Facebook Twitter



Most family businesses do not survive the second generation of management, but the Marriott Corp. has succeeded because J. Willard Marriott's family has followed the philosophy he set years ago, his son says.

J. Willard Marriott believed that the most important elements to his personal success were being born right, marrying right and having good habits, said Richard E. Marriott in a Brigham Young University executive lecture Thursday."Being born of goodly parents and in a good land with freedom to do what you want to do, where hard work and effort earns a reward" is the first element, he said.

Marrying someone who wants to build a strong family - a firm foundation for success - is the second step, he said. "If you are successful in raising a family and taking care of teenage kids, you can do anything. It teaches you the finer points of being a manager. Learning a business is a snap after that."

If a person is backed by a strong family he will be a more successful business person, Marriott said. "Make your wife or husband a partner with you. Let them help you work through problems."

Good habits, the third element, will lengthen a person's life and allow him to work more effectively. "You will be a lot sharper if your body and mind are in good condition."

Integrity and the desire to work hard are habits that also allow a person to succeed, he said.

"My folks did all these things and were successful because of them," Marriott said.

The Marriott business began 62 years ago with an A&W Root Beer stand in Washington, D.C., and has continued to grow into restaurant chains, an in-flight catering service for airlines and a luxury hotel chain.

The corporation is now entering the Eastern Bloc with the opening of its first hotel in Warsaw, Poland. Marriott also has a contract to do in-flight catering for Aeroflot at the Moscow Airport.

When J. Willard Marriott turned the business over to his sons, he left them with a list of business practices to follow. Richard Marriott, vice chairman of the Marriott Corp. board, shared a few points of that list with students Thursday:

-Work hard. "Nobody ever earned a living on 40 hours a week," he said. "You've got to put sweat into it to be successful."

-Be honest. "If you start cheating on them (those you work with), they'll cheat on you. Be absolutely forthright with these people and let them know that integrity is part of the game."

-Take care of your people. "That's the most important asset we have at Marriott. The greatest reward you can give an employee is a pat on the back and to tell him he's doing a good job. Go out of your way to compliment them on the good work they are doing. If you do, they will work harder."

-Stay close to operations. That's the only way to run a good operating company, Marriott said. "You can look at numbers all day in your office, but that does not tell you what is happening."

-Pay attention to details. "You can't expect what you don't inspect. Try to listen to what the customers want. They've got to want it before they will buy it."

The Marriott courtyard concept - building smaller hotels with no ballroom or room service and a smaller restaurant, charging half the rates of a full-service hotel - has been the most successful chain ever created by the company, he said. "It is successful because it was designed by the customer."

-Keep growing. Sharp managers want new opportunities and more responsibility and the best way to keep them is to continue growing internally and through acquisition, he said.

-Stick to your knitting. Do something you know how to do. "That's what we've done by staying in the food service and lodging business."

-Keep a balance in your life. "It's easy to get carried away with business and forget everything else. Take time to be with your spouse and family. Get some balance in your life."

"You've got to be aware of the pressures and how they affect you. In the long run what have you left behind? A company will change. The thing you leave behind is your heritage, family and friends and good name and you want to do it right."

The lecture was sponsored by the BYU Marriott School of Management, named in 1988 after J. Willard Marriott.