The Integrity Dividend in Hospitality Leadership

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[Excerpt] Almost any leadership book will mention the need for leaders to walk their talk, and to deliver on their word. These books mention integrity alongside many other tactics and strategies for effective leadership. And it is the same with books about sales. But I have found that integrity is far more than just a leadership skill. It is essential to an effectively functioning hotel. I have spent the past 13 years as a business scholar tracking what I call the “integrity dividend.” This dividend is an actual, bottom-line business return that occurs when people see that you live by your word. This dividend is far bigger than you might guess, and I demonstrate that fact in this chapter, using both numbers and comments from industry leaders. One reason that I study the integrity dividend and share information about it is that in my many surveys and hundreds of executive interviews, I have come to the conclusion that leaders and salespeople of an impeccable word are, unfortunately, rare. Consequently, these people are prized—mostly due to their ability to bring in financial results. The other reason that I continue this research is that I have learned that the problem here is not one of moral deficiency—I am not making value judgments. Instead, this is a matter of skill and focus. As I explain in this chapter, people need to practice the skill of integrity, in part because many circumstances impede the required focus. Integrity is learnable, like many other skills. Managers, salespeople, teams, and whole companies can increase their individual and collective credibility, and support the integrity of their peers through their language and habits. When you strip away the moralizing from the issue of integrity, it becomes something one can study and learn to improve.

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leadership; integrity; credibility; hospitality industry


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Required Publisher Statement: © Wiley. Final version published as: Simons, T. (2011). The integrity dividend in hospitality leadership. In M. C. Sturman, J. B. Corgel, & R. Verma (Eds.), The Cornell School of Hotel Administration on hospitality: Cutting edge thinking and practice (pp. 469-479). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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