by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
IN A previous article of mine, I made the following observation:
There are many general managers, hotel CEOs, owners, and other high executives in the hospitality industry who are in this business solely for the money—I’ve met and know several of them, and I feel sorry for them, for even though they may get rich from their efforts, they will never be happy with that effort; they will be incapable of feeling any sense of accomplishment, any sense that what they’ve done means anything.
And earlier today, while taking a trip through cyberspace, I came across the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
These two observations point out the gulf that exists when measuring success.
On the one hand, we have the people that measure success from a materialistic point of view—they made and have lots of money and they live the lifestyle of the “rich and famous”; their success is visible to outsiders.
On the other hand, we have the people who measure success on a more personal material and emotional level—they give of themselves, their time, their treasure for the betterment of others; their success is measured by others, for they themselves don’t think about their own success.
Both groups make money, but only the second group uses its money wisely.
I’m not talking about conscious altruism here, either; I’m talking about a people who receive a genuine pleasure, blessing, or feeling of self-satisfaction when they accomplish the goals and/or ideals they’ve set for themselves.
To put it simply, if what I do brings a smile, contentment, solace, joy, happiness, a dream come true to one or more people, then I have made my stay on this earth worthwhile.
There is nothing wrong with making money—I am a firm free market believer.
Plus, this article is not about the evils of the love of money, but about other ways of measuring success.
Especially success in the hospitality business, or in any business that provides a service.
I’ve been in the hospitality—hotel/restaurant/convention—business for over forty years—most of it right here in Las Vegas, with a smattering of earlier years in other parts of the United States and overseas.
And if there is anything I’ve learned over that span of years, is that what gave me the best satisfaction, the best feeling of joy, the best feeling of life—rather than existence—the best feeling of self-worth, or, as Abraham Maslow would say, the best feeling of self-actualization, it was in the satisfied faces of the people whose dreams I helped to come true.
And make no mistake about it, the hospitality industry is in the business of helping to make dreams come true for people—whether it is a great night’s sleep, a place to “chill out,” a place to “cool off,” a place to “think things through,” a place to “get away from it all”; a place to conduct a successful business deal, a memorable convention; a primo gathering place for friends, or a place for a family reunion; or a great meal, or, at its simplest—perhaps—an inordinately good cup of coffee served with brio at four o’clock in the morning in the hotel’s coffee shop.
Whatever the occasion, your success will be measured by your guests against all other like experiences.
If you are found wanting, you have failed in your success; if you bring good feelings to your guests, you will have earned your success.
It’s a daily battle; a constant battle that requires the utmost attention to detail in all aspects and actions of the people and place you are in charge of.
If profit is your main goal, you will fail yourself—that’s a guarantee.
If service is your main goal, you will succeed—that, also, is a guarantee.