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PROVIDING STRUCTURE TO THE WORLD

for customer service, including a no-questions-asked return policy. The company has even been known to accept returns that did not come from its store in the first place. Then, of course, it also has a reputation for selling shoes in odd sizes to fit real feet and for training employees to treat customers well. Nordstrom actually engenders an atmosphere in which acts of exemplary service become legends, passed around in the store and to customers. The firm even has a marketing budget for helping to create a buzz. The point is that Nordstrom’s real marketing strategy is not its ads: It is acting in ways that cause customers to tell others about how well they were treated. The habits of mind that characterize the Caregiver not only help with customer service, but also help companies anticipate customer needs and preferences. Caregivers like to do nice things for others. Their desire to anticipate customer needs and to accommodate them is not simply about good business; it defines their basic motivation in working. J. Willard Marriott was a Mormon, trained, as Mormons tend to be, to care for others in the community. In addition, he was born to a poor sheepherder and helped tend the sheep from the age of 8. What a wonderful training that must have been for industries in which tending the customer is the first order of business! At 19, he traveled to Washington, DC to preach the gospel (his required Mormon missionary year). In Washington, he suffered with the heat and imagined how much money someone would make who could provide a cool drink to sell there. During his senior year at the University of Utah, an A&W Root Beer stand opened nearby, and Marriott loved it. After college, he bought the Washington-area A&W franchise. When business flagged in the winter, he opened his first Hot Shoppe, innovating to provide drive-in service. Like any good Caregiver, Marriott was always attuned to anticipating people’s needs. He noticed that people would pick up food from his Hot Shoppe on the way to the airport. So Marriott negotiated to pre-box meals and sell them to the airlines, initiating the in-flight catering industry. After 30 years in the food business, he opened his first hotel, which he described as “the logical extension of Hot Shoppes’ traditional concern for the American family on wheels.” Over time, he acquired Big Boy restaurants, developed Roy Rogers fast-food outlets and Sun Line Cruise Ships, and offered food services for many colleges and universities, as well as three Great America theme parks. By 1999, Marriott International was the

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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