The chapter below is an excerpt from my new book. It’s fiction but some of the characters and story lines are based on people I have worked with and events that have taken place in the hotels I have worked in. The book is a fable about a hotel manager who has some very bad habits. He must change in order to survive and the book takes him and you through the lessons needed to be a great hospitality financial leader. I’m writing ahead each month so I’m not sure how the book will end. I hope you enjoy it and if you missed any earlier chapters you can find them on my website blog tab.
The weekly executive committee meeting in my hotel is a mainstay in how I approach managing the hotel and keeping my team in tow.
I have a system that we follow. I start by giving them an update on any owner or brand information and then we go around the room in a clockwise fashion, one by one and the leaders all give their updates.
What really sets me off the most is when I hear the same story week after week. I sometimes lose my patience and single out that individual. This is never pretty. I mean what do they expect? I want my managers to do what I tell them. It’s not rocket science. When they don’t live up to expectations, I need to do my job.
Just this week James, our director of maintenance, updated us at the executive meeting that yes, once again, the ongoing repairs to the second boiler were behind schedule. The parts were delayed, and the work was completely stopped. The hotel’s hot water was limping along and two mornings in the last week we had guest complaints.
What kind of moron would shut down the boiler to see what parts are needed only to find out the parts would take two weeks to be sourced and delivered?
Doesn’t anyone think before they make such a move? So, I ask James, what is the plan for the weekend? What will we do for additional hot water as we have a full house? James looks at me like I just asked him to go to the ballet with me.
Stunned, he mumbles that he didn’t know what the problem was with the boiler before it was taken down so there is no way he could have planned ahead. This is what I mean by the same story week after week. If you run maintenance, it is your job to know what’s up with the boiler before you take it offline and put my hotel out of hot water.
James counters that there is no way to tell as all he knew was the boiler was losing pressure and that means shut it down and investigate, then order parts and repair.
With this ultra-scientific explanation, I lose it. I say to him, you’re so incredibly stupid! Any four-year-old can do what you just described to me. I expect someone with your responsibility and position to have a much better plan. How could you put this hotel in such a situation without a guarantee that a lack of hot water would not be the result?
My team is silent as I have my way with James. James is a good guy, but I am sick of his lack of attention to what really matters and it’s my job to show him where he is falling short. There are no attempts to save James. They all know better.
When I am done scolding James, we have a hot water plan for the weekend. He is putting the boiler back together with the old parts to get more water heated. He tells me there is no guarantee that the boiler will function as the combustion chamber is cracked and the heat exchanger is also suspect. With this I simply look out the window and pretend I don’t hear him. Such incompetence. Why do I have to endure this and when will he get his sh$! together? Probably never, that’s why he is in the basement running the crew and I am the GM.
The following day I get a purchase order for the work that was needed to put the boiler back together from the outside vendor: $7,500. See what I mean, it’s the same thing time and time again? People don’t think ahead, they don’t plan, and I have to get involved and fix it!