The Hospitality Assured Programme forced us to look in detail at our operations, take stock of what we had in place and what we were doing. It allowed us to not only review and reflect on the quality and effectiveness of communication, systems, and procedures but also have frank and open discussions about issues, such as trust between team members, trust between the team and management. We were also able to look at disparities between expectations and reality which influence our relationships. In the service industry, building meaningful relationships with guests is critical but a prerequisite to that is having good internal relationships between the team members.
Hospitality Assured is not a traditional training programme. It did not teach us what to do but helped us to realise, through the very passionate discussions, what the issues were that held us back or had a negative impact on our performance. The various steps of the process provided us with a framework which allowed us to analyse our systems, enabling us to come up with solutions – suited specifically to our circumstances. There is no standard set of guidelines – each business must develop those for itself to suit its environment, clientele and circumstances: HA provides the guidelines, maps the path of how to arrive at these. The process provides clear direction and helped boost motivation and determination of all team members to work better together, to resolve the situation problems in order to achieve our goals.
In the process, we acknowledged what is going right, analyzed why it is going right and focused on trying to duplicate it in other areas. So, it was not only about the negatives but also focusing on the bright spots to motivate the team to believe that change is possible. This is a very important step in order to get everyone’s commitment and willingness to make the journey. It helped us to see that we are already part way there and that our goal is achievable.
The numerous discussions helped to improve understanding of each other and remove friction. In raising the bar, the H.A. programme forced us to break down the process of achieving our goals into doable, smaller, achievable steps. If our review process led us to the conclusion that some procedures needed modification, these were arrived at through group discussion and consensus. We ensured that the reasons for particular decisions and processes were understood by all. This increased team motivation and commitment.
Find the bright spots
Shrink the Change
Tweak the environment
Rally the team
Shireen Aga & Barbara Walker, co-owner and co-manager, Hotel Mockingbird Hill – Jamaica