Managing Organizations/Hotel Management
The Marriot Corporation
A look at Six Sigma and the 7S McKinsey Framework
The Marriott Hotel Chain is a global brand offering resort and luxury hotel furnishings at popular vacation and business destinations. As the Events & Kitchen Management for global operations, my responsibility includes the overseeing of banquet operations including the process management of the cooking and serving efficiency. I receive complaints from hosts and others that contract our services. Whether the meal is cold or late, or if the order was wrong, there are a number of complaints that I must address as a leader and business manager.
The Event and Kitchen operations must flow seamlessly as an efficient engine that everyone loves because no one notices that it is running. When demand on the system steps up, so does performance. This can be said when the event is in full swing and drinks are being served at any one of our tables. We need to be more reactionary to demand such that preparation is undertaken to address the need to serve more drinks to clientele and for them to waste less time waiting for drinks to spend more time mingling and making contacts.
A system that enables process management coupled to a management leadership style will produce the results expected by our somewhat demanding clients. Indeed, the job of our staff is difficult, as they have to create and operate at 100% effectiveness and excel when clientele are in demand of our services. The process management methodology of Six Sigma and the leadership framework is that of The McKinsey 7S Framework (Leadersphere, 2009).
The six sigma process management is defined by Hayler & Nichols (2004), as a “Methodology that is a practical approach that focuses the tools and rigor of Lean Six Sigma on your critical processes in order to help you identify the most strategic and customer-focused properties for Lean Six Sigma projects in your organization. They suggest that it embodies the following concepts, which are universally accepted under different lists and acronyms such as;” (Kohnen, 2006)
Create compelling new products and service offerings
Provide service delivery as defined by customers
Generate attractive returns for shareholders
Be the best place to work for employees
Operate mutually value-creating partnerships with third-party suppliers
Other constructs have been proposed for this concept such as: define, measure analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC). The authors clearly state that “The most important thing is not to get ‘hung up’ on these labels, but, to stay focused on what it is we’re continually trying to achieve.”
Source: Kohnen, (2006). What is six sigma: Process management? The Quality Management Journal (2006).
With regard to the 7S McKinsey Model, “The seven variables include structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff, and shared values. Structure is defined as the skeleton of the organization or the organizational chart. The authors describes strategy as the plan or course of action in allocating resources to achieve identified goals over time. The systems are the routinized processes and procedures followed within the organization. Staff are described in terms of personnel categories within the organization (e.g., cooks), whereas the skills variable refers to the capabilities of the staff within the organization as a whole. The way in which managers behave in achieving organizational goals is considering to be the style variable; this variable is thought to encompass the cultural style of the organization. The shared values variable, originally termed superordinate goals, refers to the significant meanings or guiding concepts that organizational members share.” (Leadersphere, 2009)
Vision of the Professional Development Plan
The vision is to entice new clients by providing marketing literature displaying highlights of our past events and comments/letters from our guests and hosts of their guests whom patron our banquet and utilize our entertainment staff. Such a vision is a commitment to a system of process management and a leadership style that is consistent with achieving the end result. When our literature shows clients engaging one another at our events rather than waiting online with a rather unhappy and inpatient look, we believe our halls will be books when we throw an additional 15% discount for first time clients.
The described vision of the plan is a function of the current analysis of talent available within the organization and the likelihood of securing knowledgeable staff for future events should our demand for services rise sufficiently to warrant an increase in expenditure for new hires. Each event seeks to create synergies at each level of interaction and engagement. This means we do not want our staff multi-tasking if we can avoid it. Should then need to multi-task, we want it performed functionally by focusing and completing one task quickly and effectively before moving onto the next task.
When these synergies exist and are exploited, the level of service increases significantly and increases the effectiveness of our services when assessed by our guests. The word of mouth regarding the effective management of our event and kitchen staff will enable growth within this cash cow niche market our corporation has increased market share in. By growing our event and kitchen management business, we create greater demand for services in a very strategic market that ostensibly can survive as a stand-alone business rather than apart of broader hotel chain.
To obtain these results, the process management is seen as the enabler to employees that informs them to target delivery times and real-time information regarding demand for services. By communicating with our staff we can facilitate the supply for demand for services and avoid any headaches or complaints from our guests. My vision is to have perfect events, every time. If our staff is committed to the vision of continuous process improvement then there is no doubt we can perform well above the industry standard and thus facilitate more demand for our services.
The reason behind the choosing of six sigma continuous process management control and the McKinsey 7S Framework is due to the proven ability of Kaizen style management theory to the employ that yield tremendous bottom line results to Japanese corporations. I see the management of our event and kitchen staff much the same way. By investing in ways to enable greater communication between our staff, including waiters, hosts, cooks, servers, and bartenders, we can create a seamless and fun environment were mingling and activity becomes the norm.
