Why teamwork is important

No one succeeds alone. Let me repeat that – No One Succeeds Alone. Whether it is your team at home or at work – you don’t really succeed all by yourself. In my younger years , I may not have recognized enough the importance of being one part of a strong team.

Let me now say – it is everything. If you have ever experienced the lack of teamwork, then you know what I mean. As an individual, you know you can do so much – which includes putting your family last, working late, giving every last ounce of your “good energy” to your job. And you can still be “thrown under the bus” by a colleague or colleagues that need to put the blame somewhere.

It’s not personal, it’s business. And I have heard that before – but when you are on the recieving end, it is very personal. When you take your work life personally, it hurts. But when you succeed as a team, it is equally as awesome. Where is the balance?

The team is your balance. Win or lose, you do it together. It’s called trust, responsibility and not passing the buck. Learn this young, and you may have a future that is full of people that will work with you, for you and refer other potential rock stars to you.

Take too long, and you play defense forever. Your latest win, your most recent team – is all you take to the bank. In hospitality, that is dangerous. I have the utmost respect for those that I have worked with and for– and would again. That is rare, but I know I am lucky that there are a few of those in my past. And in my future. Most of those folks are from my early years. They took the time to listen to my ideas while teaching me from their experiences. That is my bank, my future.

Which makes it very personal. Who is in your bank?

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A year to remember

Ah, yes – you almost escaped my one year anniversary post. And I am late, I will give you that. In the midst of the chaos of balancing our careers, home, our 3 pre-teens, time with our college students and vet visits for our dogs – we got away to celebrate our 1st yr of wedded bliss. Okay – really we went away to be able to take naps, in between whooping it up in Louisville and remembering how fun we can be.

And we are so much fun! When you take away the daily “have to’s” of life. We stayed at the same B&B where we got married, DuPont Mansion in historic Louisville. Louisville is one of my favorite places, you can go several times and not go to the same places twice. We did both, mixing our favorites from last year with a few new places. And we did nap, the beds were so comfortable and no kids or dogs to wake us up. We enjoyed the music, and food at Fourth Street Live, the casino at New Albany, visited Churchill Downs for the first time and dreamed of having our own B&B someday.

And we reflected on the challenges over the last year. It is the same at home and at work – there are things that work and what doesn’t work, you adjust. He transitioned from a midscale brand general manager to full service while getting the right people in the right places, while I had some very real budget challenges and changes to face in my region. We had days that we questioned what we were doing and then gave each the confirmation to keep going. Sometimes we had times where balancing our jobs and the kids school events took a lot of effort and we still weren’t “SuperParents”. We adjusted some rules at home to reflect the kids getting older and needing some space to make their own decisions.

We strive for a better balance every day, keeping our focus on professional goals while maintaining a more peaceful home to come home to. And we planned for this summer…

Safe travels,

Motivation or lack of?

I have a few or more years of traveling and working with different General Managers and Sales people over the years. A lot of different personalities but one common nemesis at times.

What is my motivation? Maybe a promotion was denied, a large client lost, or gasp, no bonus for the last month, quarter or dbl gasp, year. Could also be that there does not seem to be a next step for the career, so you are not sure what you are working for.

Honestly, this can stop the most amazing associate in their tracks. I have been told that I am very self aware, as I recognize my shortcomings and work on overcoming them quickly. I would tell you I don’t do it quickly enough, or that my solutions are not as permanent as I would like. But, I am human. And as a human, my motivation changes – even daily. From the basic paycheck & benefits motivation all the way to I AM GOING TO CHANGE HOSPITALITY FOR THE BETTER AND AFTER THAT, THE WORLD!!!

Laugh if you want but sometimes we have those days where we get the big deal, get a meeting with the right client or win the big contest. And that day is soooooo good. Then you wake up the next day – and wonder, how will I match or exceed that today? And then you pull the covers over your head, scream – and get over it. After all, there is coffee and you need your job to buy it.

So, there is your motivation.

Now go change the world or at least make the coffee.

That gut feeling

We in the business world have a long list of “tools” we use to analyze day to day our decisions. In hotels, if you have a Rev Manager, Rev Max Manager or even Revenue Optimization Specialist – then you know exactly what I am talking about. These data crunchers, analytical thinkers who never seem to tire of pulling up a report or reports – are there to tell you if the business you are pursuing is worth the rooms, the rate and the timing. How much, how many, when and what rate? Those in sales, live and breathe these questions.

For those not in the hotel world, this can be a harsh black and white view of hospitality. You just wanted a relaxing vacation, family reunion, wedding weekend or even a corporate meeting to launch your new business etc. Bet you thought it was all about you.

And it is. But it is also about the budget the hotel has to meet that month, and the pace of business over the dates you wanted. And about the staffing, and the events in that city that you are not interested in but will affect your price quote all the same. Almost takes the fun out of it, eh?

But there are a lot of sales and revenue professionals that merge this well with amazing customer service. And you will know the difference when you encounter them. These folks still use their gut when making some decisions. After all, who were the first hotel sales ppl to work with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft etc? Did they use a formula to decide if they should work with them? Or did they just give them great service and from that – build great loyalty?

Speaking of gut feelings and great service, my husband and I were attempting to book our annual stress free, no kids, beach vacation. We like to try someplace new each year but the wanted amenities are the same – hotel or resort on the beach, golf course, casino, great places to dine and all walkable if possible. The goal is to relax and not do much else.

We considered our brand discount employee rates, and also shopped for flight and hotel packages. We decided on a coastal destination that has all we wanted. Looked online but still had questions, so we called the resort. Our question was simple, as a large casino resort – do they have a shuttle from the airport? Call center time. Simple, right?

