The Remarkable Service Infrastructure

October 27th, 2014

SQI - Infrastructure6 (320x240)While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so.  At the end of the day, it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs.  The highest service levels, however, do require buy-in and commitment from owners, as well as the understanding of the long-term, focused effort required.

Realistically, the process may take three to five years . . . or longer.  But the benefits to the enterprise are as remarkable as the level of service achieved, including:

  • accountable, service-based leaders,
  • willing, committed, and empowered staff,
  • lower staff turnover; improved morale and motivation,
  • integrated and efficient operations,
  • improved operating performance,
  • less liability exposure,
  • better planning and execution,
  • improved sales and customer satisfaction.

The important thing for management, staff, and owners to recognize is that they are working on a plan to organize, improve, and revitalize their operation.  And as legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said,

“Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

The Quest for Remarkable Service is a journey requiring the continual disciplined attention of management and staff.  No matter the effort, no matter the perceived success, the enterprise will never reach a point where managers and employees can say, “We have arrived; now we can rest.”  The quest is never a destination; it’s a transformative journey that enriches both the recipients of that service and the providers.

In the ever-changing world of customer expectations, each level of quality achieved, each plateau reached, is merely the starting point for further development and improvement.  Yet as the cycle of review and continual improvement begins anew, all can be assured that with each iteration, each turn of the Flywheel, success becomes easier and more assured because of the organizational discipline gained and the momentum achieved.

Excerpted from The Quest for Remarkable Service.  For a free ebook version of The Quest for Remarkable Service, click here.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Fostering Initiative in Your Organization

October 20th, 2014

Do your department heads demonstrate initiative in the operation of their individual departmental “businesses” or do they sit on their hands waiting for you, the general manager, to tell them what to do?

The latter situation is detrimental to your enterprise because it:

  • Puts the burden on the GM to know what’s going on and what needs improvement at all times and in all areas of the operation,
  • Slows down any efforts toward continual process improvement as the GM’s plate becomes full and mired in operational detail,
  • Takes focus away from the strategic duties of the GM,
  • Requires the GM to have an in-depth understanding of all operational disciplines which few, if any, possess, no matter how experienced and competent,
  • Robs subordinate managers of the opportunity to exercise judgment, gain executive experience, own outcomes, grow skills for greater authority and responsibility, and experience the satisfaction of success and accomplishment – a significant driving force for most people, particularly the gifted and ambitious,
  • Demonstrates a lack of trust in subordinates,
  • Is the primary symptom of the doomed-to-fail “genius with a thousand helpers” leader – the one who feels that only he or she is capable of doing the job right and who promotes a cadre of “yes men” while driving away the most competent assistants,
  • Damages the future of the enterprise by putting all the leadership strength and decision-making in one basket, thereby creating the potential for catastrophe when he or she moves on,
  • Inevitably burns out the individual who is trying to do it all.

The intelligent alternative to these consequences is to put the responsibility and accountability for operational areas into the hands of capable subordinates who know and understand all aspects of their business specialty.  But to work effectively, the general manager must first:

  • Establish and reinforce organizational leadership and values,
  • Spell out expectations for performance,
  • Establish annual operational goals,
  • In conjunction with individual managers establish departmental goals, develop meaningful work plans, and hold them strictly accountable for results,
  • Bo open and approachable for consultation as necessary,
  • Monitor progress toward goals and work plan completion by using milestones and timelines,
  • Meet at least monthly with department heads to review progress,
  • Offer ideas and assistance through mentoring and professional development of subordinates,
  • Praise and reward wins,
  • Constructively review failures with the goal of educating and improving.

When all these things are done on a continuing basis, the performance of the entire operation is maximized, the operation shows continual improvement, and members/guests/customers are provided an ever-enhanced experience that rewards and delights their ongoing patronage.

