The Hotel – Teamwork, Communication, Training, Etc…

Hello all.. Below is a letter written to a hotel we recently stayed in.  We didn’t  have a great time, so we wrote them a letter. Most of their issues were simple, yet its easily understood how some guests would have left upset.

The Hotel 

My name is…  (specific hotel informaiton was deleted) and we stayed at your Hotel in March of 2012.  I write this letter to inform you or our disappointed with our stay.  We will do this in three parts: list the issues, then some comments, and then we will make you an offer.

We have stayed at your hotel before and we were pleased with it, so we decided to stay there again.  The hotel is small but pretty, and has wonderful historical value to the area, so we like it.  When booking the trip, your rating seemed very low on certain sites, and higher on others.  That indicates inconsistencies.  Every time someone stays, they have different stories to tell.

Let’s get to the point.

Part 1 – The Issues

  • Your HVAC system was on heat, and the rooms were very hot.  Due to the unusually warm weather this year, your hotel was warm and apparently, there was not a quick way for your system to change from heating to cooling.  The Room windows did not open wide enough to let cool air in from the outside.
  • The ice machine was located only on one floor.  Who would know that unless information was provided in the room or upon check-in?  Imagine the frustration when needing some ice, and having to go treasure-hunting for the machine…
  • The lights in the entire room was dim.  For a bathroom to be dim when one is preparing for a meeting isn’t helpful
  • Both of the phones in our room did not work.  When checking in, our first room was too warm (the temperature in the room was nearly 90 degrees) – we tried to call the front desk, but the one of those two phones didn’t work either.
  • The television remote did not work properly,
  • The Free internet connection was slow as molasses.  Apparently there was a second one that we were not told about.  However, that connection was slow as well.
  • Every night we came home, our cards had to be reset to allow us into the room.
  • $14 for parking in your location is too high when others pay $5 for visiting.  How is it a hotel patron pays more than twice a visitors amount for the same service.  But at least I knew about that before I registered.

Part 2 – The Comments

The HVAC system in itself was not a major issue for us.  For one, you offered room fans to those that asked for them.  We asked for one, but the window would not open very wide, so it was difficult to draw very much cool air in.  We dealt with that.  The weather was unusually warm for that time of year, and we understand that your hotel given its age and history has yet to update its HVAC system, so it takes time to change from heating to cooling and back again.  Any one or two of the above listed issues could have been handled simply by the front desk, but put all those issues together, and it makes for a very upsetting or disappointing time.

All your issues were simple really, but communications to your staff from their manager was insufficient or non-existent and communications from your staff to your guests was insufficient and it became irrelevant.  Simply said, Staff is poorly trained, and there seems to be no pride or camaraderie among them.  All simple issues to fix, but it starts with management and leadership.

Every desk clerk had a different story regarding the Heating system and when it would be resolved.  For a customer, that was the most frustrating part of it.  A consolidated message such as apologizing for the inconvenience and asking for their patience given the age of the hotel, the unusually warm temperatures, and that the hotel was doing everything possible to make it more comfortable for all its guests, would have been the best possible course of action and verbiage conveyed from ALL STAFF.  That would have been a sign of good management and leadership. Instead, everyone had what seemed like their own rendition.

The ice machine location is an easy fix at check-in and or with signs posted in the rooms or hallways.  All our issues could have been easily fixed if I asked the front desk, but what I noticed is that your staff all responded differently to questions and concerns.  They all wanted to help, but were all helping in their own way.  There was no consistency in their language, and there was little similarity in their sincerity.  In our short time there, we didn’t notice any staffer whose attitude was completely negative; however, they just did not seem to be a team, and were not completely supportive of the company.  (Important to remember that I may be wrong about all of this, but it doesn’t really matter, it’s the perception that matters.. and the perception from all your guests that we engaged was the same.)

This letter is not about the staff, this letter is about the training (or lack thereof) provided to the staff.  It’s also about the hotel’s management and its leadership.  Is management training and coaching its staff, or is management doing just paperwork while expecting successful results.  Results may come, but asking for results without the proper structure will come at a costly price.

Internal marketing and customer service begs the question, how do we keep the customers we already have?  We catered to your hotel last year, and came back because of its location and the service provided to us, not for its price.  Will we return again?  The issues listed above would indicate no.  How many customers do you lose because of service?  (How many can you afford to lose?)

