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Reviving Work Ethic:
How Employee Initiative Makes One High Rise Hotel Rise a Little Higher

by Eric Chester
October 2012

The breakfast is scheduled for 7:30 and, so far, I don’t see any of the meeting attendees milling around. Before heading into the ballroom to meet with the AV technician who’s there to help me set up for my 8:30 keynote, I decide to grab a cup of coffee and a light breakfast.

As I approach the breakfast buffet area that’s been prepared for the 120 meeting attendees I’ll soon be presenting for, I take notice of the artwork in my presence.
The sweetener at the coffee station has been attractively arranged with each packet facing the same direction, not casually thrown into the serving dish as is common at most hotels and coffee shops.

I’m no chef, but I know that these packets didn’t come from the supplier boxed in neat little rows.

I think, “Geez, that took some time and effort.”

Next, I glance at the buffet table and notice the napkin-wrapped silverware sets aren’t simply dropped into a basket at the beginning of the line. No, these sets are stacked neatly like Lincoln Logs forming five separate, but even mini-towers.

“Was Frank Lloyd Wright on the crew this morning?” I wonder.

Behind me is the Oatmeal station and at first glance, I’m now feeling like I should have paid admission to the gallery’s curator.

The bowls are stacked in equal columns, each row descending in height. The row closest to the large container of oatmeal has each symmetrical column capped by one bowl that tilts outward like a smiling sunflower to greet the guest. The dishes of assorted mix-ins (raisins, nuts, brown sugar, etc.) are also geometrically arranged with care, and the serving spoons and ladles in each are all pointing in the exact same direction.

"Why this table appears to have been arranged by Michelangelo, himself," I surmise.

How Work Ethic Impacts the Guest Experience
This breakfast buffet art didn’t happen in a hurry, and it didn’t happen by accident. This value-added guest experience has been orchestrated by professionals who personify work ethic and love what they do; and it shows!

I’m at the new Hilton Bayfront, one of the three towering hotels that back to the San Diego Bay. I’ve had the good fortune to stay at the other two; the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Marriott Marquis, and all are magnificent properties. But the banquet captain at the Hilton Bayfront realizes that to win business in the highly competitive meetings and events industry, it’s going to take more than nice rooms with stunning views and good food.

He knows the little things will make his high rise rise a little higher. So he empowers his staff to take charge, to be creative, and to personally sign their name to everything they do with great pride.

“Inviting my people to take initiative compels them to do more, to work harder, and to focus on surpassing guest expectations,” Adam told me. “In the process, they give all they have and they enjoy what they do a little more!”

Granted, most of the meeting attendees won’t notice the art around them this morning. But some will. And among those who do might be someone who is influencing a decision for where her company’s next big meeting or annual convention will be held, or where his daughter will host her wedding reception.

And in that moment, the true value of the artisans on the banquet team at the Hilton Bayfront will be revealed.

About the author:
As a keynote speaker, Eric Chester holds the prestigious CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) credential awarded by the National Speakers Association, its highest earned designation. He is a 2004 inductee into the CPAE (Council of Peers Award of Excellence) International Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor shared by less than 2% of all professional speakers in the world.


Reviving Work Ethic, Inc.
10698 W 12th Lane
Lakewood, CO 80215
303-239-9901 fax

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