Wrong. We were asked if we have a players card. No. Can we still have a shuttle ride, is there a cost? Got tranferred to security, who handles the shuttle. Again – asked do we have a players card? No, we just need to know if they have a shuttle that we can take from the airport? First time being there – we just like to get the basic info.

Transferred to front desk and told we would need to talk to our casino host. What? We don’t need a casino host as big high rollers , we are not.

All the same- that is who we had to talk to. In this whole experience, not one person spoke clearly or professionally. And we never got a clear answer on being able to get a shuttle from airport or the cost. We cancelled, my gut said to.

Then before the joy of planning our stress free vacation was ruined, we booked another resort online, booked our flights online and decided to Uber from airport. I did not want the experience of talking with another call service professional.

Hmmm, what does this say? The people who answer your phones are the first contact. How good are they? How often do you call and test them?

Let’s keep the hospitable feelings in hospitality, shall we?

Travel well and prosper,

Jill

Sexual Harassment and Hospitality

No, I am not going to subject you to a corporate video on what is okay in the workplace and No, I do not have a degree in Human Resources.

But I do have the common sense my momma gave me. And that, my friends, did give me everything I need to know. Every year, every company probably sends each associate the directive to take the most recent harassment training they provide.

And yet, we still have people behaving badly. Shocking, isn’t it? Hollywood is certainly in an uproar and it is understandable. There is an environmental change happening, and hopefully it is a change for the better. Why am I skeptical?

There have always been humans behaving badly, after all – we are human. So what do we do?

There is such a fine line between work and personal life, the line gets crossed. I know of many long term romances and marriages that happened because of romance in the workplace. With the workaholic tendencies some , well most of us have – it is natural to find common ground where you spend most of your waking hours.

But there is a difference between good, old fashioned romance and using your work position to gain advantages personally over another human. I am not going to make this a male / female thing, as there are a lot of definitions out there that I cannot and will not try to cover. So, as humans – here are some basics I like to stick to and most certainly try to pass on to my kids.

1.Compliments are okay, if you leave out body parts and explicit terminology. Example – “That is a great suit, good luck on your presentation today. You look professional and confident”.

Not “mmmmm, you look hot today” “That dress fits your body perfectly”.

We all may laugh a little when we are asked to role play how to better handle potential uncomfortable situations. It is an uncomfortable discussion to have. Think about it, if it sounds a little creepy, it probably is.

2. Approaching someone for more than workplace friendship… this is tough but not really. When our kids are growing up, getting crushes and dealing with potential rejection are a part of life. We do too, ideally much better now that we are adults. “No thank you” should be the most easy response and accepted as such. No long explanations, it should be to the point and lets the other person walk away and let it go.

3. Jokes, slang, when it all goes a little too far – we should recognize when we cross a line. And wait for it… this is huge….Apologize. Right then. No waiting.

It really does come down to treating each other with respect and Hospitality. Saying I am sorry counts more when we don’t need a supervisor or gasp – a judge to make us “do the right thing”.

From your fellow human,

Summer travels 2017

It has been awhile, and I apologize. No wait – what I mean is “Sorry, not sorry”. Our summer as a blended family meant juggling a lot of things. Our oldest had to juggle odd jobs, summer online classes and vacation with her dad to Colorado. We also saw her make the transition to her junior year at ISU, and apartment life. Real job, real bills, and balancing school – it just got very real.

Our younger ones venturing into teenage years – had time on the family farm in TN, church camp and a long weekend with us on the shores of Lake Michigan. They are closing in on the start of 6th and 8th grade. Pray for us, lol.

We finally had our delayed honeymoon in San Juan, at the glorious El Conquistador Resort. The hubby’s Hilton discount and Hilton Honor perks really helped the cost become a non issue and we relaxed. And dined well. And rode horses on the beach. And took a ferry boat ride each day to the resort’s private beach. It was amazing. A great start to the annual honeymoons we plan to have in different locations. We enjoyed the hospitality, which means we should be better at providing it. Ah, there it is- my point:

To be good parents, take breaks and take care of each other. Your kids will be fine maybe even happy, well adjusted adults one day. And you will keep your sanity.

To be good, even great in your hospitality career – take breaks and let hospitality take care of you. How do you know what it really is unless you experience it? Use your vacation time, fight for it. And you will keep your sanity and your passion for your career.

From the island of sanity,

Road warrior mode

Just before school is out, vacation is looming – a lot of us in hospitality can find it hard to be, well, hospitable. We need a break, a little bit of a reminder of why we do what we do. 

I won’t lie, one of my favorite things is scheduling upcoming off times, whether it is a day or a whole week. This year, the end of May means Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mid-June means a very long weekend at a Michigan rental lakehouse. And end of July – a delayed honeymoon in San Juan. With that kind of plan, I should stay motivated. 

My recent road trips for work have also helped any restlessness. Always great to reconnect with the operational experts at each hotel to assess what has been working and what is next. Dayton OH was about welcoming a new account. Louisville KY was about welcoming back a GM, a completed renovation at one property and a much improved management and team at another. South Bend and Fort Wayne were all about tweaking the Sales efforts of an already strong team. Each location and hotel has an ongoing changing plan. Don’t we all? So, what is next? Finishing a long awaited writing project, keeping the sales effort on target thru the summer, and … well, I will keep you posted.

I did take the time to relax and have a good meal or two as well. Loved the craft beer selections on tap and the bacon jam at the Rocky River Tap & Table in South Bend. Pic 3

Also a quick stop at the Schnabeltier cheese and winery was well worth it. Pic 2

And we added a relaxation spot at home as well. Pic 1

Keep traveling y’all!