Gary Eskin

 The Concierge Culture 

I was taking a creative writing course in college. I was having a challenge with an assignment, so I scheduled an appointment with my professor on how to get started. She said, simply, just start writing.  

“What? That’s it?” I exclaimed. “That doesn’t help!” 

“Gary,” she said in a soft motherly voice, “I know. Write what comes to your head even if it does not make any sense. Just write. Do you understand?” 

“I guess I do. But what if I have too much to say?” 

“Write it all down and then you’ll figure out what’s important. You’ll work from there.” 

The challenge I have in writing this is where do I cut. What is less important than something else? So, instead of telling you all the good stuff I’m going to tell you how I feel. 

I was introduced to Russell and one of his companies about 35 years ago while I was doing Dale Carnegie Training. He sent many people through those programs. I once asked him why are you spending all this money even on marginal people? It was the right answer although I wouldn’t really know it for a few years. He said, “My product and service are only as good as my people. No matter how little they may improve, they’re still better than they were yesterday.” 

We lost touch for several years but saw each other at an event and thought it was a good idea to get together. We met for breakfast about 10 years ago and what a trip it has been. 

When I was reintroduced, much of the company had changed. Even the nature of the business had changed. None the less the welcome was warm, which is not always the case for a “consultant/trainer.” 

I had an opportunity to meet everyone through a variety of internal projects. I thought what a great group of people. I was beginning to feel the concierge culture that they were beginning to create. I thought, what could be wrong? What am I doing here? 

Well, some things are never as good as it seems. There were mistakes, staff turnover, communication issues, process issues and anything else A GOOD GROWING company will experience. And if you are really good, you learn from it and get better. 

So, what did we have to do to keep on getting better? We developed, codified, and reinforced our culture. We developed internal processes that help us Build Better Lives for our Team, our Clients, and our Community. We became a learning organization where employees embrace learning and seek more of it because they understand that if they are better then so the products and services we deliver. The cycle of excellence keeps rising because we get better all the time. 

I can write so much more. My professor was wrong. I just can’t whittle it down! 

If you noticed, I was using the pronouns ‘we and us’. From the beginning I never felt like I was an outsider. I felt every bit a part of this company and although semi-retired, I still do, and so will you when you work with PBS! 

Gary’s retirement dinner