A few caveats:  When embarking on a course of greater subordinate initiatives, experience and trust are paramount.  Therefore:

  • For those subordinates who are new or relatively unknown to the organization or who by past questionable action warrant a degree of caution, use a process of specific direction and close supervision until they’ve demonstrated the requisite skills and judgment to exercise broader initiative.
  • For those who’ve already demonstrated sound judgment, competence, and professionalism, give them a freer hand while being ever ready for consultation and brainstorming.

When mistakes happen, and rest assured that they will, use them as learning experiences and move on to the next challenge and initiative.

Summary:  Initiative is one of the primary components of sound leadership.  Hospitality enterprises operate in highly competitive environments and are too complex to allow any portion of the operation to tread water.  Continual improvement and the necessary initiative to move forward on a broad front are critical to ongoing success.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

A Representative List of Employee Work Policies

October 13th, 2014

Every hospitality operation will have a number of employee work policies to guide employee behavior and performance.  While these may vary significantly from property to property, here is a representative list of topics to cover:

  • Supervisors – an explanation of the role of supervisors in the organization and that an employee’s supervisor is their first point of contact for direction, issues, or concerns.
  • Attitude – covers the importance of an employee’s attitude to their own success as well as the organization’s.
  • Punctuality – the absolute importance of being at work on time and what steps to take if an employee will be unavoidably late.
  • Sickness – spells out what an employee must do when calling out sick.
  • Absences – stresses the importance of being at work when scheduled.
  • employee-handbook-2Notification – goes over the requirements to notify the establishment if an employee is unable to meet their schedule or calls out sick.
  • Inclement Weather – provides specific guidance as to what employees should do during periods of extreme weather such as snow and ice storms, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms and flooding.
  • Time Clock & Timesheets – explains all the details of punching in and out for work or completing time sheets for exempt employees.  Also, provides guidance on what to do in case of a “mis-punch.”
  • Appearance & Attire – reviews the organization’s policies and standards for appearance and dress, including type of shoes to be worn.
  • Uniforms – explains the requirements and standards for any positions requiring the wearing of uniforms.
  • Nametags – explains requirement to wear identifying nametags, as well as providing guidance for how to properly wear them.
  • Grooming & Hygiene – explains the organization’s standards for these to include any guidance for acceptable makeup; jewelry; hairstyles and color; fingernail cleanliness, color, and length; as well as visible body art and piercings.
  • Sanitation Requirements – such as constant hand washing is a must, particularly for food service employee.   Also to take particular care to avoid fussing with face or hair, nail or cuticle biting, careless sneezing or coughing, combing hair and scratching in any form.
  • Disclaimer Statement for Personal Grooming – “while it is not possible to establish absolute standards of personal grooming, the final determination of an employee’s suitability for work rests with management.”
  • Trash/Litter – stresses the importance of keeping the facilities neat and clean.
  • Telephone Use – covers the issues of telephone and cell phone use while working.
  • Loitering – gives guidance regarding unnecessary loitering around work premises before or after work.
  • Visitors – explains the inappropriateness of family and friends visiting the establishment except in case of emergencies.
  • Lost & Found – explains the requirements of lost and found policies and procedures.
  • Removing Items from Premises – forbids the removal of any items from the premises to include all food and beverage items, leftovers of any sort, and supplies and materials.
  • Tobacco Use – explains the policy on smoking or the use of other tobacco products on premises.
  • Personal Habits – describes personal habits, such as eating, drinking, chewing gum or breath mints, smoking, conversing with fellow employees and taking breaks that detract from the organization’s focus on service and provides guidance on rest and meal breaks.
  • Solicitation/Distribution – explains the policy against solicitation and distribution of materials to customers/guests/members or other employees on premises.
  • Personal Electronic Equipment – describes how radios, TVs, CD players, iPods, boom boxes, cellular phones, and other personal electronic equipment detract from the organization’s dedication to service.
  • Parking of Personal Transportation – explains the location of all employee parking areas and why the close-in parking is reserved for customers/guests/members.
  • Employee Entrance(s) – describes which entrances are to be used by employees.
  • Fire Safety Systems – acquaints employees with the basic function and location of fire extinguishers and alarm stations and the need to familiarize themselves with the operation of these life-saving systems in advance of any need.
  • Use of Facilities – explains that the facilities are for the exclusive use of customers/guests/members except when specifically authorized by the General Manager.
  • Employee Rest Rooms, Locker Room, Lunchroom, and Break Areas – explains the location and describes the requirement to use employee facilities.
  • Protection of Property & Assets – explains the special responsibility of employees to care for the property and assets of the organization.
  • Taking the Initiative – encourages employees to take the initiative to correct problems if something is improperly stored, in need of repair, out of place or missing, or let a supervisor know if necessary.
  • Problems & Grievances – provides guidance to employees on options available to them to make management aware of concerns and issues.  Explains that under no circumstances at any time should complaints be voiced to customers/guests/members.
  • Open Door Policy – explains the policy and requirements of management availability for employee opinions, comments, complaints or other concerns about the place of employment.
  • Suggestions – explains that employee suggestions to improve any aspect of the operation are encouraged and always welcomed; and to please discuss any suggestions with the appropriate supervisor.

