Let me preface this piece by saying Jen and I felt it was a big occasion and we wanted to go all out. After all, a fifteenth wedding anniversary is a pretty big milestone. A drop in the bucket compared to my parents who had their 50th this year, but still, it really seemed like something to us. So, going all out for Jen and I meant spending six days in Maui (a place we've never been) in a Four Seasons resort. I've been dying to stay at a Four Seasons resort for some time now as I've heard so much about the experience they create — my expectations were high, to say the least. I was able to find a few imperfections here and there, but they were few and far between so my overall impression of the Four Seasons Maui was very good. They did not disappoint. What's most impressive to me is that they created this fantastic experience through reliable, consistent, hassle-free, and very thorough service.

But I'm not writing this to (solely) brag about our awesome little celebratory holiday. Being at the Four Seasons was very inspiring from a business point of view and I wasn't there very long before I started getting nosy about how they were able to provide such a consistently excellent experience. One of my conclusions was that the Four Seasons works very hard to ensure that their guests have a fantastic overall vacation, not just a great time when they are in the hotel. For example, they worked hard to make sure we were well set up for non-resort things like:

  • transportation to and from the airport;
  • meals and shopping outside the resort; and
  • non-resort activities.

Even in the resort, they do such a fantastic job of anticipating and reacting to things that might get in the way of a good experience. For example:

  • while in the resort, guests are constantly being offered water, sun tan lotion and shade because they know that sunburns and heatstroke don't make for a pleasant vacation;
  • everything you could need poolside is provided including towels, lotion, snacks, a sunglass concierge, and even loaner Kindles for reading and for those who bring their iPads, Kindles or laptops, they have little lockers for when you decide to paddle board or snorkel for a while; and finally
  • when guests are getting in their rental car to head back the airport, long face and all, they don't offer directions to the airport to the driver (they know men don't accept directions), they simply put a nice, clear little printed map in the car along with some water and a small snack bag for the road.

I could go on, but you get the picture. This complete experience (or total solution) approach of Four Seasons is what I'm really excited about Habanero moving towards. With our purpose work last quarter and our structure work this quarter, we are getting clearer about what sort of firm Habanero is going to be. In this way, our purpose work that clarified that we exist to build meaningful relationships and make positive impacts helped us add more colour to our vision and BHAG as well as some of the key strategies and trade-offs we have to make to realize the vision.

Like the Four Seasons, Habanero is not trying to be everything to everyone and we now have a better understanding of how critical the client's overall experience is to us. We will never get to where we need to be by just delivering great solutions or being successful with individual projects — our clients want to experience full engagement from Habanero. On the surface, this might seem the same as the client-centricity move we've been on; however, this is a further and important step of clarification. There are many ways to be client-centric without being focused on the broader, longer term relationship. Our approach to being client-centric will be to build the long-term, total solution relationship with our clients with a focus on creating a continuous series of exceptional, reliable, no-hassle experiences.