Ex-Marriott president cites importance of trust in business

Updated: 2014-10-21 14:18

By Liu Zhihua(chinadaily.com.cn)

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US resident Edwin Fuller is president and CEO of the Orange County Visitors Association, an organization that helps Orange County, California, promote its tourism offerings to the world.

But he is better known to the business world as the former president and managing director of Marriott International, a Fortune 500 company. During his recent trip to Beijing, he had interviews with Chinese media to promote his book about his career life and business practices with Marriott, and how he led a small team to help Marriott become a leading global hotel chain.

Under Fuller, Marriott expanded its overseas business from 16 hotels in six countries, grossing $325 million, to nearly 400 properties across 70 countries with $7 billion in revenues.

The book, You Can’t Lead with Your Feet on the Desk, was first published in the United States by John Wiley & Sons in 2011, and two weeks ago, Beijing United Publishing Co published the Chinese version, following the Japanese version in August 2012.

It delivers a clear message to readers: The ability to establish and nurture high-quality personal relationships is built on mutual respect, and trust is essential for business success.

To illustrate this message, Fuller starts with a statement that instead of staying at the office, he traveled during his nearly 40-year history at Marriott — he has accomplished what George Clooney failed to do in the movie Up in the Air and had his name engraved on a Boeing 747, because of his 16-million-plus air-travel miles, Fuller writes.

He then uses an array of colorful personal anecdotes during his career at Marriott, and earlier as a captain in the US army, to explain the importance of personal relationship in business and to demonstrate how to build trust and relationships.

Most of the stories Fuller shared are from his personal experience, and some are about other business leaders he knows. Fuller has received many e-mails from readers since the book was first published.

He says he hopes the Chinese version will help Chinese entrepreneurs and business leaders, especially at a time when many Chinese enterprises start to operate overseas business.