Clarion Hotel Sign

Stockholm's largest and most passionate hotel

Introduced structure without losing passion and became "best in class"

Clarion Hotel Sign

Henrik got to know FranklinCovey and The Seven Habits during his time at Scandic and is himself certified to teach in the leadership program. It became natural to use The Seven Habits to support the change he wanted to make within Clarion Sign.

The Challenge

When Henrik Berghult took over responsibility for Stockholm’s largest hotel, Clarion Hotel Sign, a year and a half ago, all figures pointed in the wrong direction.

– In the hotel industry, we rank everything, says Henrik. We can compare number of customer calls, sales per hour worked, guest satisfaction and much more. Everything can be measured and compared between the hotels. Clarion Sign was at the bottom of all rankings. The last few years had been about avoiding last place.

Henrik Berghult has extensive experience of leading hotel operations from various hotel chains and since 2013 Petter Stordalen-owned Nordic Choice Hotels where Clarion is included. There are challenges, of course, but what distinguishes the Choice Group from the others is that neither entrepreneurship nor passion is lacking here. This is something most other hotel chains and many large companies struggle hard with every day to create.

– When others talk about profit margins and risk, we talk about opportunities. Here everyone can try their ideas, if it goes wrong we just change back. For example, we have a podcast recording studio here at the hotel that came to be that way. We have an enormously strong corporate culture.

When the hotel recruits, they look for people who are curious, fast and must be prepared to take responsibility.

– What we lacked was structure. I decided to bring structure to the business without losing any of the commercial pressure and passion that is so natural in the corporate culture.

The Solution

Henrik got to know FranklinCovey and The Seven Habits during his time at Scandic and is himself certified to teach in the leadership program. It became natural to use The Seven Habits to support the change he wanted to make within Clarion Sign.

– We chose to collaborate with FranklinCovey to create a unified view of leadership. Good cultures are consciously created by committed employees, have clear structures and a common language. We have got all this in place by establishing a “mindset” based on The Seven Habits.

Today, all managers at the hotel are trained and the next step is underway, which is to train everyone with the role of supervisors.

Change management permeates Henrik’s career and his personal experience is that four aspects are particularly important for success:

  • Clarity about where we are going.
  • Everyone must choose to make a change.
  • Paint an inspiring and motivating picture of the future that is more attractive than the current situation.
  • Always celebrate the small victories on the way to the big goal.

– I sometimes make the parable of rowing. As long as everyone is sitting in the boat and rowing, we move forward. But if someone were to jump in and just ride by holding on to the railing, it would be extremely heavy for the others. It is important not to have too much patience with the person who chooses not to row.

The result

The seven habits can not explain everything, but Henrik believes that the program has clearly contributed to the great improvement in results that Clarion Sign has made under his leadership. Today, the hotel is the Group’s most profitable and most sustainable. Employee satisfaction has increased by an incredible 237.5 percent.

– I am extremely proud that the employees are so much more satisfied. It has been a painful journey but the result comes when you invest in the people. Now we have structure and passion and I would say that The Seven Habits explains 20 percent of the hotel’s improved results.

Henrik believes that there is a clear connection betweenThe Seven Habits and employee satisfaction, guest satisfaction and sales. And that the business as a result of the three factors has an increased profitability.

– Today we climb all of Clarion’s ranking lists and top most of them . We can rightly call ourselves Stockholm’s leading and most passionate hotel.