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Empowerment and Speed in Moscow and Nicaragua

Empowerment and Speed in Moscow and Nicaragua


Janico,  Manager guide

Dear John! I have heard a lot of you as a guru. Your business books are my favorite! Your lecture was brilliant and very useful! Your recommendation will help us to keep leading positions of our company! Thank  you  very much!!  Hope to see you  again!

Oleg, Sales manager


Dear John! Thank you for visiting our office. It was a honour for me to take you to our show­  rooms and tell about the project. I was very happy to hear in your presentation that you liked our decoration, our entrances, and our environment. Thank you for your positive feedback and useful  tips  on improving  our client  service and as a result, increasing  sales. I appreciate that you consider   our company to be the leader on the market. I am very grateful, that I was lucky to be the part of  this inspiring performance.  Thank  you very much!!

Diana, Telephone sales manager

Today was an exciting day! I was happy to be on the lecture of legendary John  Tschohl!! All the audience was sitting fascinated because the manner of his explaining things is extraordinary! It was really amazing! He gave us many useful pieces of advice and what is more imp011ant inspired us with his own example to be leaders and win in every situation! I have read all his books, now they are my handbooks. I am happy that I had a chance to get his autograph and make a photo with the guru. His presentation is a fantastic show, and his customer service – oriented approach is a really important thing for every successful company! Thank you very much, John!! This day will be one of the most memorable in my life. Hope you liked Russia, and you will come again!

 Irina Fomicheva, John Tschohl, Maria Kirsanova, Absolut Group       


John, there is something else we did like in your session! You have made a big work before the session itself! You checked the phone, checked projects Perviy Moscovskiy and Skolkovo. And all your words were true and full of real information! You know what you’re talking about and words in your seminar are not only words but real life! I just finished conference chat with all the managers and they did feel that you own the detailed information and made a detailed research of how we work! That’s why the information touched all of us! Thank you) it was really awesome! 

John Tschohl and Maria Kirsanova


John Tschohl & Jose Hodgson                                         

I travel everywhere in the world to help companies and government agencies to grasp the two issues of Empowerment and Speed. Recently I was in Nicaragua and Russia. I talk a lot about Empowerment because there is no way every employee can be taught rules and policies that work for every customer. Leadership in most organizations tends to believe that every rule and policy is perfect for the organization and many fail to realize that customers are different.   

Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer. It’s important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them, be honest and sincere in our efforts to service our customers.  The only way we can do that is by empowering employees to satisfy the customer quickly and to their satisfaction.  

Most employees are rule and process driven. They worship rules. Many assume the owner of the business will not have enough money for dinner that night if they spend company money taking care of a customer. Almost all employees assume they will be immediately fired if they make a decision in favor of the customer, when in fact, most decisions require no money and about 80% will cost under $50. They have to bend the rules. 

As a speaker, I have 3 simple requests when traveling. A king size bed, no smoking room, and the Internet. The firm organizing my seminar for October 1 in Moscow for the Absolut Group had requested a king sized bed and also paid for an extra night since he was arriving early in the morning. When I got into my room about 9:20 am (Registration was slow) I found two double beds. I called the front desk. They said there were no king size beds available and that no king size bed had been requested. After returning from my first meeting, I asked again about getting a room with a king size bed.  

They said if I wanted to pay for an upgraded room they could get me into a king size bed. This was a simple request and at no real cost to the Marriott. (We are not talking about a lot of money to upgrade me or change rooms).  

When the person managing my Moscow visit was asked about the king sized bed she called the hotel and spent a lot of time getting me… a king sized bed. She said a king size bed was requested originally. Finally, I returned to the hotel about 10 PM and changed rooms. WHAT A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

The employees at the Marriott were not empowered. Their management did not understand empowerment. In addition, they continually lied to me. My rating on Trip Advisor was one star for service.

This hotel was new and probably cost for the land and building $100 million or more. They probably have about 300 employees but spending $25,000 a year to build a customer-driven empowered staff would cut the heart out of the owner and Marriott. 

I like to use examples like this because the same problem probably happens in your company. The out of pocket cost to have originally upgraded me to a room with a king size bed was ZERO. Under NO conditions were any of the front desk employees, operator or management going to make an empowered decision. They were very skilled at lying.  What I noticed was every employee was focused on making as much money as possible for the Marriott. 

Another problem many organizations have is employees lie and run for cover. With empowerment we want employees to be honest. Tell the truth. Solve the problem fast.  So easy. So inexpensive. Spend a little money to keep a customer over happy. When I called from the hotel room the operator should have said, Mr. Tschohl, don’t worry. I will find you a room now with a king sized bed.

You are so valuable and important to the Marriott. The front line employee has the biggest impact on your brand and must be trained to master empowerment. NO employee was willing to make an empowered decision. They all lied and continued to run for cover even when that night I returned to the hotel about 10 PM.

Empowerment is the single most difficult skill to get employees to use. Most employees feel they will be fired. In Nicaragua where I was the week before, the Hotel Barcelo and Javier Ortega the General Manager was very customer driven and believes in empowerment and speed. It is impossible to be a Service Leader without empowerment.

Speed is the other skill I focus on to drive a Service Strategy. Some of the problem firms are facing:

1. Employees have a slow mindset

2. Organization policies and procedures are designed to slow everything down.

3. Most firms do not trust the customer nor the employee so we add more policies and procedures.

Customers everywhere in the world want everything fast. They want it now. Uber, Lyft, and Gett all are applications for fast reliable taxi service. I personally try to never use a taxi anywhere in the world because I do not trust them. The chance of getting ripped off is very high. In Moscow I paid Uber about $13 to get from the airport to the Marriott. My licensee who was meeting me there paid 2 times more because he used an airport taxi. While in Moscow I tried to use GETT and Uber as much as I could.

In my seminars and training programs, I always talk about Speed and Empowerment. Both are essential to the Service Strategy.  It embodies the values of ethical standards in everything you do and establishes a collaborative working relationship with upper management, employees, and end consumers.

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