Differentiation Discipline Execution Helping others Mindset

How to make a difference above and beyond.

Exceptional service that goes above and beyond is a matter of connecting all the dots.

The hospitality industry has always fascinated me.

I guess it has to do with my curious mind, love for discovery and travel, and passion for making a difference in people’s lives.

When you work in hospitality, you need to have a feel for the fact that your customers are looking for a good experience while being away from their zone of comfort.

Here are a few cases.

I need to travel for business to an unknown country, have limited time, and need to know everything runs smoothly.

Or, I’ve booked this dream destination far away from home, where I hope to find rest and relaxation from a busy job at home.

Expectations are up. Unfamiliar environment. Anticipation and apprehension.

Good providers of hospitality understand this.

They understand the needs of the travelers coming into their space and are prepared to fulfill them.

Or even exceed them. 

That’s what above and beyond means.

People who understand, observe, see, and do above and beyond are hard to find.

You can train some of it through carefully laid out manuals, but if it’s outside your DNA, consistently maintaining an ‘above and beyond’ level is hard.

You either have it in your DNA, or you don’t. 

So ideally, you look for people with that serving attitude in their DNA. Who need a simple cue and know what to do. Or they figure it out themselves.

Unfortunately, those exceptional people are extremely hard to find.

So you will have to invest in building proper processes and training. And then you have to commit to doing it over and over again.

Otherwise, it slips. Especially with those who don’t have it naturally.

Exceptional service that goes above and beyond is a matter of connecting all the dots.

You need a compelling vision and a clear purpose.

You need an aligned and differentiating strategy.

You need values translated into concrete behavioral expectations and ensure those expectations are communicated, understood, and lived by.

You need simple to understand processes.

You need to be willing to pay attention to every detail.

You need A people hiring A people (compared to B people hiring C people).

You need great data analytics (science) and intuition (art).

You need to connect all those dots and be willing to keep connecting them daily.

That’s how you create a culture where people go above and beyond, and customers say Wow!

Let me give you one example of a little Wow I experienced during our vacation.

On a few occasions, we asked a staff member to take a picture of us. 

The first time I noticed that before they took the picture, they grabbed the sleeve of their shirt and cleaned the phone camera’s lens.

Then I noticed it again and again.

Not a coincidence.

It’s a tiny detail that can have a big difference in the quality of the photo, and they were paying attention to that detail.

Those details are what separate the extraordinary from the ordinary.

The mainstream players from the champions league players.

The winners, if you will, from the losers.

Your turn: Above and Beyond?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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