As Management Consultants, allow us to inform you that keeping existing customers is so much easier to do than many businesses think.  How do you keep the customers that already cater to your hotel, and how do you get them to tell their friends and family that your hotel is the one to stay in?  Furthermore, how do you deal with your customers that complain or have issues with your hotel or the service provided?  In your case, it’s about consumer service and appreciation and creating value in your product.

Part 3 – The Offer

We offer your entire staff training – for free.  We will provide you and your team with clarity of thought as it relates to how to deal with the hotel’s consumers with uniform sincerity.  We will show them how to make customers feel at ease and at home.  We believe that every situation is not positive, but that every situation can and must be productive.  Honesty and Candor, which many of us do not understand, can be powerful tools when used properly.  Management must be able to continuously train its team towards this endeavor.   We will assist you and provide you with the foundation and first steps towards doing this.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
xxx…..

 Let’s Summarize:

Teamwork, Honesty, Candor, Communication, Training, Observing, Coaching, Evaluation …
Not too difficult, right?  (keeping it short here…lol)

Supervisor – Stupivisor! Whats the difference anyway?

Hello All:

We earlier discussed that success can be defined in many ways, and in that, a company can always quantify or qualify a team, a department, or its leadership as a success.  (But is it really?)

We at M302 believe there to be no real answer, and that each situation must entertain its own definition and thus its own answer.  Meaning success is defined by the “one” who provides the definition, and therefor the one that determines “it’s a success,” and honestly, it’s probably the same person that will deem it a failure as well.  If the boss says you were successful, then hurrah!!  If not, then polish your resume.

Example 1- simple example -Team 1 has lost 3% in market share and profits in quarter 4.  They have failed as compared to previous quarters and years.  Not very good, depending on who is looking and comparing, and how it’s being looked at.  On the company ‘s national conference call, the president of the company wants Team 1 Manager to tell the rest of the company, (Teams 2-11) what Team 1 is doing to be so successful.  (Meaning, how they kept their losses at only 3% compared to the rest of the Teams, in their 4th quarter economy.)  Team 1 has performed the best of all the teams.

Point 1:  Depending how you look at the whole picture, and to what end, one can dictate their own successes or failures… The call could have easily been about how every Team was failing, and how miserable it all was, instead of focusing some attention on some accomplishments.

Example 2 – More complicated – Even though Team 1 performed as it did, which was not well, they made increases in other areas that balanced themselves out, such as reduced costs, increased competitive edge through some market penetration, reduced turnover, increased team moral, etc…

Point 2: Success is not always immediately apparent to the bottom line and sometimes not even perceived or even understood until later. If the company survives, one may be able to attribute this success to what is often minor changes in environment and organizational cultures, as well as market penetration or advertising…  (more to be discussed)

To make it simple, one defines success any way they wish to define it.  There are so many ways of looking at it.  The Wright brothers failed in their first attempts.  But actually, could those failures be deemed successes as they were catapulted into greater failures… or were those also successes?

Michael Jordan failed his attempts to make his school basketball team in his first attempts, but later went on to become one of the greatest.  Could one deem his failure to make the team actually a defeat or a successful step in the right direction?  One may question that if he had made the team early, could he, and would he, have become the great player he became?  He was more determined to become great after that significant failure and lesson learned.  Not sure if this is clear all of a sudden.  Lol… let’s try some more…

A team within a company can be deemed successful just because they made their deadlines, or because they made money.  (Meaning, the bottom line was positively affected,!)  However, how better could they have been, if their internal culture was a better one?  Have you ever gone to work; did your job well, yet still hated your job?  Of course most if not all of us have shared this thought.  Imagine your improved performance if you actually enjoyed going to work, enjoyed the environment, and enjoyed your co-workers.  Imagine how much better the production of the team would be if everyone enjoyed being there?  Imagine the loyalty, trust, candor (Candor to be discussed at length later), the fun, and ultimate success as a team…

Here is our point:  No matter how successful one deems the department, team or organization to be, it could be that much better given a more productive culture and positive working environment.   Much has been written about High Performance Organizations.  We have all heard it.  Strong companies, leaders within their industry, at some point in their company history, decide that things must change for financial reasons, and they decide to look inward and make changes to increase profits, growth, and sustainability.  This usually means some people have to go, especially in the larger companies, but many small businesses adopted these methods and decided that the traditional bureaucratic and industrial revolutionary methods of managing had to change.  I

t’s interesting how individuals that were so successful at it became the guru’s of business.  Jack Welsh (Good Books – “Winning”)  and others are famous for such company makeover’s, and for books that discuss such issues as getting the right people on your team, or the “bus” as they say.  They obviously begin with getting the proper leadership in place, then getting the right players on your team or the right passengers on your bus, etc… and then getting them in the right field position or bus seat…