Work policies should be spelled out in both the Employee Handbook and Managers Handbook so that all managers, supervisors, and employees are fully aware of and support these essential policies of a professionally-run hospitality operation.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Our Human Assets

October 7th, 2014

One of the most important factors in the success of any endeavor is the dedication and performance of its employees.  They are, after all, the ones who do the work from top to bottom of the organization and they are the ones who directly serve your members every day in all areas of the operations.

Recognizing the importance of employees’ contributions, there are a number of things that influence the quality and performance of your human assets.

  • Hiring well,
  • Employee development and training,
  • Disciplinary system, and
  • Organizational leadership.

Hiring Well.  Jim Collins in his groundbreaking book, Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, speaks of the importance of getting the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Employee Development and Training.  In order for employees to perform at high levels they must know what’s expected of them, be thoroughly trained, and receive ongoing feedback, both formal and informal, regarding their performance.

Disciplinary System.  It’s an absolute requirement that employees are treated consistently and fairly in all aspects of employment and the club’s disciplinary system.  The consequences of failing to do this include discrimination and wrongful termination complaints, higher unemployment compensation costs, and the ongoing turmoil of complaints and grievances.

Organizational Leadership.  This is the most important factor contributing to high levels of employee commitment, dedication, and performance.  Employees who are valued, engaged, motivated, informed, listened to, and empowered by the consistent application of sound leadership from the entire management team will consistently achieve at higher levels than those who don’t.

While high performing individuals can be found in any segment of the population, a club will find it difficult to build a team of such performers without understanding the underlying disciplines in finding, hiring, developing, and retaining them.

Excerpted from Employee Development and Discipline on the Go, Hospitality Resources International.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Guest Blog: Be Our Guest, Maybe

September 29th, 2014
glenn-a-gerena-photo-335933Club management’s challenge in structuring a guest policy is balancing competing interests reflected in the following hypothetical comments:Member A: “I acquired my membership so I can play golf with my friends, so don’t restrict me from playing with them.”Member B:  “Member A has played golf with the same guy 10 times.  His friend should get his own membership.”Member C:  “I want my brother and his wife from Boston to play the course on Friday, but I can’t join them.”Member D:  “I keep seeing non-members playing the course.  I thought this club is private.”Membership Committee Chair:  “We need to introduce the club to new prospects through our guest program.”Guest rules and policies should properly balance the interests reflected in these comments, taking into account the nature of the club, the membership and the club’s business goals.

Specific provisions may include:

  • Prohibition or restriction on unaccompanied guest play;
  • Provision for host committee to play golf with members’ guests when the sponsoring member is not available;
  • Restriction on number of times a person can be a guest in a year;
  • Black-out of peak periods when guests are not permitted;
  • Restriction on number of guests at one time; and
  • Rule governing payment of guests’ charges; and
  • Special rules or fees for extended family and/or houseguests.

