Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Four Most Important Words in the Hospitality Industry

"It' all about relationships"

I’ve had the benefit of working with and for some amazing people who impacted me in various ways as I progressed through the management ranks on my way to becoming a General Manager of Hotels, but there is one individual who stands out among the rest.

I worked at the Fairmont Empress Hotel (then Canadian Pacific Hotels actually) from 1990 to 1998 in a variety of positions that culminated in my becoming the Director of Operations for the property, under the Regional Vice President at the time – John Williams.

I worked under John for about three years, and I learned a great deal from him, every day. Given that he had the responsibility for the BC Region, which at the time included five hotels in all, he gave me a great deal of latitude to run the Hotel on a day to day basis, which I both appreciated and benefited from, but it was an informal conversation over coffee one day that had the greatest impact on my career from that point on.

John invited me into his office one morning as I was walking by his door on the way to my own office. I confess that as much as I remember that morning and the impact of what I learned that day, I do not recall the original topic that generated our conversation that morning.

Regardless, at some point, John put down his coffee cup, took off his glasses, settled back into his chair and in his James Mason like proper English, looked at me and said, “it’s all about relationships” Dale, “it’s all about relationships,” and he was of course right.

You might think this seems really obvious, and if you do then you probably figured this out a long time ago, but I have come across a great many people who do NOT get it, and just don’t see how valuable it is to form relationships with people. It doesn’t matter who, your staff, your peers, your clients, regardless, creating real, meaningful relationships with these people, all people that you come in contact with, is invaluable, and is really the key to success, no matter how you choose to measure success.

I’ve had the chance to share John’s words of wisdom to many, many young department heads and sales managers over the years, as I have been able to translate his wisdom into real life examples for these people, and I have seen the light bulb go on over their heads when they understand what I am trying to share with them, and it has created some of my favourite moments in this business, those great moments when you “pay it forward” in the same way that someone once did for you.

Thanks John . . .

1 comment:

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