“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  

- Benjamin Franklin

Our organization design process is detailed, specific, and really powerful.  

At the end of that rainbow is:

  • powerful clarity for every employee that connects their work to vision and purpose

  • a specific understanding of the result needed from every employee

  • an understanding of the tactical and strategic tasks that will help accomplish that result

  • a performance measurement mechanism for every employee

  • a clear organizational map to the future

  • incontrovertible clarity that makes hiring, firing, and promoting decisions much easier and painless

  • an easy and invigorating template for employee reviews

One of our convictions revealed in this process is that every organization has some form of:

  • Marketing

  • Administration

  • Production

  • Sales

We refer to it as MAPS.  Maybe there aren’t designated people or departments that perform these functions, but for every company, these four key functions need to be operating in order for an organization to be successful.  

Every company we talk to has already identified some aspect of Administration (paperwork, people, and all that other stuff that gets done behind the scenes) and Production (whatever product we produce or service we provide).  Some identify Marketing or Sales, but very few differentiate or categorize the distinct nature of those two key functions.

Many small businesses enjoy a good reputation and survive primarily through referrals and repeat business.  And if you are running a business and not enjoying that, you have a very serious problem.  In the aggressively socially connected world we are operating in, everything is known.

How good you are and how bad you are.

If you are doing things well, people are talking about you. 

If you are doing things poorly, people are talking about you.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your company has a billboard and it is right beside the highway of every person’s life.  What yours is saying and how you cultivate the feeling people have about it is crucially important to your future success.  Believe me, it is not blank.  It is saying something.

Ironically, studies show that “likes” or starred reviews are impacting decision-making in far greater measure than personal referrals are.  They are one of the forms of billboards your company has.  And with 2-3,000 marketing messages bombarding us on a daily basis, just doing a good job is not enough to sustain your business any longer.  You had better be:

  • Marketing - telling others about how what you provide solves people’s problems

  • Selling - converting that goodwill and possibility of impact to actual transactions

Lest you think that this is already too big a pill to swallow, there is something else we are seeing really great companies do to provide a third stabilizing leg to that stool:

  • Marketing

  • Sales

  • Hospitality - caring, listening, and attending to their needs or concerns

Your easiest next transaction should come from the customers you already have, either through repeat business or connecting you to others.  In an electronically socially connected world that is so personally disconnected, there is tremendous opportunity and tremendous risk.

People are quick to emotionally identify with brands, products, or services or to be angry, frustrated, and emotionally disconnected as a result of them.  Not only is Hospitality the essential path you must take to a sustainable and growing business, it is your best opportunity to know your customers in such a way that you can better and change their lives.

That is the higher bar of business purpose that renders all the other purposes relatively meaningless.


  • What are you doing for Marketing and Sales in your business?

  • Have you differentiated the two and know who owns both of those categories?

  • Are you aware of your reputation and how powerfully that is affecting your business success?

  • Are you spending any time on Hospitality: listening to, caring for, and attending to the needs and concerns of your customers?

  • Are you aware of what your “billboard” is saying and are you taking care of your customers in a way that makes sure it is good?