How reinforcing the simple team concept can lead your hotel to greater success. Now that I have your attention: If you are caught up like a good part of America with the football playoffs at this time of the year, as well as all the hoopla surrounding the story of Tim Tebow and his passion, beliefs and success in winning last-minute football games (despite the Denver Broncos’ loss this past weekend), then you might see some similarities in this story. Call it old-fashioned, the rah rah spirit or corny enthusiasm, Tebow may seem like he is from another planet or era because his demeanor is different than is common in today’s world. He turns back the clock to the “old days,” when players and co-workers actually liked each other, believed in each other, cared for each other and played the game or worked together to accomplish the same goal.
I was very fortunate to work for a company “back in the day” that had many of the same beliefs and values of working together – which meant success for us. Caring for one another was our most important value, and because of that we literally could accomplish anything! We all must have drank the Kool-Aid; while the guest was still the most important aspect of our existence, our mutual respect for each other in making sure we had a successful event, week or month of business, led to everyone sharing in the “aura” of success and gratitude.
Our vision was dubbed strange by some who thought we would be a one trick pony or flash in the pan, and that more traditional hotels and conservative attitudes were what guests wanted. We didn’t get caught up in the negativity and comparisons to other brands and competitive companies at the time, but looked to find our own way and direction, in spite of the criticisms and cynicism. We forged ahead developing signature, proprietary hotels and restaurants that appealed to guest’s desires and demographics, and we didn’t ask our staff to fit the mold, but rather enjoy the experience and at the same time make sure the guest knew we were sincere in our efforts to take care of them and at their pleasure. If one department was “in the weeds,” no questions asked, other staff came willingly to assist – no matter whose official responsibility it was, the optimum goal was to assist the other teammates in their time of need.
When there was team members questioned why we all were so friendly towards each other, they were given a “big-brother” or “big-sister” to help guide and educate them on the “one for all, all for one” concept. If for some inexplicable reason the team member just didn’t grasp the concept, they were offered a transfer to another hotel, almost like trading football players in exchange for ones who got the message and wanted to play on a team.
The company had a great run, was the darling of the hospitality industry in its day and groomed some great leaders, hoteliers and individuals, some of whom have gone on to other organizations, and sadly some who left us too soon. We coined concepts, simple buzzwords and touches, but most of the magic was really unspoken, as always we all knew in the back of minds that we all were playing on the same team for the right reasons.
In watching the way the world and media questioned with great skepticism the successful run Tim Tebow had this season and how he does what he does, one only has to realize what he has helped create in his team were people who actually cared about each other and would all benefit by their mutual success. His intangibles, enthusiasm and charisma have become infectious on not only his team, but also in Denver with the team’s fans, and indeed nationwide.
One could only just imagine if our hotel companies and managers today could learn from the Tebow experience, concerning the team concept, sharing of the belief that working together would yield the best results and success ratio for all concerned. I am sure that some people might say that they do work together and try their best to please the guest, but really how many times is that openly discussed and at the end of the day, can you look back and pat yourself on the back or give a high five to the last person you see before you leave the property? To quote John Fox, Head Coach of the Denver Broncos at the end of the team’s first-round playoff win in overtime: "This is why you do it," Fox said. "It's not about money. It's not about whatever. It's moments like tonight.” Ah the Tebow Aura!