I have taught at the University level for 20 years at three different institutions and served as the equivalent of chief Learning Officer at the world’s largest hotel chain for 8 years, so I have heard and shared many stories to convince the students or attendees to open their minds to new ideas. I have led several hundred workshops and I can relate to the challenges of setting priorities is very real in hospitality.
The following story is not new, but is an excellent illustration that I have heard and used a number of times over the years.
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.
As he stood in front of the group of high powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.”Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?”
He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”
By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.
Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No,” the class shouted.
Once again he said, “Good.” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.
Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it.”
“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point.
The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.
What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life?
Your children; Your loved ones; Your education; Your dreams; A worthy cause; Teaching or mentoring others; Doing things that you love; Time for yourself; Your health; Your significant other.
Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then you’ll fill your life with little things you worry about that don’t really matter, and you’ll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks).
“So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.
In the hospitality field, there can be many distractions but the BIG ROCKS as described by Stephen Covey who authored the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
In reality, hospitality has three essential shareholders:
- the guest
- the associates
- the owner
There may be different ways to serve those three groups, but if one is overshadowed for very long by the others, this particular hospitality business will lose its market presence and profitability quickly.
What are you doing at your hotel today?
Contact me today for ideas on ways to make your hotel more profitable by keeping priorities focused!
Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
Getting the Most out of Your Franchise Investment Making Hospitality More Profitable
Part of the 2011 Keys To Success Workshop Series
KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for our 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS®, Lessons from the Field®, Hotel Common Sense® and Principles for Success
Feel free to share an idea for a column at anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.
www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.
Consulting Expertise and Research Interest
- Sales Management and training
- Turn-around and revenue management
- Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
- Customer Service
- Making Cultural Diversity Real
- Developing Academic Hospitality programs
- Medical Lodging Consulting
If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.
Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375