Club management can take measures to minimize problems and maximize guest program benefits.  First, management should strictly enforce guest adherence to dress codes and guest rules to minimize member objections.  Second, the club should invest in software to track guests both for purposes of enforcing limitations and identifying membership candidates.  Third, the club’s guest policies should be regularly communicated to members and prospective members to avoid surprises and embarrassment to members and their guests.

Most clubs welcome members’ guests, but sometimes the welcome mat needs some definition.

Author:  Glenn A. Gerena, a shareholder with the national law firm of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., concentrates his practice on structuring, documentation for, and restructuring club membership programs.  You can read more about the author at http://www.gtlaw.com/People/GlennAGerena, and read more club related articles by the author at http://www.hospitalitylawcheckin.com.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Do The Right Thing

September 22nd, 2014

For any leader there will always be aspects of your job that you don’t like—things that you personally find difficult or distasteful.  And while there is always the temptation to postpone or ignore those things, hoping they will just go away or somehow solve themselves, this is seldom the case.  Invariably, those neglected responsibilities come back full force at some later time—usually with far greater impact or consequence when they do.

Another mechanism to cope with these undesirable duties is to assign them to a subordinate or pass them off to some other person in the organization.  While doing this may relieve your immediate distress, it is never a good thing to slough off your duties because they make you uncomfortable.

While undesirable duties will be different for each individual leader, these are some of the “usual suspects.”

Confronting Poorly Performing Employees.  Our basic nature is to assume that others know the right thing to do and will do it without being told.  Clearly this mindset is not based in reality.  People need to understand the right way of doing things and the standards of the organization.  When they do not meet these expectations, you must engage them.  Initially, these are ongoing discussions of what must be improved.  Eventually, continued problems must lead to counseling and possibly disciplinary actions.  A leader must never be hesitant to confront the problem employee.  The sooner he does it, the better for everyone.

Discharging Employees.  No normal person enjoys letting people go.  Even when an employee deserves it for his inappropriate behavior or poor performance, it is never a pleasant thing to do.  If, after exhausting all efforts to correct behavior or improve performance, the employee’s problems persist, it is the right thing to do for the good of the organization and the other employees who have to put up with or cover for the offending employee.

Responding to Unhappy Customers.  Does anybody enjoy this?  However, it’s probably one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your business.  Recognizing that there will always be service failures, recovery is always the key.  View these challenges as opportunities to demonstrate your leadership and professionalism.  Well-handled, these situations can win you respect and admiration.

Reference-Checking when Hiring.  Few of us enjoy the tedious time commitment and challenges of checking applicant references, yet there is nothing you can do that’s more important for “getting the right people on your bus.”  This is a responsibility that you, as a leader and hiring manager, should never take lightly or pass off to someone else.

Speaking in Large Public Gatherings.  Speaking in large gatherings causes many of us to cringe.  Yet to grow leadership abilities and increase influence, don’t shy away from these opportunities.  The more you speak in public, the more comfortable you’ll become doing it.

While it’s perfectly appropriate to delegate certain tasks as your career progresses and subsequent positions grow in authority, you must make sure delegation is appropriate and that your motivation is for the good of the organization, not based on what you like and dislike doing.

As a leader, you should never shy away from the responsibilities of the position you have accepted.  Make it a point of honor to do the right things.  Your employees are always watching and taking your measure as a leader.  When you consistently do the right thing, you’ll be seen as a “stand up” person—one who will always have their trust, respect, and loyalty.

Excerpted from Leadership on the Line – The Workbook, Clarity Publications, 2009

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

 

What to Do About Training

September 15th, 2014

In a number of articles I’ve enumerated the challenges that standalone operations have in designing and implementing the robust and consistent training programs necessary to enhance organizational effectiveness and customer/guest/member service.  While most operations focus their training efforts on line employees, I have long advocated the need for manager and supervisory training in all areas.  As agents of the enterprise, these individuals can do far more harm unless well-schooled in leadership, business disciplines, and legal and liability issues.

