change

Accidental Change

In the early days of driving we didn’t take drinks with us in cars. We had drinks…and we had cars. But they didn’t work well together. The business of driving a car required virtually all of our faculties. And the ride was such that taking any unsealed liquid was a pants stain waiting to happen. Interestingly we didn’t seek to develop automatic transmissions, power windows and smoother suspensions to make it easier to drink in cars. But those unrelated advancements did change that outcome. Cupholders exist because of changes in comfort, and having a free hand…which were the result of longer trips and so on.

Change isn’t just direct..if we do this, we get that. There’s a lot of bumping into other things along the way. Study almost any innovation and it’s likely a series of unrelated causes led to the outcome. Not just one planned path. 

Curiosity, desire and action lead to change…maybe even the outcome we were seeking. But maybe something even better…something we could have never imagined. The good stuff doesn’t always come from a plan. Accidents happen…and sometimes they are good. Please go create some.

Selling an Idea

…is often like selling someone a meal when they’re not hungry. You’re offering a solution to a problem they don’t have…yet. But what if you could create a version of the future so compelling, so interesting and legacy driven that you could gain enrollment to go there? And what if you could take responsibility for getting past the obstacles that stand in the way? What if you did the heavy lifting?

Big ideas often come with hard work and risk. But they are necessary for meaningful change. Your job isn’t to sell the idea. It’s to lead the charge to get there.  

A Culture of Help

Your goals aren’t nearly as important as the ones of the people around you.

A posture of generous and caring commitment to people on your team is the most effective way, perhaps the only way, to fulfilling your own dreams…because people naturally want to help those that help. 

Leading change is really hard to do on your own. Gaining enrollment from others may be even harder…unless you commit to seeing them first.

Create vs. Consume

Change happens when we create...when new things get done.  We have more tools than ever before to connect, invent, solve problems and learn. Yet change is often left to the few, the more educated, the more powerful and those with better jobs. Simultaneously, consumption and the resulting distractions are at an all-time high. What was once reserved for TV hour at the end of the day has morphed into a constant and immediate flow of noise. Entertainment is fine, actually necessary, to keep the mind fresh…and to make life fun. But the consumption creep we are experiencing is a bad trajectory. People are learning less, making less and doing less at the expense of being entertained and informed. Too bad there’s so little signal…and so much noise. 

If you’re not busy creating something original, making something (that might not work) and leading change you’re wasting a wonderful chance…and we need you. 

Go create…and leave the consumption to those other people.

The World Needs You

...to change it.

The human condition is a gift. The chance to be creative, imaginative, angry, persistent and happy should not be wasted or lost in a life of meaningless wandering. Rather each of us has the opportunity and the power to change something...to make a dent in the universe. But most people settle in because they take "changing the world” too literally. They believe that short of a Nobel prize the effort is wasted…better to leave to someone else...someone smarter, more powerful, wealthy or more creative. The truth is that all big, world stage, changes start small with someone taking a leap and acting on an idea. And almost every time these little steps are not calculated to end up as world changers…at least not the entire world. They begin as adjustments on a much smaller stage, the neighborhood, the school or department. Eventually some of these small steps get traction and spread to a bigger stage. But many don’t…and that’s okay. One smile is as meaningful as a million. 

So go ahead…make a ruckus in your slice of the world. Who knows what will happen next.

Breaking Tradition

People change. Expectations change. The market forces us to get better and constantly improve. Hospitality offerings today are much different (and mostly better) than they used to be...new trumps old. Tradition evolves.

Most of us care enough to adjust practices to adapt to ever changing service expectations. Generally, we understand that if we don't change, someone new is going to come along and take our place. But, as you venture away from center...away from the core group delivering the experience...this comprehension depreciates. And sometimes, quite rapidly.

I recently sat in on some property management software training, specifically the "front desk" module. The very first thing I noticed...in the check-out screen, the cursor begins in the "room number" field. So, I asked the trainer..."can we change it so the cursor begins in the name field?"..."no, can't do it without rewriting the program code." Great, so we've been asking our front line employees to use guest names instead of room numbers for as long as I can remember, but the software can't be changed to accommodate that. Ridiculous. Obviously, the software company isn't selling hospitality, they're selling program code, check-out efficiency, i.e., software. They're stuck on traditional means and methods. And, that's a huge problem.

What's the biggest obstacle to delivering restaurant quality meals in a banquet setting? Probably moving the food from a central kitchen to the meeting room, and holding it until the group is ready to eat. So, why not design a mini kitchen at or near each meeting room allowing food to go from oven to plate to guest along an uninterrupted path? That would eliminate hot carts and allow you to cook to order (not from scratch). Too expensive? Not when you factor in how many people are going to leave your events completely underwhelmed...having experienced yet another mediocre banquet meal. Is the kitchen consultant selling hospitality...or kitchen equipment? Is the chef pushing you to deliver a meaningful dining experience? Or, are these people stuck in tradition?

If building strong relationships with your current customers is the key to finding new ones, why isn't your marketing firm pushing you to find ways of developing a permission asset? Why aren't they requiring you to ask every current customer to stay in touch? Why aren't they pushing you to spend more on creating newsletters, personal email communications, blogs and handwritten thank you notes than traditional advertising campaigns? Why aren't they moving you out of traditional marketing and into new marketing?

We're pretty good at evolving our own troops and motivating people to deliver better results. But, what about those companies we rely on as partners? Are they pushing us and moving us forward? Or, are they taking an easier more traditional path just to sell their product or earn a fee?