As leaders, it is important to have a solid foundation within your team. A powerful way to build trust with your team is by using the FORD method.

The FORD method is a simple yet effective technique that you can use to have good conversations. FORD stands for family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. With this framework as a guide, you can improve employee engagement and overall team and business performance while also building team trust.

Here are some takeaways and highly recommended books on the FORD method.

Celebrity Cruises’ Vision: The World at Your Service

Celebrity Cruises, a client of The DiJulius Group, shares its service vision statementThe World At Your Service.”

Given that philosophy, it is no surprise that they have been selected as the “Best Premium Cruise Line.” Celebrity understands that the employees must experience world-class service on the inside first, on the individual level, long before it can ever be experienced on the outside.

Jonathan Meyer, manager of customer experience, explains Celebrity’s commitment. “During a Celebrity internal culture workshop, our leadership team was asked point blank: ‘How well do you really know your team?’ The overwhelming answer was ‘Very well’ since they had years of shared work experience.

Those in senior management roles were sure they had excellent relationships with the employees working under them. But when asked to list the details of FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) for these employees, they got stuck on the fourth category. None of them could describe their direct reports’ desires for the future.

*Related – Meet as Strangers Leave as Friends

Your Customers Will Never Be Any Happier Than Your Employees

Unnamed 4, The DiJulius Group“To really get to know a person on a deeper level by learning their hopes, dreams, and aspirations—this elevated level of trust is what we are all aiming for. When trust within our team reaches this point, that’s really when the magic happens,” Meyer adds.

He knows that for a company to be successful it must have a high level of trust at its core and conversely, that the price for a low trust level is far too high. To improve relationships across the board and build trust between management and individual teams, as well as within teams, Celebrity introduced the FORD method. Titles and positions were irrelevant; it didn’t matter if one’s job description included higher level, complex tasks, or tasks that were more general. This was truly a company-wide initiative, from the VPs in the head office to the Celebrity cleaning crews aboard all the ships and every employee in between.

Each Celebrity employee becomes certified in the company’s service philosophy and FORD was added to enhance Celebrity’s web-based training program. The method also became an important element of their leadership team’s one-on-ones, employee check-ins, and quarterly review sessions. It encouraged active listening and was found to be an essential tool for both discovering common ground and formulating common goals for improved customer service experience. This genuine relationship builder became a key element of transformational leadership in the company.

Meyer concludes, “We are confident that by focusing on our internal culture, elevating the trust within our teams, and making a true commitment to service excellence we will continue yielding positive results in guest ratings, revenue, and employee satisfaction.”

Improve All Aspects of Your Career by Becoming a Line Raiser

In his book Raise Your Line, author Robert Stevenson shares step-by-step how to improve your business performance and leadership skills, and ultimately, reach your career goals. He gives countless practical and thought-provoking insights on how to set consistent goals and succeed in today’s highly competitive business environment.

Stevenson emphasizes points that are vitally important to success, placing them in boxes entitled “LINE RAISER”. In fact, the book contains over 100 of them! Not only does he cover the what and the why, identifying the things readers should work on improving, but he also clearly explains how to do so.

*RelatedWords Customers Don’t Want to Hear article By Robert Stevenson


86% of consumers who have a great experience are very likely to repurchase from the same company. Engaged and satisfied customers buy 50% more frequently, spend 200% more each year, and are five times more likely to display brand loyalty.

  1. A superior customer experience is expected by consumers today. Would you like to guarantee that in your business?
  2. Does your management team know where to start when designing, leading and managing the customer’s experience?
  3. What if there was a program that could teach you how to go from your current state of service, to world-class?
  4. And what if this program was set up so your leaders could learn from their own workspaces, then implement the strategy together? Are you ready to become a world-class service organization?
About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.