Omotenashi

One of my responsibilities at The Oak House is to establish a handbook for how to run the place in my absence.  Now, granted, that plane is getting built as we jump off the cliff, but I put a lot of thought into what traits and principles I want our coworkers to personify.  I ran across two during my morning reading time today which will definitely make it into the handbook.  They are Japanese hospitality principles I feel will translate well into what we are doing and the values The Oak House has set forth.  They are “omotenashi” and “ichigo ichie”.

Omotenashi has no English translation; however the word can be broken down into two roots.  “Omote” means public face – an image you wish to present to outsiders. “Nashi” means nothing. Combining them means every service is from the bottom of the heart – honest, no hiding, no pretending.  The broader meaning is to expect what the customer will want and meet it before they even realize it would be missed.  It is truly being the best host you can be.  Serving wholeheartedly.

Ichigo ichie literally means “one time, one meeting”. We should take every encounter as the only one in the lifetime. We should approach every interaction with every single person as if it is out only chance to make an impact on that person.  We should assume we will never see them again.  That thought should guide our interactions with them.  Kind of like always kissing your spouse before you leave for work because you never know if you will come home (sorry…holdover from an earlier career).

These two principles will be finding their way into job descriptions and operating procedures for The Oak House .  They make my hear smile and I can’t think of a single time when acting with these principles at the forefront of your mind would be inappropriate.

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