Castaway to Islands of Insight

By | January 4, 2016

Castaway Island, Fiji

An island paradise gently positioned in the Pacific Ocean, a resort consistently voted, by tourists, as one of the best islands in Fiji.

I have visited Fiji numerous times, and Castaway is definitely one of my family’s favorite. And when you break down what works for Castaway, there are three key themes – which will resonate and can be replicated across all organisations.

1. Purpose and Vision of the Individual

Each person on the resort is clear on who they are as a person, what their values are and why they work for Castaway Resort. The strong self-identification is apparent in the way they behave and engage with their guests. You may have often heard the term “Fiji time”. This is more than just a desire to live in the slow lane of life – this is a desire to live life – to laugh and love, to celebrate via music, song, dance and stories, and to enjoy every moment you are blessed with. It is with this purpose, that they approach life and how they engage at work and home.

2. Organisational Association

From the history of Castaway Island (the original name is Qalito), to the best places to snorkel and take photos on a bushwalk, to the flora and fauna, the team have a deep understanding and enthusiastic willingness to share their stories. The “Fiji time” culture is deeply engrained in each person’s approach to life, and it is clear that the resorts which allow the Fijians to bring this love for life to the workplace, are the resorts where the teams – and consequently the resorts – will flourish most.

We also stayed at another resort after Castaway. You can read my review on Trip Advisor. But needless to say, the management approach and organisational philosophy was not supportive of the Fijian personal values and life purpose. And with this disconnect, and lack of general leadership and management, the resort was more an Island nightmare than paradise. Synergy between personal values and purpose and the organisational mission is critical.

3. A love of their customer

My son’s name is Roman. He is handsome, shy and quiet. The lovely Katrina, or Kitty Kat as she prefers to be known, who serves guests at the pool restaurant,  immediately took a shine to my beautiful little man. Introducing Roman to Kitty Kat, she looked at him, assessed him and then her face lit up. Roman my Romeo, I will call you Romeo from this moment on. And so she did. Then to the cook, who knew, after day 2, that I hate cheese on my omelette, and the more chilli the better. Peter, our waiter, quickly worked out that a pot of coffee on our table would ensure my ability to talk and smile.

And I will admit, as I experienced the personalised customer engagement, I coyly smiled. All this was done, not through technology, but from the most foundational level of customer service. A desire to know your customer. Now on a mass scale of course, you need the augmentation of data and analytics solutions, however for all organisations, the base level is the same…… Does your team know, and love your client?

The island experience for me reinforced the basic ingredients to a successful organisation

i. A team of people who have purpose and understand their value and their values

ii. An organisation which has a clear mission and a team who align to these values

iii. An organisation and team who truly love their client

When it all comes together you have organisational magic and a client experience that will always be remembered.

I leave you with this magical moment on Castaway – A chorus of Fijian angels carolling in front of our bure on Christmas morning.

Castaway Island Christmas Angels