Since 2009 the Swedish Systemic Network is hosted by the quickly growing design hotel chain Hellsten group. Our deal is that the hotel provides free meeting space for the monthly network café’s.
In return the Hotel is considered a Gold Sponsor for Networkplace.eu – And there is also an agreement that the Hotel can use the network once a year for an inquiry into a topic of choice by the Hotel.
In October we arranged a network meeting with the Hotel owner Per Hellsten and his dreams for the future. This night we turned the spotlight back to the hotel to go a bit deeper, and to involve a team of Hotel Staff. It became a night around miracles. The miracle is not how we do it, it`s the things that will arise from how we do it and from how we connect and create meaning together! The miracles are all the resources that will arise when we look for them and honor every ones contribution.
As consultants and managers we have become more more and more convinced by the importance of the power of how we create context for development and how we connect and create meaning together. Creating space for people to work together includes so much more than being a leader or a facilitator and it derives from understanding from curiosity and appreciation combined with clear goal and direction of where we are heading.
A different hotel manager
There is much to learn from Per Hellsten himself, how he have succeeded to make the hotel business grow from just a small hotel some years ago until now with several hotels in Stockholm and other parts of Sweden, and with visions for expansion all around the world.
Being at Hotel Hellsten, exploring the future of the hotel and how it would look like offered an exciting context. A context that gave another opportunity to explore what creates meaning and growth, and what people value in their work.
It is fascinating how Per Hellsten, the hotel director, has used his earlier knowledge and experiences when moving into the Hotel Business and how this has created success. A background as an antropoligist in Kenya and as a marketing manager in a shipping company might look a bit different from Hotel business. But it seems like Per always has lived his values and whereever he goes he brings his experiences.
Exploring how he create meaning in his life, how this connects to his dreams for the future of the organization, it all connects and creates a beautiful pattern of hope, dreams and the importance of connectedness. The vision is to create meeting spaces where people can come together, and this vision is visible in values that goes beyond ordinary hotel business, sharing a passion to make a difference. “A difference that makes the difference that matters”
The intention is to invite guests to an experience making them feel unique, to feel comfortable and at home wherever they are in the world. To experience a service being outstanding from other hotels.
So what is it that has been done, and what are the strengths beyond this successful “concept”?
Can Love be part of a business strategy?
Using the world LOVE in such a commercial business might make you laugh. But love is the word they use at this Hotel.
- How do we make people feel that they are important?
- How do we make people feel that they are resourceful and skill full?
- How do we enable people to use their skills in a way that they will grow, feel skill full and take responsibility and at the same time becomes a part of the goal of the organization?
- How do we live our values and become true to ourselves?
From this perspective love could be to be true to one self and to others, to honor other people, their views and contribution. Love is hope and connectedness. Sometimes it is not so easy to see but it is there as a seed and it is just waiting for the right prerequisites to grow. Love is sharing and living ones dreams and love is collaboration and imagines of a shared dream.
Per have succeeded in showing direction by the way he act and live his values. Even this evening when Per and his staff shared their dreams and ideas show a huge trust, that sharing is important for growth, If we keep everything to ourselves the growth will be limited.
About the process
During the evening Kicki interviewed Per and three key staff members, exploring dreams of the future and how the future would look like, also exploring stories of pride.
- A reflecting team listened and shared stories and reflection about they heard in the stories; About strengths and success factors.
- Finally the participants was also invited to share their ideas of resourses they experienced and together we started to build on a resourse tree that was drawn on the wall using post-its.
- As this tree could be viewed with all the leaves, Kicki went back to interview the staff members around pre-requisites for this tree to grow strong.
- The Hotel director Per also had the opportunity to reflect.
- Finally all the participants reflected on what we can learn from this session.
What can we learn from this evening? Of course the structure and approach made a difference but the uniqueness came from all the contributors in the context.
Every ones will to look with appreciative eyes and eyes of wonder.
To look for what creates meaning and at what is possible to build on. This unique hotel aim at living its values in every little piece of the organization and everyone is important to achieve the goals. At this hotel the customers perspective is of great importance and the professionalism arise from making the stay comfortable and unique in every little move. “The view we take influence what we see and the results we get”. The eyes of the beholder are the most important.
This also highlights the importance of values in organization, to pay attention to how people create meaning and how it is possible to create a shared meaning. Research point out that value driven organizations get really good results. When people feel important and can live their values they get engaged, take responsibility and make a better work.
A lesson for us all facilitators and leaders is to live our values and take some time to think about how we would like our values to be noticed!