This particular approach addresses the critical nature of event driven management as a crux to facilitating satisfying services to a diverse and complex guest list. We have no knowledge regarding the particulars of the tastes of each of our guests and therefore, we use our ingenuity to create dishes that will please just about any palate. The understanding is our staff can just add salt to a meal should we think such a measure will satisfy our guests however, we understand that to err on the side of lower salt is to enable process management control to ‘spice’ up the meal rather than have to replace the whole meal due to providing too much ‘spice’.
The McKinsey Framework is chosen for its managerial effectiveness regarding multiple staff and their responsibilities and how their efforts are related to the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. As my staff cannot be bothered with a leadership style that forces them to change how they think or act, the McKinsey Framework adjusts how my staff works such that their efforts are now maximized toward producing our desired end goal. We understand that although such metrics as time are important, if our staff takes a minute out to speak to our guests, we understand how that experience will positively impact our organization and therefore we choose manage the operation accordingly.
Leadership Development Plan, Goals and Outcomes
The Leadership Development Plan involves a top-down understanding of our needs and resource requirement subject to achieving our goals within our specified budget. We enable a ‘champion’ who will report to corporate with the results of our plan. The champion is responsible for ensuring that all directives are met and that, at the end of the day, our guests are happy with their event and that we have exquisite photo-ops of the success of our event management efforts and of the culinary creations from our chefs and culinary staff.
I do not feel that our efforts can change the broader framework of which we operate, such as the type of organizational structure, our overall strategic mission and vision, and the core implementation of our systems management. However, adjusting these components to enable the Leadership Development Plan is the ideal of my vision.
“The authors have concluded that American companies tend to focus on those variables which they feel they can change (e.g., structure, strategy, and systems) while neglecting the other variables. These other variables (e.g., skills, style, staff, and shared values) are considered to be “soft” variables. Japanese and a few excellent American companies are reportedly successful at linking their structure, strategy, and systems with the soft variables. The authors have concluded that a company cannot merely change one or two variables to change the whole organization. For long-term benefit, they feel that the variables should be changed to become more congruent as a system.” (Leadersphere, 2009)
“The Six Sigma Management Process Project used a DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) approach to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s management of its Six Sigma effort. By looking at the “lives” of numerous Six Sigma projects from a process perspective, the project team was able to identify “defects” in the process, isolate root causes for these defects, and improve the process to eliminate them. This presentation includes real data on the causes of Six Sigma project failures (cancelled and late projects) from a company with a two-year-old deployment. Attendees from companies with existing Six Sigma systems will discover some opportunities to improve their process; those from companies just starting their deployment will see a roadmap for success as well as some pitfalls to avoid.” (Starbird, 2002)
Now the idea of how DMAIC works within the operations assessment phase of the organizational process management and systems management cycle, we can create score charts that define immediate goals for each of our line staff. These goals cater to our clients and allow our staff to explain off any variance as well as link their activity with the activity of other staff that ‘picked up the slack’ when a staff member was attending to more important matters. The trick with six sigma is to recognize the need for process improvement within the service cycle yet to also understand that the soft and more tangible service component of one-on-one client engagement is outside the scope and parameters of six sigma and is therefore under the auspice of leadership management.
The goals and anticipated outcomes are related to the end-user (guest) experience of using our services and the outcomes we expect are for our guests to be enamored with our services. This is measured by our response feedback form, which captures the complete event experience from the perspective of our guests. We have the key host complete the form along with any interested guest who expresses interest in completing the survey.
The goal each and every time we host an event is to have the most immaculate table settings to accompany the most exquisite in food and in culinary art and skill. We understand that our guests want the five star treatment regardless of what the price is. As a major event and hotel management company, we are able to operate at much lower costs than other enterprises that would supply the same services. For our company to host an unbelievable event that leaves the impression of being 2x to 3x more expensive than the bill indicates is a testament to how well the Marriot has performed relative to industry competitors.
Leadership Development Activities
The banquet room is within a gorgeous entertainment hall. There is a kitchen adjacent to each of our banquet rooms and is outside the purview of our guests. Our process management system is completely out of our guests sight, meaning their field of view and is managed via handheld process management systems software similar to the devices UPS uses to scan and identify their packages for delivery. The importance of using a score card and communications system comes down to the minute-by-minute real-time management of our events, which require data sent to staff and relayed immediately. If we see that table nine, guest D. has asked for more pepper, we can retrieve the dish immediately to the kitchen, add the pepper, immediately heat the dish to satisfy the guest, and return the dish to the guest within 2 minutes. And that includes at least 30 seconds to reheat the dish.
