The Soft Edge | Recommended Reading from | Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success


The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success 

Rich Karlgaard

Soft Edge

I have likely read several hundred business books over the years, and approach each new one carefully.  While I am not in technology and am not drawn usually to books using it as the base, this book offers solid insights for including soft edge values into business culture.

The Soft Edge Values are

  1. Trust
  2. Smarts
  3. Teams
  4. Taste and
  5. Story

The author Rich Karlgaard discusses each in some detail, offering specific examples from different types of organizations.  These do not seem to be business school case studies, but real world, understandable stories.

When the news continues to dwell on the banking  and government abuses (including technology short cuts, legal or otherwise), this book about something other than hard data is refreshing.

Much of what is  published in the business press the last 10 years tends to  praise the “hard line edge” of business, even though so many of the staff in those companies are chewed up.  This book instead offers   observations and awareness about building trust and loyalty in business.  It offers solid examples and  case studies that reveal insights that came primarily from not start-ups that may or may not last, but from proven successes  that demanded  refinement, good judgment, and consideration to others.

Highly Recommended!


John J. Hogan   CHA CHMS CHE CHO

Hospitality Educators                 Hogan Hospitality



Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John J. Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan MBA CHO are the co-founders of, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283, John Hogan 602-799-5375 or

Workshops Available: 

 Lessons From the Field:   A Common Sense Approach to Effective Hotel Sales 

A to Z Steps to Profits

45 Proven Ways to Succeed in Hospitality in Any Economy

Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed – Anytime, Anywhere 

10 Hotel Mistakes to Avoid in Selling 


Management by Walking (or Wandering) Around” has been the focus of my last two messages and at the end of each I issued a challengeto every manager who is responsible for 5 or more people:  measure your in and out of the office time and at the end of the week, see how much time you spent ACTIVELY INTERACTING with your team.

I suggested the goal should be 70% of the time out of the office and asked managers to privately evaluate how they did and what they would do the following week. Reader feedback strongly endorsed the 7 practical steps on improving their staff interaction listed in the last article, yet I had an internal pesky feeling I had missed one observation.  This morning, I realized what it was relating to MBWA and everything that managers do – it was the need for “time out.”

Each one of us probably remembers on our own or possibly with our children times when we or others become over-stimulated and edgy.  The potential to say inappropriate things or to over-extend becomes very real.  I recall working for a major international company and was at the grocery with my bride shopping on a Sunday.  She realized she had gone a row ahead of me and turned around to see me doing what many of us have fallen prey to becoming: CRACKBERRIES.  Despite my working 10+ hours daily, on this my day off, I found myself feeling “obligated” to answer emails and “keep in touch.”

I believe the goal of 70% out of the office is a valid one with considerable merit and value for all parties. In order to MBWA, the manager must delegate some tasks and responsibilities to others.

In addition to giving others a chance to grow, this delegation also gives the manager a “time-out” to develop other thought patterns and options.

Here are some ways a manager might utilize their TIME OUT to develop those other thought patterns, while maintaining the commitment to MBWA.

  1. Set certain rules on the use of your I-phone and Blackberry or Smart-Phone. Give your mind a breather.
  2. Set aside time each day for short meditation breaks.
  3. Take the team once in awhile to an afternoon ball game or activity where there can be discussion on things in addition to business. These are solid team building events.
  4. Embrace the positive side of travel. We are in the hospitality business and taking a vacation helps us get into a relaxed mind-set where we are not so inclined to respond to emails and calls.
  5. Find or expand a non-business related hobby as a distraction and a mental refreshing exercise.

I attended a program earlier this year that included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a keynote speaker.  The messages included the expected references to 911, his sincere pride of New Yorkers and the police/fire departments, as well as his political past and future aspirations.  He made one unexpected appeal to the large crowd in attendance. He urged every participant to challenge their thinking, embrace rather than fear technology, and to read two books weekly. He said his growth and ongoing education came from reading two books per week – one that was for personal enjoyment on whatever hit his fancy at the time and the other was for personal learning and development on a topic he was not an authority on. His point on this need for balance made sense to me and triggered my recognition of a manager’s time out as an opportunity to attain that balance in the workplace.

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the WeekFocus on Personal Development

This week, change your schedule to include one new activity of your choice that will assist in your personal development. (This will likely also help your professional growth).  Track your progress over the next four weeks and measure what positive changes you can observe.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.