEVELOPING MORE INNOVATIVE, MORE PROACTIVE PROGRAMS}

 

What will these standard programs look like? They will be what the market demands, before they demand it. Not the same old thing, but innovative programs in tune with the needs of all the constituents we serve, and with an eye toward what we, as the market leaders, see coming around the next curve. And we will not only have these programs before our competitors do, we will also know how to communicate these programs and their benefits to customers and potential customers, bolstering our sales efforts and further increasing retention. Prime example--the new USDA Nutrient Standard program is one of the biggest changes to hit our market since the 1940s. Those who merely react to it will be playing catch up for a lot of years. Those that meet it proactively and create a cost-effective innovative plan to meet it will have a tremendous advantage. Another quick example--with increasing concern about bloodborne diseases, floorcare will begin having a strong healthcare component. Our programs will reflect that.

 

{SLIDE 10: AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR OWN DESTINY

  BY BECOMING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION

               BY CREATING OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

               BY PROACTIVITY AND INNOVATION }

 

So, as we look back from ten years hence, we see we are a learning organization demonstrating operational excellence and delighting our clients and customers with innovative programs. Are we the market leaders? Not necessarily. There is at least one other key component that the leader must have.

 

{SLIDE 11: AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR OWN DESTINY

              BY BECOMING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION

               BY CREATING OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

               BY PROACTIVITY AND INNOVATION

              BY STRATEGICALLY USING TECHNOLOGY TOOLS}

 

We are living in the information age; whoever secures the most information the fastest for the lowest cost is the winner in the next decade. Unit managers and operations people must be able to track trends instantly to make fact-based decisions. Sales people must be able to provide real world information to the client while they're sitting there in their office. Overnight mail--that's becoming the equivalent of a slow boat to China. Information is available instantly if we know how to get it. This ties in strongly to being a learning organization, but is so key, it must be emphasized. Each of us must decide right now that information is not something we accumulate in our in baskets, but something we seek out and use. Each of us must decide what information we need to excel, and determine how to get it. The how to get it, of course, means computer power of some kind. Electronic mail. LANs. Data uploading. If any of this sounds daunting to any of you, believe me, my school girl days in Jamaica didn't introduce me to many of these terms either. But I have made the commitment to learning about them. With the help of my colleagues. And my kids.

 

{SLIDE 12: (OVERVIEW CHART)}

 

We've talked about quite a few new ideas, each of them shifts critical to our success over the next ten years. As a learning organization, we must shift from being content with our current level of skills and work toward being ever-improving, and willing to collaborate even more to tap into the potential of team synergies. As a business with demonstrated operational excellence, we must cease creating new programs individually, and instead shift toward consolidating the ideas from the units upfront to make the original program the best possible. As an innovative organization, we won't be content to rest on our laurels, but will anticipate trends and help direct them. And, we will forsake the older, slower ways of sharing information and do our best to embrace the communications tools that can help us do our jobs better.

 

{SLIDE 13: (TITLE SLIDE)

"CONTINUING THE WINNING STREAK--

WORKING TOGETHER, IT'S A SURE THING"}

 

These are many of the things we will hear being said as we recap in this future meeting. Will we continue our winning streak, and be leaders then as we are now? I am not a betting woman, but if I were, I'd put my money on this team. We've met the challenges of the past, from the FDA to blizzards and hurricanes, from initiating leading-edge nutritional education programs to pioneering colorful signage for the MTV generation. And we will meet and direct whatever changes await us up ahead, because we have demonstrated that we have the determination to do what's necessary to do so. For my money, that's as close to a sure thing as it gets. Thank you.

 

{SLIDE 14: THANK YOU!}

 

 



Back to Samples Index Page




Gregg Siegel

Business Communications Copywriter

Better writing. Less hassle.

1-800-848-5776

gregg@gsiegel.com