Get Off Of Your Device

Can today get any crazier? Multiple call outs, a never-ending reporting structure with deadlines, and due dates, guest challenges, social media feedback to address, and the recently received order has the most important items on back order. There are numerous calls to return, emails to respond to and a number of various messages to address on our device. Yes, the device that we cannot seem to put down. Our life line and some might consider our work spouse. We pick up our device first thing in the morning, throughout the day, during meals, in the middle of conversations, and sadly, it is the last thing we see or touch before going to bed. Walk around and really pay attention to what you see. Everyone is on their device while in line at the grocery store, during our kid’s events, the coffee shop, in the park, in the middle of the street, and unfortunately, while driving. Our devices have really taken residence in our lives. Every notification must be looked at immediately for fear of missing something. Our concentration is shattered because we continue to stop what we are doing to see what is on our device.

Now, what does this have to do with our career in the hospitality industry? Well, everything! For it is in the middle of our own chaos of trying to handle multiple fires that an associate seeks our attention. Now, this is seen as an interruption yet our mindset should see this an opportunity to provide insight. Someone actually needs a face to face interaction and frankly, this need should and must supersede anything else currently on our plates. Our staff is our single most important asset. They are our priority as Managers. We depend on them to report to work on a timely basis, serve as the front line towards the day-to-day challenges, and make our lives easier from their heroic actions. What should they receive in return? Our Undivided Attention!!!!! Let’s examine ways that we can focus on what is really important here compared to the continued obsession with our device. The worst thing you can do is to continue typing on your device while pretending to listen to another person.  Put down your device!

The message can wait though the need might not

Someone is in front of you. It may simply be a quick question, suggestion, or piece of information. It may require more attention towards discussing a concern or issue they may have. Whatever, the need, stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention. Listen so that you can learn what is going on from their perspective. It may be that you need to schedule an appointment and by all means, offer that suggestion. The key take away is to let the other person know thru your actions that they matter and their need is understood. Yes, I know that distractions happen and certain conversations are more along the lines of personal. However, you have a responsibility to determine the level of the need. We then decide if it requires immediate attention, delegation, or delay. However, it is crucial to provide the attention they deserve. Put down your device!

Leave the Device in the office

Okay, I recognize that there may be exceptions to this suggestions. Perhaps, this is the only method of communication throughout the facility. Be honest though; is it really necessary? If not, leave the device in the office. Walk around and focus your attention on what you see and more importantly, who you see. We will be pleasantly surprised at what is actually going on in front of us. I go back to the example of standing in line at a store or a movie theatre or even a restaurant. So many are disconnected by trying to stay connected. It seems the priority is staying on top of status updates, the latest fads, how to get rich, lose weight, or change our lives in 7 easy steps. What we are doing is missing out on opportunities, memories, and moments that can never be repeated. So it is in our hotels. We have so much to gain by paying close attention to what is going on around us. The staff is watching us and in many instances emulating the examples we set. Are we catching someone do something right while our faces are stuck in front of our devices? If our policies frown on our associates using their devices, why is it all right for our position to be “Do as I say and not what I do.” Put down your device!

Set The Tone

Is the culture set in a manner that benefits everyone? By maintaining an undivided attention, we gain in sight, learn progressive ways to solve challenges and impact sustainable momentum.  Face to face interactions, teachable moments, and a reputation of character set the tone for continued growth and development. Staying off of our devices allow our circle of influence to grow because of a mutual benefit towards a unified approach free of distractions. By resisting the urge to look at our device allows the forward motion to continue without delays and deviations.  Our tendency to start, stop, and try to pick back up creates un-necessary chaos and confusion. Set the tone towards making each moment count.

Yes, we have so many moving parts. All the more reason to focus on whatever is going on in front us. Our team members depend on us to set the stage towards excellence.  We are called upon to provide the necessary leadership to meet and exceed the goals and expectations.  Staying off our devices is the first line of defense towards ensuring we remain in the moment to create the moments that turn things in our favor. Put down the device!

Put The Device Away! 


Chris Adams
Chris Adams
CHRIS has over 30 years in the Hospitality Industry serving in a number of emerging and diverse roles. His specialty has been in the area of Staff Development, Organizational Enhancements, Task Force Management, and Public Relations. He has worked for several brands such as Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, and several Independents. An advocate for strong community relationships, Adams has served on numerous boards and Non-Profits in an effort to bridge certain gaps towards better understanding and inclusion for all. Additionally, Adams serves as a Legal Task Force Consultant assisting Law Firms in developing case positions via mock juries, selection, and development of media strategies. These efforts have provided further strength towards mediation and successful case resolutions

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  1. Thank you for this, Chris. I agree with you completely. Yes, we all – from the 4 year old to the 94 year old – need less screen time and more face time (flesh and blood face, not the iPhone app). The thing is, we have become accustomed to our phones being part of our anatomy and we are also accustomed to having instant response. We live in a microwave world where everything from gratification to printing widgets is instant. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying it is. I have disciplined myself to spend only a certain amount of time on social media each day. That item you mentioned about ” social media feedback to address” is how many of us interact today – and the goal of any network is to publish and hope someone reads it and responds. I am guilty of trying to fit too much response time into each day, and of course, failing miserably at both being present in the moment and helping keep engagement active. I have also disciplined myself to put my phone on the charger at 8:00 pm every night, turn the volume to mute, and not look at it again until 5:30 am. I have missed a few important messages, but eventually my family forgave me. It’s all about choosing and being willing to also live with the consequences. Life is short. The only way to make it our best life is to live in the present – and that means sometimes joined at the hip with our devices and sometimes turn them off. Discernment is irreplaceable.