An earlier article used one of Tom Peters and Robert Waterman’s fundamentals from their groundbreaking book on changing the ways we do business. IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE introduced a formal name for what the more successful hospitality managers already knew about motivating their staff. The phrase “Management by Walking Around” was based on Hewlett-Packard’s commitment to their staff with interaction – not micromanagement, but ongoing listening and responding to staff ideas.
Hotel Common Sense – Philosophy #2 , Or, why the Open Door policy no longer works… article outlined how today’s workforce wants and needs to be considered as individuals who can contribute to the success of their organization.
Reader feedback showed the growing awareness to that need for additional management and leadership “active listening” and this follow-up message on MBWA offers some concrete ways to notch up that effort of positive involvement.
1. Allow your staff to share complete stories and messages. Many hospitality companies are trying to improve their customer care programs, yet how often do leaders and managers actually ask an hourly staff member to share a story about either an unhappy or very satisfied guest? Listening to the entire story could provide best practices that might be substantially more effective and less expensive than hiring a consultant.
2. Avoid the tendency to interrupt. General Managers are results oriented people who are looking for the bottom line. I know from personal experience the tendency to “hurry” people along is there, but allowing people to share the entire experience will encourage them to be more open.
3. Remember eye contact in conversations. One of my first mentors taught me a great deal about hospitality, but his habit of looking over my shoulder when we were talking always made me feel I was missing something. Give confidence to people with your eyes.
4. Collect and communicate these stories of success (and failures). Sharing these stories (appropriately) at meetings of all staff, at training sessions, in newsletters and more provides an incentive to people to want to contribute because they have learned that you really do care. I have seen some outstanding examples of “you tube” like testimonials from a number of hospitality companies of all sizes.
5. Remember this is not a game of “one-up.” As General Managers, we have likely been in the business longer or heard more stories and it is important to recognize that we should not try to offer one “better” story than the one we are hearing. Remember, MBWA is about “active listening.”
6. Credit the source. When we add a new resource, form or best practice to our hospitality membership site, we obtain permission first and then always make certain we credit them fully. Each of us has unique approaches, messages and talents and sharing the credit with our associates and guests is essential to moving forward.
7. Build trust by honestly listening. Some (correction, many) of the best suggestions I have ever heard as a manager or executive came from the people who are performing the job. I learned more about laundry sorting, washing pots and up-selling from people who were proud to be successful at what they were doing. Some of those suggestions needed clarification and some were not told as quickly as I might have preferred, but building teams means using all the team members’ strengths.
HOTEL COMMON SENSE was a phrase I learned from a great independent Vermont hotelier a generation ago,
Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Focus on MBWA
A challenge to every manager who is responsible for 5 or more people: measure your in and out of the office time and at the end of the week, see how much time you spent ACTIVELY INTERACTING with your team.
The goal is 70% of your time out of the office – how did you do?
What will you do next week?
As always, feedback is appreciated.
John J Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO
John@Hoganhospitality.com Office 480-436-0283 Cell 602-799-5375
Hotelier, Speaker, Educator, Author, Expert Witness