While there is no doubt that the challenges to comprehensive training are significant, the ramifications of weak, inconsistent training are even more significant in that they impact performance at every level and area of the operation – and may ultimately prove to be a threat to the enterprise’s very existence.

Despite its critical nature, there always seem to be reasons not to train.  Often the biggest obstacle to formal training programs is cost – as every hour of training is an hour of payroll.  But as I’ve said before, there is a lot of wasted time in every operation, so the real issue is one of organization and the “will to make it happen.”

So what is a General Manager to do, should he or she want to institute a formal system of comprehensive training?  Here are four basic requirements:

  • Identify needs.  While every operation may have specific needs, Training Requirements for Hospitality Operations lays out the general types of necessary training.
  • Develop a training plan.  One organization’s first pass at a plan can be found on the Hospitality Resources International website under Operations>Resources>White Papers.  Certainly this can be used as a basis to develop your own plan.
  • Establish priorities.  As usual, go for the “low-hanging fruit” – those that are easiest to implement.  You might even use one department as the testing ground for others before full implementation.
  • Use “on the go” training.  The use of ongoing, short training topics will help keep the cost of training down, while providing constant reminders of important issues, best practices, and service techniques.  Hospitality Resources International has pioneered the concept of “on the go” training and has developed materials for Organizational Values, Leadership, Human Resources, Accounting, Employee Development and Discipline, Service, Management Disciplines, Food Service Management, and Safety.  Others are under development for Golf Management and F&B Knowledge.  These can be purchased from the HRI Marketplace and provide a proven method of training.

Surveying the needs of setting up formal training program, you realize it’s a lot of work.  But much of it has already been done for you, so no need to reinvent the wheel.  Should you decide to develop your own materials; the above mentioned modules provide a powerful example of how it can be done.

Lastly, I would suggest the concept of “incremental progress” to guide your training development.  You don’t have to do everything at once.  Make it a multi-year goal; assign tasks, responsibilities, and timelines.  Make a little progress each week while keeping your eye on the end result.  Each step forward will bring incremental improvements.  In time you’ll be amazed at the results!

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Managers’ Fiscal Responsibilities

September 8th, 2014

Managers with bottom-line responsibility are responsible for the financial performance of their areas of the operation.  There are a number of specific elements associated with this responsibility, which is broken down into the following broad categories:

Budgeting.  Budgeting is the process of establishing a financial operating and capital plan for a future fiscal year.  Budgets are formulated using past history, benchmarks, knowledge of upcoming events or trends, and one’s best professional judgment.

Comparing Actual Performance to Budget.  Once approved, budgets are the fiscal plan for the year.  Managers are responsible for comparing actual performance to budgets on a monthly basis and intervening as necessary to achieve budget goals.

Achieving Revenues.  Achieving revenue projections is one of the two primary means of meeting budgets (the other being controlling expenses).  Managers are responsible for monitoring revenues and aggressively intervening when revenues fall short.

Controlling Cost of Goods Sold.  Departments with retail operations must also control the cost of goods sold and investigate when these costs are out-of-line.  Managers can do this by ensuring accurate monthly inventories, carefully tracking departmental transfers and adjustments, and using retail buying plans.

Controlling Payroll Costs.  Payroll is the single largest expense in most operations and the most significant expense that managers must control.  In order to control payroll costs, it is vital that managers have timely and accurate data regarding their departmental payroll costs.  Essential to getting this data is having staff correctly follow timekeeping procedures, setting schedules to meet forecasted levels of business, and the dogged determination to track payroll expenses closely to ensure that budgets are not exceeded.

Controlling Other Expenses.  Other Expenses comprise all of the other departmental operating expenses.  Managers can control these expenses by carefully reviewing expenditures on a monthly basis, using some means, such as Tools to Beat Budget, to track other expenses in real time, and by periodic in-depth reviews of significant expense accounts.

