Team-based decision making puts IT department a step ahead

“Being that fresh perspective in our business and not focusing on technology but on business—how can we make our business better—that’s really rewarding.”

Michael Cross, Director of Technology Services

Greenleaf Hospitality Group is a hospitality management company that oversees the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites in downtown Kalamazoo, Wings Event Center, the Kalamazoo K-Wings, several restaurants and retail locations, a spa, and is currently 500+ employees strong. Between all of these businesses, they process many customers at those locations every day, and their aim is to “align their talents to deliver an engaging experience to the Greenleaf Hospitality Group family, their guests, and their communities.”

Navigating a point-of-sales upgrade

In 2014, they found themselves needing an update to their point-of-sales system, which in itself might not seem like a huge project, but when you’re looking at hardware and software to meet the needs of over 12 different businesses, with different services, staff, and clientele, it becomes a daunting task to settle, even for the leadership team.


“With all of us being very operationally-focused, we have a lot of great minds on our team, but we’re all focused on day-to-day stuff. In order to get the best bang for our buck, we saw that we needed someone to bring us up to 30,000 feet—help us through the early conceptual phases, and bring us through to choosing a project and getting it implemented.”

—Michael Cross, Director of Technology Services, Greenleaf Hospitality Group

Newmind Group’s Innovation Workshop was able to help them zoom out to where they needed to be, and look at the needs of all the individuals without losing sight of an effective, company-wide goal.


"When we had our first meeting, people were very defensive saying things like, ‘this is my project, I’m the expert.’ Newmind Group’s approach was that they don’t know all of those things, but what they do know is how to strategically get us to where we need to be—timelines, scheduling, the research portion of the project—all these huge pieces throughout the process, and once we got through the first meeting, everybody was on board, and we knew we were all heading in the right direction.”

—Mike Oswald, VP of Food, Beverage, and Entertainment at Greenleaf Hospitality Group

Finding everyone’s best solution

In the process of the workshop, all the pain points, solutions, and other opportunities are collected and put to a free-market vote. Team members on board for the workshop are invited to talk freely and pragmatically about the realities and scope of the project, and the express purpose for this is to be sure no voice is left unheard.


“In the past, we’d seen how disorganized this kind of project could become, and at the end of implementation, it would usually bring some type of disaster along with it. This project has since been regarded as one of the best projects we’ve ever done. We are planning to use the Innovation Workshop again on future projects.”

—Michael Cross, Director of Technology Services, Greenleaf Hospitality Group


After deliberation and voting, Greenleaf was able to settle on a solution that satisfied all-around: the leadership team, the budget, and the end-users. Today, they have the right POS tools across all their departments.

Michael said his favorite part of the process was getting to address the situation in a bigger capacity than just “IT”: “being that fresh perspective in our business and not focusing on technology but on business—how can we make our business better—that’s really rewarding.”


Could your organization’s decision-making process use a jumpstart? Check out our different workshop types here, and start navigating towards the best possible solution.

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