Bozzuto—an established, Maryland-based real estate company—makes decisions guided by the notion of building a sanctuary for future tenants rather than just shelter. By definition, a sanctuary is a place of safety and refuge. Apartments in today’s market are no longer just spaces to sleep and store belongings. Instead, these spaces offer a place to create a home and participate in activities in the community outside the front door.
Toby Bozzuto, president and CEO, shared how his team makes construction, development, and design decisions that result in the creation of spaces intended to be sanctuaries. The sanctuary experience is not finished during construction—the customer experience also considers the greeting received at the front door, social gathering areas larger than the living room, and the process of receiving packages. Each helps transform many recent Bozzuto development projects from shelters to sanctuaries.
Emphasizing sanctuary over shelter is facilitated by another value Toby Bozzuto looks for in his workforce: kindness. The importance of this value was passed down from his father, founder, Thomas Bozzuto. Kindness cannot be trained; therefore, Bozzuto places a high value on hiring employees who care about customers and company training focuses on skills. All employees are expected to contribute to the sanctuary experience through acts of kindness.
Bozzuto is not the only company that makes the customer experience a key to success. Bill Taylor, author of Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, shares in a Harvard Business Review article, Making Kindness a Core Tenet of Your Company, how Mercedes Benz and Cannon have implemented kindness as a central value driving their business’s customer experience.
Company culture is critically important for an organization’s mission, values, engagement, and employee alignment. As business leaders, expressing a clear message of what matters to the organization is key to team alignment. At Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, we take pride in cultivating students who practice business with humanity in mind growing to ask reflective questions like “what do I value?” and “how can I create sanctuary (or its equivalent) in my next role?”
Consider some of the following questions as you reflect on your next step:
- What do you value in company culture?
- What do you value on a team?
- How does each of these contribute to the larger purpose of the organization that you are considering becoming a part of?