Benchmarking.  Benchmarking is the act of measuring operating performance.  Each department head should track detailed benchmarks for his area of the operation

Pricing.  The starting point for meeting revenue projections is proper pricing of products and services to ensure a sufficient markup to cover associated expenses.  Pricing should be reviewed on a periodic basis to assure that budgeted margins are being maintained.

Purchasing.  Some managers are responsible for purchasing materials, supplies, and inventories for their departments.  Managers must be familiar with all company purchasing policies to properly fulfill these responsibilities.

Expense Coding.  Managers are sometimes responsible for ensuring that invoices for all purchased items are coded to appropriate expense accounts in a timely, accurate, and consistent manner.

Inventory Management and Security.  Given that high inventory levels tie up capital that might be put to better use elsewhere, managers must use common sense and good business judgment to maintain inventories at levels that balance business demands, lower pricing for bulk purchases, perishability of stock, and available warehousing space.

Inventories must be kept secured with access limited to as few individuals as possible.  Storerooms must be kept neat, clean, and organized to facilitate physical inventory counts and minimize damage and spoilage.

Merchandise inventories should be purchased using Open to Buy or other retail buying plans, thereby constantly monitoring inventory levels and product mix while minimizing markdowns.  All special sales of merchandise during the year should be noted and marked-down items analyzed compared to buying plans to ensure that lessons are learned from buying mistakes.

Asset Management.  Managers are responsible for protecting the assets assigned to their departments and in their care.  Periodic physical counts are required for assets under your control:

  • Resale inventories—monthly to determine cost of goods sold.
  • Supply inventories, such as linens, china, and glassware— quarterly to ensure you have sufficient stock on hand.  Some consumable items, such as ware washing chemicals, cleaning supplies, and paper products should be inventoried more frequently.
  • Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment inventories—to ensure presence and accountability.

Internal Controls.  Internal Controls are defined as the systems and procedures established and maintained to safeguard a business’ assets, check the accuracy and reliability of its accounting data, promote operational efficiency, and encourage adherence to prescribed managerial policies.

Internal controls, while often considered an accounting function, are actually a function of management.   The ultimate responsibility for good internal controls rests squarely with managers.

Point of Sale (POS) Transactions.  The initial entry for most revenue data is through point of sale systems.  Managers are responsible for training their employees to correctly use the POS system and to retrain as necessary when a pattern of errors is evident in their departments.

Accounting Standards, Policies, and Procedures.  Managers should be familiar with and follow all requirements of their company’s accounting standards, policies, and procedures and recommend changes as necessary.

Summary.  The thoroughness and professionalism with which you meet these fiscal responsibilities will have much to do with your success as a manager.  Consider which ones you currently do well and in which areas you need to improve your performance.

Ed Rehkopf, Excerpted from Leadership on the Line – The Workbook, Clarity Publications, 2009

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

 

The Leader’s Mood

September 1st, 2014

Years ago, as a young man of twenty-eight, I was managing my first hotel—the historic Hotel Thayer at West Point.  The “grand old lady” as we called her had suffered from years of neglect and was in desperate need of renovation and renewal.  Fresh out of hotel school it was a great challenge for me, but one I relished.  Its high profile clientele – generals, corporate CEOs, even heads of state – gave me a prominent stage to feed my ego-needs and demonstrate my competence and abilities.

But with this opportunity came high-level stress as I labored to prove myself.  Given its many problems – both with poor physical plant and a lack of service culture – I was in a hurry to show a turnaround.  To say I was driven would be an understatement.  So I pushed hard to make improvements; yet, as always, the forward progress was not consistent or without setbacks.

Sometimes I became angry at unexpected obstacles or the fact that some employees didn’t seem to understand or fully support my program.  I was usually pretty quick to move beyond my flashes of temper because I had so much to do.  But I did expect the employees to share my enthusiasm, if not my passion and need for results.

