Business Ideas: 3 Ways to Prevent Employees

From Losing Interest In You (Issy Sharp Lessons)


by Evan Carmichael

issy sharp



Today we’re going to look at how a high school jock whose priority was partying turned his life around and built one of the most successful hotel chains in the world. This is the story of Issy Sharp from the Four Seasons and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.


“Whatever you do, don’t ever use a crutch, and don’t ever think of having an excuse for not having said, ‘Yeah, I did my best.’ – Issy Sharp


Action Item #1: Inspire Your Employees


If you ever want to build a successful business beyond yourself you’re going to have to have a team of people working with you who are inspired to give their best every day.


Sharp didn’t become the leading luxury hotelier in the world all by himself. In the over fifty years he has been in the industry, Sharp has developed a unique leadership style that has encouraged his employees to devote 110 percent of themselves to the company. By creating a working environment that is built on trust, credibility, and integrity, Sharp has inspired his team to work to realize their best efforts. In the end, he understood that this was the secret ingredient to helping the company realize its best results.


According to Sharp: “We do that, first of all, by establishing a meaningful goal, an overriding purpose that most people can relate to. If the goal is clear and the focus is sharp and constantly reinforced, we unify and energize through a sense of common purpose that inspires employees to ardent effort.”


Action Item #2: Really Service Your Customers


The best companies are based on happy customers and repeat business. You want to strive to create an experience where your customers love buying from you and tell their friends as well.


In each and every one of its worldwide locations, the Four Seasons tends to set the top hotel price for the area – it is usually about 20 percent higher than its closest competitor. How can Sharp risk such a pricing policy? He does it by guaranteeing that his “guests get a fail-safe experience so that a company is eager to pay the extra $50 to ensure a hassle-free trip for an executive who might be working on a $50 million deal.”


According to Sharp: “Our competitors interpreted luxury chiefly as dazzling architecture and décor, but how important is that to our customers? They are mostly executives, often under pressure, fighting jet lag, stress and the clock. We decided to redefine luxury as service.”


Action Item #3: Live By The Golden Rule


The Golden Rule is to treat people as you would like to be treated. It’s not only a great way to achieve happiness as an entrepreneur, it’s also a highly profitable strategy.


The driving force behind Sharp’s success has been his desire to treat Four Seasons employees with the same level of respect that they in turn are expected to give their guests. The success of this policy has shown itself not only in terms of customer happiness but also employee engagement and satisfaction. For years, the Four Seasons has been the only Canadian company to land on Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for in the U.S.


According to Sharp: We aimed to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. Enforcing our credo was the hardest part, and senior managers who couldn’t or wouldn’t live by it were weeded out within a few years… We hire for attitude. We want people who like other people and are, therefore, more motivated to serve them. Competence we can teach. Attitude is ingrained.



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