When a half a second of action is better than half a day of talk

take_actionI think all hotel managers have moments where we think we have hit the wall and feel that we have not accomplished anything to improve our team’s mindset. This happens despite having spent time and energy running a variety of workshops, training sessions, discussion panels and projects to empower them to act independently. Has it all been for naught?

One typical example happened in a hotel during a morning briefing a couple of years ago. The hotel had just passed a safety and security audit, and as with any audit, they were given the result or in this case a “score” and recommendations for future improvement. The General Manager of the hotel took the report to the morning briefing to thank the staff for their hard work and to share a few of the findings to the respective department heads for rectification and follow up.

One of the recommendations that were given was that the luggage store room should have a CCTV camera with coverage of the luggage store entrance door. The General manager asked the Chief Engineer to look into this and to find or offer a viable solution. The Chief Engineer immediately responded that there are many challenges to overcome before a solution to this request could be found. He started explaining that he had no budget, and that the CCTV camera requires a special cabling that is not easily obtainable locally and would take at least a month to order.

The other management members started to look up when the Font Office manager interrupted and said, “Do you realize that there is a CCTV camera on the ceiling positioned just opposite of the luggage store room door?” But the Chief Engineer was now on a roll and directed his speech and attention to the Front Office Manager, reiterating that this was a highly complex issue about which they knew nothing about.

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At that point the General Manager stepped in and tried to clarify details about the CCTV camera. He asked the Front Office manager if he recalled what type of camera it was (bullet or dome). The Front Office manager responded that he thought that it was a bullet type (like a 15 cm tube/ pipe camera that is bolted to the ceiling). The GM said, “Wait a moment, I think this type of camera is mounted to a base with a fully retractable support.”

The Chief Engineer, at this point seemingly upset, said “Yes, but we have to follow the process and find or reallocate budgeted funds, obtain the necessary approvals, raise the Purchase Requisition and Purchase Order, then find at least three suppliers to compare pricing….”  He went on and on!

The General Manager stopped him saying, “Can we first check, before jumping to conclusions, whether we can turn the CCTV camera (or not) so that it points to the luggage room door since we have enough other cameras covering the lobby? It might be as easy as adjusting and turning the camera.”

Now the stressed Chief Engineer said, “OK I will handle it, but I will need to order cable. We will also need to check the existing camera to see if there is enough space in the false ceiling to pull the new cabling which will take at least two weeks to deliver.”

The General Manager concluded by saying that the Engineering team should take a look at it and come back with possible solutions. The briefing then moved on and closed shortly after. The GM went after the briefing to the lobby and turned in the corridor where the entrance door of the luggage room was. Sure enough, almost exactly opposite the luggage room was the camera.

He looked at it – raised his arm to reach it (the ceiling was not that high), grabbed the tube-like camera and gently but steadily turned its direction to point to the luggage store room door. Easy, peasy, and more importantly, job done!

Have these types of imagined roadblocks popped up at your meetings? Any suggestions on how to circumvent these conjured obstacles?




Tags: motivation, staff empowerment


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