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By David Lund

Who inspired you – Who was the one person in your career you would have done anything for?

Be you for a moment and re-live the experience you had when your career really took off. That place in your past that had you really growing and learning your craft at a rapid rate. You had someone in your world that was an inspiration, a bright light to follow. Some would call this person a mentor or a guide or adviser or a guru. This person took it upon themselves to help you find your way. And how exactly did they do this, what was their method or system to help you?

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

In the financial leader’s world this mentorship is a big deal and it is also a great way to learn how to delegate. When I was in learning and growing mode I had several mentors. Basically they were those ahead of me who would show me how to do something that I did not know how to do.

I recall one summer when my boss told me he was taking a month off and going on a big trip and while he was gone I was in charge—it was budget season! I would be responsible for the office, all the staff and their work, as well as my work. On top of all of that I needed to prepare next year’s budget for a 500-room hotel! Was he insane? How could he take a month off and dump all this on me? That was my original reaction. I thought, There is no way I can do all of this and prepare the budget as well. I had never prepared a budget before. This was a big problem. Or so I thought.

“I don’t have a problem with delegation. I love to delegate. I am either lazy enough, or busy enough, or trusting enough, or congenial enough, that the notion leaving tasks in someone else’s lap doesn’t just sound wise to me, it sounds attractive. John Ortberg

What was I to do to make this work?

Well, this is what happened. I had a good friend who was the executive chef in the same hotel. He was English and he had a wicked sense of humor. We would often meet at the end of the work day in his office for a cold beer. That’s right he had a fridge in his office and enough suppliers dropping by a gift now and then so he always had beer. On that day when I learned my boss was leaving on his big trip and leaving me all the work including the budget, I told my friend over a beer that I was pretty sure I was being dumped on and taken advantage of.

He laughed and said, “I guess you’re really screwed now!” We laughed.

He then said something I will never forget, “Michael and Ian are not stupid. They would not leave this with you if you were not ready.” I thought about what he said and it occurred to me that this was a BIG opportunity.

Learning how to pull all the information together for the budget and presenting and editing every piece with our General Manager was an amazing experience. I learned so much. The way he thought about each area and how far he could stretch that manager’s numbers. How he put all the pieces together, with my help to create a story that made so much sense, chapter by chapter.

If I was not left with the mess, I never would have learned what he taught me. Well, the month went by and when my boss returned the budget was done. Now it was time to present it to the corporate folks. I assumed that meant he would be on a plane in a couple of weeks to present the budget himself. Well, to my complete surprise, about a week after his return he came to me with an amazing offer.

He asked, “How would you like to go to Vancouver and present the budget?” WOW, that was not even on my radar. So, off we went—the General Manager and me—to present the budget to the corporate team, including the president of the company and several other very senior executives.

What an opportunity for me to shine. I bought a new suit and, boy, I was excited. The people I met in that board room on that day opened many doors for me and my career all because my boss delegated and believed in me.

Who are you believing in and who are you helping? Delegation for your nation. It’s the answer.

About David Lund

David Lund is The Hotel Financial Coach, an international hospitality financial leadership pioneer. He has held positions as a Regional Financial Controller, Corporate Director and Hotel Manager with Fairmont Hotels for over 30 years.

He authored an award-winning workshop on Hospitality Financial Leadership and has delivered it to hundreds of hotel managers and leaders. David coach’s hospitality executives and delivers his Financial Leadership Workshops throughout the world, helping hotels, owners and brands increase profits and build financially engaged leadership teams.

David speaks at hospitality company meetings, associations and he has had several financial leadership articles published in hotel trade magazines and he is the author of two books on Hospitality Financial Leadership. David is a Certified Hotel Accounting Executive through HFTP and a Certified Professional Coach with CTI.

For a complimentary copy of my guidebook on creating a finically engaged team in your hotel head over to my website, www.hotelfinancialcoach.com and don’t forget to email me david@hotelfinancialcoach.com for any of my free hospitality financial spreadsheets.

Contact: David Lund

david@hotelfinancialcoach.com / (415) 696-9593

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