Life 7: Celebrate Your Passion to Make a Difference

My hotel is about to complete the first phase of a multi-million dollar renovation. The amenities and the rooms will be brand new. My guests will receive a product with the functionality and cleanliness that they deserve. This unique product will be supported by the impeccable personalized service that we provide to each and every guest that enters our home. This is what we do because these are our guests; they are not only our profits, but also our pleasure. We treat our guests as we would want to be treated because we know hospitality. Our personalized service is the luxury you prefer in the style that you deserve. And don’t ever forget that we do this because we strive to ball out of control all the time!

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I pride myself on balling out of control at work. Generally, I run the show with sound judgment, prodigious guest satisfaction, and total control. By making the right decisions, in regards to the guests and my staff, I earn a level of respect from those around me, which is shown by positive guest comments and a smooth, efficient operation.

Unfortunately, the last few days have brought me back to the reality; despite striving to ball out of control, there are times where our service, product, and management are far from balling and definitely not out of control. My General Manager received two very explicit complaints that specifically singled out the level of service provided by my department. The first guest faults our communication skills while dealing with her issues, namely noise relating to our renovation, the power not working in her room, and ultimately the way we handled these problems. The second guest faults the basic functions of our job from top to bottom; a secret shopper caught us at a less than stellar moment where we failed from check-in to check-out with a variety of poor service moments, inclusive of a drop-and-go with luggage delivery, poor telephone etiquette, and lack of basic service standards.

Is this an aberration? Do we generally provide service that is superior with genuine guest satisfaction? Or in reality do the inmates run the asylum with whatever level of service they see fit while management is blind to what is taking place?

For myself, when I am well-rested, well informed, and working long hours, I have the fortitude of an ox, the mindfulness of a guru, the awareness of a scared cat. I know all the guest names and I am fully in control of all the interactions in my lobby, blips in my property management system, and acutely aware of every action or incident on property. I am asking the right questions of my staff, anticipating guest issues before they happen, preparing every other department to assist as necessary, and ready for any unexpected occurrences. When I am prepared to do what it takes to make every single guest happy, my staff is a well-oiled machine with my building in perfect alignment.

Balling out of control in my job requires careful attention to detail with view of the big picture; very deferential judgment operating under the assumption that the guest is always right and always telling the truth; and a management style that toes the line between being overly nice, yet stern with the staff, all the while, leading by example. The fact is I get myself into trouble because I am too nice. It frequently prevents me from balling out of control. For some reason, I assume that others can’t do their job, can’t be on time, or can’t make the right decisions, because they are sleep deprived, lazy, or careless. I assume that they know better. I assume that they are capable of completing certain tasks without supervision and constant attention. I assume that they love their job as much as I do and have the same desire to ball out of control all the time. I assume that they know what it means to ball out of control and know exactly what should be happening at every single moment. I assume that they are passionate about making a difference.

The fact is that if everyone was able to celebrate their passion to make a difference we would all be balling out of control in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, the performance of the staff, me included, is plagued by burn-out, poor management, sloppy judgment, and general lack of care. Ironically, mostly due to sleep deprivation and overall lack of motivation. When I get stressed out it’s because I am not aware of the essence of every moment, and generally it’s because I am tired. It’s easy to fall in the routine of work when you work long hours driven by hotel occupancy and daily cycles rather than your own pace. Sometimes I forget that I can just move at the pace of work and take my personal time when it’s slow. Unfortunately, my passion to make sure that everything is running smoothly, leads me to dive right into the next task with no regard for my physical well being or life outside of the concrete building I call home.

Now, you can analyze my job and even read below “A Night Among Nights,” and try to learn what it means to ball out control in the hospitality industry. But the fact of the matter is that hospitality is only the example that I know best. Balling out of control is possible in every single industry. Simply celebrating your passion to make a difference in the workplace will allow you to ball out of control! What are the criteria that will allow you to stop just doing a good job, or getting the job done, but actually ball out of control? How can you expand your box of possibilities at work and really make every single moment count? Where are the inefficiencies that are points of frustration, stress, and burn-out? Where are the communication breakdowns? Why does the staff lack motivation and seem to not care? What does it take for you to ball out of control in your job?


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