Friday, June 29, 2007

Kimo Kippen at ASTD

Kimo Kippen gave a message on Ohana (Family)9at ASTD this year. He is the VP of Human Resources for Marriott and was asked to introduce the keynote done by Keith Ferrazzi. Before introducing Ferrazzi, told three stories about leadership.

Kimo's Lesson on Ethics!

Kimo was eight years old 8 and just beginning to think for himself. His had a close friend named John. And John's father was going to war. Viet Nam.. Kimo's grandmother was very spirited and was against the war. He was unsure.. should he be for or against the war... went to his mother and asked her who was right.. His mother was very wise and told him said two things:

She told him that everyone was right!

Then she asked him a question: "What do you think is right?"

The lesson is an important one. Kimo's mother taught him that he had to decide what was right for himself? He had to be an independent thinker.. her simpler and power advice continues to shape him.

The Importance of OHANA

One of his first leadership role was managing the hospitality bar in a maui hotel.. He had a secret shopper.. who came into his shop. Secret shoppers are trained to do quality audit on the operation and she was brutal on them. They were all called in on their day off for a meeting and she laid out all the things his team was doing wrong. It was all negative. Kimo got upset and decided that he had to talk to his boss. He had strong feelings that they had been treated unfairly. He told his boss that that moral was down and they were all unhappy. He thought he was easily killing any future job opportunities he might have, but he believed his was doing the right thing.

His boss told him one thing... "For every arrow she through at you, it when through you and hit me in the stomach." He took ownership of the problem and took responsibility and accountability. The boss demonstrated the concept for Ohana.. we are all family.

OHANA - 9/11

Then Kimo brought home by reminding us that on 9/11.. an employee of Marriott, Nancy, was in charge of their property that sat on the edge of the towers... When it all began to fall, Nancy had to get everyone out of the hotel.. over a 1000 guest. Nancy had to take care of the ohana (the family) and using the master list of all guest and employees. Risking her life.. hanging on to the list, more precious than her own life.. they worked to get everyone out. They lost 2 associates helping guest get out of the hotels, but they got people out of the hotel. They also saved the flag from the hotel which today sits in their corporate offices in DC. Kimo walks by it every morning and thinks "OHANA!"

These three stories echo the importance of treating your employees as a family. Putting yourself last.. putting them first.. Great stories and Kimo did a much better job of telling them than I!

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