The Foundation Program

The Hospitality Foundation Program is the key to becoming certified at the upper levels of A Place of Hospitality. The program is open to operators who have reached the three-star level ... and while the Foundation Program is not required to advance in the system, it will greatly accelerate the results you can achieve and the ease with which you can achieve them.

NOTE: Over the years, we have conducted shorter presentations of the principles that form the core of what we now call the Hospitality Foundation Program. Those programs were well-received and past attendees gained significant insights during our time together. Click here to see a few of their comments.

We also learned that a longer format helps this shift of understanding take hold at a deeper level. This creates a more lasting impact on the leaders and ultimately, on their organizations. We will have more "ahas" to pass along as new "graduates" share their experiences.

What is The Hospitality Foundation Program?
The Foundation Program is just what the name implies -- the foundation of understanding that makes the "impossible" promise of A Place of Hospitality totally achievable. I promise you there is nothing like this anywhere else in the industry.

After reaching the three-star level of certification, you certainly understand that true hospitality doesn't come from what you DO, it is a result of how you ARE. This creates a training dilemma. You know how to teach people what to DO, but how do you help people learn to BE different? For that matter, how do YOU learn to be different? That's where the Foundation Program comes in.

The Foundation Program is a wonderfully natural experience of seeing life from a deeper, more meaningful perspective. The insights you gain will allow you to more readily see solutions to most of your thorniest problems, make your personal relationships more meaningful and truly allow you to create A Place of Hospitality that will draw patrons like a magnet.

The Foundation Program will help you create and sustain an organization that functions effortlessly and requires less of your personal time; one that also enjoys high staff morale, low turnover, increased productivity and a genuine sense of guest service.

We will explore the true spiritual nature of human beings -- before the fact of philosophy, religion, or psychology. We certainly will not present any dogma, religious, psychological or otherwise -- but people who have attended such programs often say that they had always wanted to learn more about their spiritual nature and how to integrate that depth of feeling into their businesses.

The Foundation Program is designed to help you gain a fresh perspective on the human side of the hospitality equation. It introduces principles that will allow you to eliminate chronic stress and create a closer connection with the others in your life. It helps you understand what makes people tick in a way that lets you quickly see to the heart of every interpersonal issue you face.

In other words, this is the foundation of understanding that will set you apart from the competition and allow you to truly become A Place of Hospitality.

How Does The Program Work?
The Foundation Program is very different from anything you ever attended before in that it does not teach content. You will learn about how A Place of Hospitality works, of course, but the primary purpose of the Hospitality Foundation Program is to introduce Principles that will lead you to individual insights -- those "Aha" moments that result in lasting personal change.

Leaders are always looking for ways to increase employee productivity and the quality of the guest experience. Most have tried approaches like motivational speakers, behavior modification, team-building, rewards/consequences, and values training. Techniques like these may produce minor changes, but the results are short-lived.

This leaves leaders still searching for the illusive "silver bullet" that will change everything. Those leaders who do see lasting value from some traditional programs do so for reasons that seem puzzling or mysterious. Most would consider this to be mental toughness, mental health or "getting your mind right."

A Simple Shift of Understanding
We call this variable "state of mind" -- the quality of thinking that is available to someone at any given moment. In organizations, we call the collective states of mind the "climate" or the "tone" ... and the climate in an organization always reflects the thinking of the leader.

When you permanently improve your level of performance -- whether from a book, tape, program or personal insight -- it is the result of a shift in your state of mind. When an insight leads to a shift in your state of mind, you immediately have a wiser view of virtually every business situation and personal interaction you encounter. You instinctively know what to do ... and it works.

For example, you may know that trusting your staff will help build better working relationships, but you cannot trust people as a technique. True change takes a shift of perspective, not just an intellectual grasp of the concept. You will trust people naturally when you truly see them as worthy of your trust.

The Hospitality Foundation Program will not load you down with more things to remember. Rather, it is about fundamentally changing the way you see your business, your staff, your relationships ... and ultimately, your life. In fact, you will realize how to accomplish everything you want ... and more ... without the need for any clever management techniques. It is an elegantly simple solution to a previously "unsolvable" problem.

The shift that occurs when the simple power of these notions really hits home for the first time is the most critical element in creating a positive work climate that draws patrons and top workers. The organizational climate determines how long your staff will stay with you, how productive they will be while they are there, what level of hospitality they will deliver, how much (or little) trouble they will be and how much of a magnet you will be for current and future customers.

Our vision is to awaken a realization of how you can make the "feeling" of your restaurant a positive (and profitable) point of difference in the market.

The Spiritual Nature of Hospitality
You may appreciate that hospitality comes from a FEELING you create with your guests, not from the specific actions you take. Because hospitality is generated from a much deeper source within people, it makes perfect sense to approach it from a spiritual rather than an intellectual direction.

It is always a challenge to describe the indescribable, so I asked my colleague, human relations consultant Robert Kausen, how he might explain the approach we take in the Foundation Program. Here is how Robert put it:

Many of the leaders and business owners I have worked with over the years ask, "What is the so-called spiritual nature of human beings and how does that work in business?" The curious often turn to religion, a particular philosophical construction, or even the field of psychology.

In my experience, the best answers to this inquiry do not come from outside yourself, but from probing beyond what you think you already know. The key is to keep an open mind and a curious attitude, allow time for reflection and be receptive to insights and realizations. It is more a process of awakening than of searching.

The Hospitality Foundation Program will guide you to a deeper understanding of three principles that govern how your personal experience is being created by your own thinking. What each attendee will gain from this inside-out learning process will vary, of course, but when people gain additional insight and realize their true nature, we typically see results like these:

  • Virtual elimination of chronic stress and burnout
  • More fun and enjoyment in every part of your life
  • A healthier, warmer organizational climate
  • A more supportive relationship with your staff
  • Improved presence and contact with your guests
  • An understanding of how to lead your staff toward true hospitality

If you think you and your business could benefit from any of these outcomes, if you are intrigued by the idea that there could be possibilities beyond those you can presently imagine, and if you'd like to develop more positive relationships with others, we invite you to be part of the Hospitality Foundation Program.

A Personal Note:
The Hospitality Foundation Program is a recommendation, not a requirement, but most participants come away with an exciting sense that the larger picture we present is suddenly possible. A Place of Hospitality will give you a track to run on and assist you to realize your dreams faster than you ever imagined.

The decision to take this next step will likely require a leap of faith. I can only tell you that I made that leap thirty years ago and it had a profound impact on both my professional effectiveness and my personal well-being. I was honestly able to get results in six months that I would have been thrilled to have accomplished in six years by any standard I ever had ... and I had pretty high standards!

Better yet, I was able to do it working half the hours I had ever put into any previous foodservice job. The staff was happy, the guests were happy and I actually had a life. It seemed too good to be true!

Gaining this understanding has been a life-changing event for many operators. Certainly that is true for me ... and I am grateful every day for the elegantly simple understanding that has guided me in a fresh, more creative and enduring direction in working with people.

The results we describe from this shift of perspective may sound too good to be true, but as futurist Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

When the time comes, I hope you will have the courage to set any considerations aside and discover what lies beyond the realm of your current understanding. This is an important step toward realizing the full promise of A Place of Hospitality ... but it's your business, your life and your decision. Choose bravely.