Choice Speakers Detail Keys to Transformation

Agility was mentioned more than a few times during the opening day of i4cp’s 2013 Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Take yesterday morning’s session featuring Choice Hotels’ CEO Steve Joyce and CHRO Patrick Cimerola. (For fans of the TV show Undercover Boss, you may remember Joyce from the 2010 segment, in which he worked up a sweat changing bed sheets, and cleaning toilets and swimming pools.)

dv560031Joyce, who joined Choice five years ago just as the economy was about to tank, has led Choice’s transition into the “distribution” business. (Choice claims to be the first hotel chain to launch an iPhone app.)

“Change happens very fast,” Cimerola explained, “so we have to be agile” and “move quickly” as an organization. In light of that, hiring people who have that ability is a top priority at the company, a franchiser with more than 6,200 hotels around the globe.

At Choice, Cimerola said, everyone, from the top on down, is responsible for finding great talent.

“We hire people with a purpose,” he said. If employees are standing by the elevator at five o’clock, he explained, “I would tell them to get out of the way.”

Cimerola added that leaders at Choice are assessed for and held accountable for the people they hire.

Besides agility, Cimerola said the company also looks for people who embody two other core competencies: collaboration and accountability.

In speaking to potential talent, Joyce pointed out that management emphasizes the “kind of impact that they can have.”

This especially resonates with IT professionals, who are key to the company’s transformation into a distribution business, Joyce said. Those in IT want to work at a company with an eye to the future; a company doing “exciting things,” he said.

Among other things, Choice’s growth roadmap includes significant expansion into Europe, where it has already made some inroads.