One day, growing tired of what I perceived were my administrative assistant’s constantly changing moods, I called her on it.  I told her that she needed to make more of an effort to be in a good mood – that her moodiness was affecting others around her.

To this day, I’ll never forget her sharp reply, “Me?  You’re the one who’s moody.  I never know when I come to work what kind of mood you’re going to be in.”  With that she turned on her heel and stormed out of my office.

Her response struck me like a slap in the face – but certainly one that I deserved and needed.

Her sudden and unexpected rebuff caused me to do some deep soul searching that night.  I called her in the next day to thank her for her honesty and courage in telling me what no boss wants to hear.  I acknowledged my moodiness and asked her help in combating it.  Anytime she sensed my irritation or anger, she was to let me know, while I would work to control my temper.

One of the important requirements of leadership is to possess the emotional maturity to understand how your moods and emotions impact your followers.  Employees are looking for a leader in whom to place their trust and confidence and will have difficulty following anyone who doesn’t possess the emotional stability and self-discipline to control his emotions.

Leaders must recognize that while they can’t control all that may happen to them, they can certainly make the effort to control their reactions to it.  They must also recognize the significant impact their moods have on all around them, but particularly their followers – who properly expect more from their leader.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

What You Owe Your Boss – Loyalty and Support

August 25th, 2014

In Leadership on the Line, we talked about managing your boss with a “State of the Union” report, timely and accurate information about your plans and projects, as well as the progress of your initiatives.  In doing these things you keep your boss informed and assured that you are properly attending to the needs and requirements of your position.  The ultimate purpose of managing your boss is to make her job easier, allowing her to focus on the other pressing issues of her position.  Beyond this, what do you “owe” your boss?  Most importantly you owe her your undivided loyalty and complete support.

Hopefully your boss is an active and engaged leader who has a plan of improvement and works diligently toward its implementation.  In the process of implementing her agenda she will develop plans and programs and issue directives for their accomplishment.  It is your responsibility and duty, then, to wholeheartedly support her agenda in its thorough implementation within your area of the operation.

theworkbook_cover-4But what if you have doubts about the wisdom or efficacy of her program?  In this case you as a leader have a duty to fully and frankly express your reservations to her.  However, this should always be done in private in a calm and deliberate way.  Your purpose here is to convince, not attack or criticize.  Clearly, rationally, and with suggestions for alternative courses of action, you must express your reservations and persuade your boss of other means to her desired ends.

If, after exhausting your powers of persuasion, your boss is unmoved and insists upon her original instructions, you have but two choices—to completely support and devote yourself 100% to accomplishing her directives or, if sufficiently opposed, to resign your position since you are unable to fully support her initiatives.

Why is the choice so stark?  Is there no alternative between these two extremes?  No!  Either you fully support and implement her program without grumbling, complaining, or hesitation—as if the initiative was your own—or you step aside because you can’t.

The most damaging thing you can do is to undermine your boss’ efforts by publicly criticizing her plan or by failing to actively and aggressively implement it.  Both send a clear message to your employees that you neither agree with nor support the plan.  This will quickly set up divided loyalties in the workforce.  Its impact on employees will be similar to the well-known phenomenon of parents sending mixed behavioral messages to their children.

Even worse is to pretend to support your boss’ agenda while secretly acting to sabotage it.  This passive-aggressive behavior is unfair to the person who hired you and is damaging to the organization.  Your employees will readily understand your lack of commitment and ultimately your boss will recognize it too.  In this instance, your boss’ only recourse is to discharge you—and you will certainly deserve it.

The bottom line is that you have a responsibility to fully support and show loyalty to your boss.  If, for whatever reason, you have come to lack respect for your boss, it’s time for you to move on.

Still unconvinced?  For one moment put yourself in the position of the boss—how long could you tolerate a subordinate manager who, either actively or passively, worked at cross purposes to your plans?

Excerpted from Leadership on the Line – The Workbook, Clarity Publications, 2009

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

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