Scott Russell Shares His Leadership Secrets on How to Be A “Brilliant Boss”
Scott Russell, winner of the “Brilliant Boss” award by Simon T. Bailey, spent 18 years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company most recently as Vice-President of Global Sales, North America, was the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida and also served as strategic counsel for the Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn. His new ventures with Dynamic Sales Solutions and Russell & Russell Consulting have allowed him to provide his unique touch to many more luxury hotel organizations and lifestyle hospitality clients.
You’ve won many awards for leadership in the industry. What makes for a great leader in hospitality?
The most important aspect of being a great leader is always putting yourself in the shoes of those you are leading. You need to be able to see things from their point of view and if you would not want to be led in that fashion then neither will they. Being a great listener, someone willing to take chances and having an air of confidence and not arrogance are all traits of great leaders. You can’t learn how to be a leader from a class but you can from your internal compass.
What is your advice for hotels who want to attract high end clientele?
High end clientele require a great deal of touch points and sales people need to know that relationships need to be built on trust. I love that if you look at the words Client and Customer you will find the words “I” and “Us” inside of them, which reminds me that a great relationship built on trust requires two parties…the customer and the salesperson. It is not a one way street.
How has becoming an independent consultant changed your career?
Deciding to be a consultant has changed me for the better and has been such a blessing in a number of ways. I am able to share my learnings in an environment that is totally built on trust. I feel the communication is non-threatening and allows for great conversations to happen on both ends. I always say if I don’t have knowledge or ideas to share with my clients then I have no value to offer. I recently formed a sales training company with a great friend and partner, Kate Harth. This is truly were my passion comes out. To be able to impart learning in an environment that is relevant, creative and real inspires me every day.
What recent trends have you seen in the industry?
This year we are realizing that even with all of the technological advances, our customers and guests still want face to face personalized service. While we will always want to provide the ease of the newest technical advances, we can’t forget why the customer has chosen to do business with us. I also feel that “lifestyle” in branding will become more about how the customer defines it than how the brand defines it.