Case 2: Building Capabilities at the Westward Hilton

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CASE 2: Building Capabilities at the Westward Hilton


This case describes the efforts of Hiller Hotels to turnaround the operating performance of the Westward Hilton, a hotel they purchased out of bankruptcy when the previous owner was forced to sell the property. The general manager charged with the turnaround, Peter Green, began by developing a clear strategy and then innovatively devising human resource activities to implement his vision. Peter Green is now the executive vice president of operations and oversees the dozen-plus mid- and upscale hotels, owned and operated by the hotel subsidiary of the parent firm, Hiller Enterprises. Before Green and the other corporate officers is a business decision to sell the Westward Hilton. As Green wrestles with this opportunity he worries about the impact of the decision on the hotel staff of Westward, and wonders how this decision might alter the culture and employee morale of the entire hotel group.

In the seven years Hiller Hotels has owned and operated the Westward Hilton, it has become a high performer with outstanding employee loyalty and commitment. The hotel itself is a physically undistinguished property that has been transformed from an under performer into the top performing midscale hotel in the Phoenix market. The vision of Peter Green embodied in the values and beliefs of the people were developed, espoused, and lived, first at the Westward Hilton, and later spread to the rest of the organization. Hiller’s vision, “making people’s lives better through business” was crafted by Green and transformed the Westward Hilton into an exciting, fun, familial work environment that engendered employee commitment to the organization and its vision. A total of five General Managers came and went from the Westward Hilton after Green moved into his corporate position, but the vision and high performance remained in place. After briefly describing the company background, the case traces Peter...
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