Anyone who knows AMSG CEO Jim O’Farrell knows that he is a voracious reader and looks for leadership inspiration in a variety of places. Several months ago, we introduced The Learning Leader where Jim shares books, podcasts, or other thought-provoking media to develop leadership styles.

Will Guidara, author of the national bestseller Unreasonable Hospitality – The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect, is a three-time James Beard Award winner, and the former co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, which received four stars from The New York Times, three Michelin stars, and under his leadership was named number one on the list of the world’s top 50 restaurants.

Here’s what Jim had to say about Guidara’s words:

I found Guidara’s words to be profound: “When you go to a restaurant, your server has the most influence over whether you have a good meal or not. And yet, in almost every restaurant, that person is just serving you plates of food that someone else created. If you double down on hospitality, you’re giving that person agency empowerment.” 

This mindset led to the creation of the Dreamweaver: staff members at Guidara’s restaurant responsible for implementing ideas from the frontline workers to make every customer’s experience unforgettable. “The Dreamweavers are there to execute the ideas of those on the frontline and make the ideas better,” said Guidara. And though anyone from busboys to food runners can come up with this idea, the Dreamweaver “is there to help everyone else in the team bring their ideas to life.”  

You might ask how this might relate to AMSG, or to another business or government organization. I believe that if we treat our Team Members with Unreasonable Hospitality, they will, in turn, treat our customers the same way. Not too long ago after taking over as AMSG’s CEO, I created the Employee Engagement Team, or EET. The EET’s mission is to serve as AMSG’s Dreamweavers. They bring joy to AMSGers from coast to coast, to help celebrate a special occasion — professional or personal. They provide comfort, whether with a gift basket, soup, or handwritten card, in times of difficulty. Last December, to bring a touch of joy to the homes of our AMSGers, the EET sent a personalized teddy bear from the Vermont Bear Company to each AMSGer to remind them that we love them and they are the “woobies” our customers don’t want to give up!

One of my biggest takeaways from Unreasonable Hospitalitywas what Guidera had to say under the topic, ““It Might Not Work” is a Terrible Reason Not to Try.” In this section of the book, Guidara makes the point, “Often, the perfect moment to give someone more responsibility is before they’re ready.”

Inspiration can strike anywhere. We’d love to hear what you’re reading or listening to that inspires you to grow and develop!

Check out Unreasonable Hospitality and stay tuned for Jim’s next recommendation.