“When a multi-billion dollar, Fortune 50 company implemented its Six Sigma strategy a few years ago, it had great expectations. Sold on the success of General Electric (GE) and others, their leaders simply expected the results to start flowing in, and to some extent they did. They measured their Six Sigma system in terms of “deployment” — how many people they had trained, how many projects they had started, etc. They thought they were doing really well. And one day, they realized that their “deployment” metrics were missing something; they weren’t measuring “efficiency” or “effectiveness” of their Six Sigma system. When they did that, they soon realized (1) how inefficiently and ineffectively they were managing their Six Sigma “process” and (2) how much opportunity there was to make even more money and achieve even greater results. So, they chartered a DMAIC project to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness” of Six Sigma.” (Starbird, 2002)
“Major contributions which resulted from work carried out on strategy implementation during this time include the value chain concept and the 7S framework which help in developing an understanding on internal issues that need to be addressed to achieve the organization’s goals. During the1970s and 1980s researchers increasingly recognized that strategy development cannot be regarded as a simple design mechanism but that different strategy processes may exist in different organizations and that there may be a gap between the intended and achieved strategy. As the speed of change and the level of uncertainty in the competitive environments further increased it was realized that it is not possible to determine a strategic direction for an organization on a systematic basis but that organizations must constantly adapt to fast-changing circumstances and, hence, move towards dynamic strategy development.” (Feurer, Chaharbaghi, 1997)
These theories reinforce the development plan of engaging our guests more effectively by implementing a process control system with the oversight of the 7S McKinsey Framework. “In any organization the people who are in the best position to define the current state against whatever process we’re evaluating are those who actually do the work. Our strategy, therefore, is to train the rank-and-file, to get them engaged. We went them to be able to define the current state and to make the leap to envisioning perfection. This is a leap, a different way of thinking. By definition, it creates impatience with small, incremental improvements. Once you’ve envisioned perfection, how can you not strive for it? We use facts and data to define the current state, and a vision of value as defined by our customers.” (Journal of Management, 2002)
The plan will be assessed by the corporate leadership and the finance department relative to our past performance and resource outlay. To continue, the assessment is a function of a 3-year process improvement cycle where every six months there is a performance review of our efforts to determine if we are hitting our targets. The forecast for expected demand of services at each booked event provides a capital/labor resource schedule that we use to plan our budget and capital outlay. Indeed, the profit from the event is simply revenue — expenses.
The DMAIC process is used and a process flow chart along with the score cards are used to track performance. Statistically, the DMAIC process is managed using such analysis as the Chi-Square and ANOVA tests which tests for differences in the means of data and other such statistical information. These tests may be more sophisticated than what is needed to create value from the Leadership Development Plan however, in manufacturing and process control for assembled items, these tests are critical to ensuring there are no errors in the process design, creating flaws that can lead to accidents.
Software packages at the beginning will be limited to Microsoft Excel 2010 and should the management of the processes require more rigorous analysis, which is not anticipated, the software will be upgraded to Minitab. However, this process is a human capital management process and not a manufacturing control process. The need for sophisticated statistical techniques is not required in this case and would only obfuscate the issue at large and create additional costs and constraint on our limited time. The score card and DMAIC process is sufficient to ensure that our goals be met.
The overall feasibility of the study is quite valid and sound. Since the rigorous statistical testing is deemed to be unnecessary, the value of such a study is net positive when considering the level of resources dedicated to accomplishing this task. Ostensibly, the major requirement is in the area of technological resources that enable the communication and real-time exchange of logistical and event-driven data that directly impacts the guest experience and thus our current and future bottom line.
The professional experience behind such an elaborate leadership plan is priceless. To lead an initiative where guests are engaged as a function of our collective experience, knowledge, and commitment to their enjoyment is truly a magical experience as you see what true excitement and happiness can bring to the table through high quality services. We feel the level of intuitiveness within our operations is subconsciously gauged by our guests and relayed via feedback either in the oral or written form. Although oral feedback isn’t tracked as would written feedback, the attention from our staff dedicated to resolving or expanding on any issue relayed verbally is as strong and as immediate as written feedback. I feel the plan is very comprehensive and specific to obtaining critical data from our guests while not being too obtrusive nor too cost prohibitive.
Feurer, R., & Chaharbaghi, K. (1997). Strategy development: Past, present and future. Training for Quality, 5(2), 58. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/207537137?accountid=13044
Journal of Management. (2002). Raytheon Six Sigma. http://www.isssp.com/media/lc_02_media/burnhamfall02reprint.pdf
Kohnen, J.B. (2006). What is six sigma: Process management? The Quality Management Journal, 13(1), 60. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/213611844?accountid=13044
Leadersphere (2009). HR Intelligence Report Organizational Diagnostic Models A Review & Synthesis. http://www.leadersphere.com/img/OrgmodelsR2009.pdf
Starbird, D. (2002). Business excellence: Six sigma as a management system: “A DMAIC approach to improving six sigma management processes.” ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement Proceedings,, 47. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214387106?accountid=13044
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