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You Can't Lead With Your Feet On the Desk: Building Relationships, Breaking Down Barriers, and Delivering Profits

ISBN: 978-0-470-87961-0
208 pages
March 2011
You Can


"You can't lead with your feet on the desk . . . or your brain on hold. Ed Fuller brings experience, intelligence, and heart to this inspiring guide to building relationships and the good things that follow when you do. The message is delivered in an engaging style that keeps you entertained and leaves you with lasting wisdom."
MICHAEL V. DRAKE, MD, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine

"The world of tourism, hospitality, and hotels has become a very global, complex, and diverse industry. No one knows this better than Ed Fuller. In this thoughtfully written text, Ed is speaking to business students, managers, and executives of all industries through his rich experience in the global hotel industry. We have found many great examples within these pages of how we can conduct business better, and I would suggest that they are not only relevant in the United States but throughout the world."
ANDREW H. FEINSTEIN, James A. Collins Distinguished Chair and Dean, The Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona

"The World Travel & Tourism Council services six continents. Ed's book will empower you to apply many of the principles that we employ globally, whether it's in Denver, Dubai, or Düsseldorf. These principles will give you a competitive edge in your markets immediately."
JEAN-CLAUDE BAUMGARTEN, President, World Travel & Tourism Council

"Ed Fuller's generous layers of personal experiences and his crisp narrative make his stern message easy to understand. Take my advice, read his book before you take another plane on a foreign business trip. It will change the way you behave."
GEOFFREY KENT, founder and Executive Chairman, Abercrombie & Kent

"Let me tell you what Ed's book isn't: it's not a primer on how to shake hands or fold your napkin in another country. It's an incredibly rich insight into leadership through well-earned personal relationships and experiences that American business executives need to embrace to succeed in the global economy."
ROGER DOW, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association

"Ed's book gives the student, manager, and executive practical experience in dealing with unique situations, new relationships, and creative problem-solving approaches that are broadly applicable in the business world, no matter where you live or whom you deal with. The insights will prove valuable to your personal growth."
ANDY POLICANO, Dean, The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine

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Table of Contents

Foreword J.W.MARRIOTT vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 Ditch the Desk 1

2 The Value of Values 23

3 To Respect Is to Inspire 43

4 Trust Must Be Earned 67

5 Learn to Communicate 95

6 Lead from the Front 117

7 The Past Lives On 137

8 Cultivate Your Connections 159

Afterword 183

About the Author 187

Index 191

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Author Information

ED FULLER, President and Managing Director of the International Lodging Division of Marriott International, Inc., has flown more than 10 million miles, solidifying business relationships around the world. Over the past two decades, he has grown Marriott's international lodging portfolio from sixteen hotels in six countries to 400 properties in seventy countries with revenues in excess of $7 billion.
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Press Release

February 09, 2011
Author, Ed Fuller of Marriott International Travels to Middle East in Chaos

Ed Fuller, President and Managing Director for Marriott International’s lodging division and  author of the upcoming book, "You Can't Lead with Your Feet on the Desk," was at a corporate meeting at Marriott International Inc.'s Washington, D.C. headquarters on January 31, 2011 when events in Egypt took a turn for the worst.

Ed Fuller quickly decided to turn his beliefs about leadership into practice. Fuller flew from Washington to his home in Orange County, California to repack for the Middle East. Fuller stated in a recent interview with the Honolulu Star Advertiser, "None of the seven hotels that Marriott manages in Egypt have been damaged, and none of the guests or employees have been seriously injured." You can read the full article here. In his interview, Ed Fuller comments from Cairo - "I have always believed in the philosophy that you lead by example. If our hotels are involved, I believe I have to be there to support our people." 

Dealing with employees, partners, suppliers and customers especially from other cultures calls for considerable sensitivity; customs and practices must be acknowledged and respected. Yet the real secret to managing in any culture is much simpler - it all revolves around the integrity of the personal relationships being forged.

Personal relationships are the real bedrock of long-term success in any business and any industry. But in today's global economy, forging bonds across cultural divides requires a heightened level of sensitivity. In YOU CAN’T LEAD WITH YOUR FEET ON YOUR DESK (Wiley; 9780470879610; March 2011; Hardcover; $29.95), author Ed Fuller, leader of Marriott International Lodging, delivers real-world advice on how to connect, manage, and do business with people in any culture.

Fuller grew Marriott's international business from sixteen hotels in six countries, grossing $325 million to 400 properties across seventy countries  with revenues of nearly $7 billion. Fuller explains how he built Marriott's global arm into one of the world's largest international hotel chains and provides real-life lessons for managers in any cross-cultural situation.

Gleaned from real-life anecdotes over his 37 year history in corporate America, Ed Fuller explains how to navigate cultural nuances and language differences, unfamiliar geography, and frustrating bureaucracy. Building trust, shared values, and commitment to a business partnership is harder in cross-cultural situations, but it can and must be done to be successful in today's world.

No matter the country or community, relationships are the currency of every culture. Fuller explains how to build these relationships, how to discover the other person's interests and needs across cultural borders and why making the effort to meet the other person in the context in which they're most comfortable pays big dividends. Fuller prepares readers for this journey with the following principles for avoiding missteps and for creating lasting connections crucial to every business leader:

  • Build relationships through mutual respect
  • Earn trust quickly by delivering during a crisis
  • Understand how verbal and nonverbal cues can make or break a deal
  • Lead from the front and be willing to give yourself the tough jobs
  • Learn the local customs and history in order to create positive relationships

Ed Fuller knows what it takes to form cultural ties.  YOU CAN’T LEAD WITH YOUR FEET ON YOUR DESK gives readers the information they need to build a cross cultural competitive advantage.   

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