Beginning with choosing the right leadership, the experts discuss various methods of flattening the company (Less Middle Management), identifying strengths, improving weaknesses, using technology properly, identifying growth and profitability areas, and other valuable insights all aimed towards that we believe to be the most critical; improving the organizational culture, environment, and the relationship between the employee and the company (Upper Management).  Ultimately, this philosophy leads towards increased customer or consumer focus to increase consumer satisfaction.  We could never really figure out the difference between a very successful company versus a successful high performing company.  The books will define if for you, and even give you examples, but the question always remains, who determines that this company is one of High Performance.  (Why: the Author(s) of course!)

We agree with Elton Mayo’s interpretation of “effective collaboration” and the Human Relations Movement that emphasizes interpersonal relations, listening, communication, and human skills for any supervisor, manager or leader. Our interest lies in his concept which stated that leaders should balance the needs of the worker with the economic needs of the organization

Jack Welsh was been quoted as saying that at some point in his career, his main job was just to develop the talent of his top subordinates, as well as,,, if you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings with $$ behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them….  Clearly, we agree with both of those statements, but how the hell does one really do this given the time restraints, lack of budget, lack of support if any at all, and the lack of a particular skill-set to accomplish these humongous challenges.  Yes, they are all huge challenges.  Given the amount of staff one has, and the difficulty of dealing with people in general, the politics of the company, and the stress of performing in order to keep one’s own job.  It truly is a never-ending battle.

A manager never rests, and a leader never sleeps… Supervisors sleep fine, because most people hate them anyway… (It’s a Joke) (We have an old friend who dates herself by still using the term Stupivisor all the time.  It’s a joke, but it’s not really, because so many supervisors never receive training to become managers of people.  Many of them are made Supervisors because they were good at what they did, and someone somewhere felt that if they were good at their job, they would be good at leading others to do the same…  NOT! – Hence the name Stupivisor!)

How does a company attract and retain good people?  This is the crux of so many questions and answers and part of the basis of so many books and philosophies… Take the Gary Harpst’s, Six Disciplines for example.  He dictates that the ability to attract and retain quality talent is a foundational requirement for a high performing company.  (Agreed)  Many companies spend the time, energy, and effort, to establish great hiring policies and practices, then forget about the rest, such as coaching, training, rewarding, compensating, and even love.  (We will discuss the “love” later – Definitely Management 302, not 101.)  So how do you retain them after you spend so much time and effort hiring them?  Furthermore, we have seen so many people hired that met the rigorous hiring requirements, but then didn’t really stand up to the test of politics within the company.  Company politics (you all know what we mean) has been known to crush the brightest and most ethical, and yet the boldest among us can survive well in that arena.  (Not always the nicest people to work for, though)

The American Management Association’s research in which several well known authors amassed some engaging and interesting information regarding How to Build a High Performance Organization, wrote that by the 70s, managers became perplexed by an overabundance of theories about how to boost organizational success and that it became a confusing world of organization and management theories resulting in a tower of babbling and fragmented explanations of differing paradigms. (We think it still is)  However true that may be, M302’s efforts are focused on actual activities that relate to our day-to-day environment.  Your day’s activities and nuances will directly affect you, your team, your teamwork, your schedules and deadlines, your ability to positively affect your bottom line, and obviously your career within the company.  In doing so, however, we must often refer to some of these theories as we also wish to credentialize (new word- it’s in OUR dictionary now), empower and immortalize our own philosophical babble that we call “Management 302” or the “G-Way.”   In other words, do it this way, because it’s the “G-Way!

This post is dedicated to our friend, Sandra Curtis who always felt very strongly about the term, “Stupivisor!”  Own decisions can be so stupid and foolish, given the ignorance.  We make these ignorant decisions because we lack experience and because we are un-trained, un-educated, and un-coached in supervising, management and leadership. …and that’s the difference between Super and Stupid….

Management 302

http://www.jwmi.com
http://www.sixdisciplines.com/index.htm
http://www.amanet.org/
http://www.gsu.edu/images/HR/HRI-high-performance07.pdf
http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/hawthorne/intro.html#i