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Would you like to make your Organization the best? Here's how!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 6 July 2017
Organizations we work in are much more than structures of mortar, glass and steel. They are actually living things that breathe, inhale and exhale energy and embody characteristics and emotions mirroring all of us who come in and work here. The kind of Organizations we represent can be underlined in three important constituent elements -  Progressive Organizations as edifices of good energy.  Complex Organizations as matrixes of dynamic traits and mindsets of its workforce.  Individual-focused Organizations with significance to the unique disposition and value that each of us brings. We, as complex beings, need to be mindful of all these elements. Progressive Organizations as edifices of good energy People-centric organizations such as hotels, hospitals, educational institutions and the like are a world unto themselves. These are people-rich businesses like no other - both on the inside and out - such that for them to be a successful and harmonious venture there must be thor

Surefire ways to kill your business and reputation!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Business is built on trust inculcated in the customer for the products the businesses sell. The success factor of any business depends on the brand value that the Business promises to deliver to the guest. This value is always defined from the perspective of the guest. The smooth running and profitability of any business is based on the efficient, hitch free movement of the supply chain taken care of by capable and diligent employees who own their roles and embody the essence of the brand principles. It is employees who aim to raise their own standard of work and attitude to the level of an exemplary Brand Ambassador, that are the treasured lot upholding the Brand reputation and ensuring a healthy bottom-line. When these Brand Ambassadors do not uphold the brand flag and become less than competent and conscientious, the Brand value of the business, the Brand promise to the guest, Brand loyalty from the guests and Brand reputation in the minds of all stakeholders take a nosedive

Rule # 2 to be an Outstanding Professional!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Organizations are really microcosms of the larger world we inhabit; with a dense matrix and complicated equations. We bring our individual personas cloaked in a professional garb into the work space. We enmesh our personal attributes, values and inclinations with the organizational culture and ethos. Those organizations that create an atmosphere of harmony between the values of the individual and the company always turn out to be successful enterprises. And those where dissonance rules the roost, not only stay nothing more than revolving doors for the employees but also perform miserably in the financial terms appearing poor in their business standing.

Rule # 1 to be an Outstanding Professional!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
We live in the times of Life coaches and Professional evangelists who spin yarn after yarn of traditional wisdom into new fabric to use as a mental veil or forehead blinkers for their followers. Yes, most of what they say or write goes to develop more of a herd mentality than serve to open up our minds. In the same vein the business model that started with the likes of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale, with the Commercial industry of Self help books, has only made these Help Gurus richer. The fad is so pervasive and continuing that there has to be at least one ‘How To’ book on our night stands even today.

Five Basic Steps to stay ahead of Competition in 2017 and beyond!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Hospitality is a dynamic business that runs double speed just to stay firmly in place. It is, forever, under the influence of forces that urge it to embrace change more frequently than most other industries. First of all, it is the customer base that demands change or updation continually; then the other hotels in the region or elsewhere that push you to look within and finally the times that tend to get dated faster than you can plan and implement.

24 Fundamental Principles to help you Stay Ahead!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Perhaps the strongest trait that I have carried with me throughout my professional journey is having a ‘Fresh pair of eyes.’ When I sought to move from an Embassy job to the hotel industry, Hyatt International took a chance with me, bringing a rank outsider into a team of experienced hoteliers. What helped was my deep sense of curiosity about everything around me, which translated into an eagerness to learn the ropes of a new trade, and to acquire the skills needed for me to ‘give my best shot’ in terms of the defined KRAs.

Five things that will always stay in style in Hoteliering!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Marketers shape our demands by enticing us with their company’s R&D and innovation. There is always the latest trend, fad or gizmo vying for our wallet. But the marketers know that regardless of the novelty, the snazziness, the glitz and the glamour; all their products will have to go through the tried and tested touchstone of purpose, use, relevance and effectiveness. Perhaps that may be the number one reason, why companies bring back on demand the bygones as the newest fad in an almost cyclic fashion.

Why do Professionals GOSSIP!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 5 July 2017
Gossip, almost always, has a negative connotation. Yet, we continue to engage in it, both personally and professionally. While ‘small talk’ or ‘blether-blather’ on a personal level is detrimental too; on a professional level it begins to assume disastrous proportions. Still, there continue to be hushed conversations at the Water cooler, free-wheeling un-bonafide exchanges in the Locker, unabashed and unsubstantiated chinwags in cubicles and perilous Chinese whispers that educate and inform little, entertain some and damage a whole lot more. The most common definition of Gossip is that it is ‘idle chatter’ or ‘dirty linen’ and it is called so for a reason. We all know whose workshop an idle mind is and Chatter does not even have the respectability of conversation. So why do we still plunge into it?

The Ultimate Luxury Hoteliering 101! Part 2

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
What is it that the luxury traveller really seeks from his hotel experience? When money is not the consideration, what do premium places of stay bring out on the silver platter to this discerning set of guests for whom luxury is a way of life? How do you define luxury in hospitality? Is it the history or reputation, location or view, brand value or affiliation, star employees or infrastructure and furnishings, the period furniture you sleep and rest on, the crystal ware, silverware, precious metal flatware you eat and drink from, the finest fittings and fixtures that assist you as you relax or conduct your usual business. In reality, the luxury world of hoteliering is all this and more. While all of the above aspects make the luxury brand stand apart from competition also within their genre, the bottom line for top-of-the-line luxury rests on the time-tested virtues that truly are very basic in the business of hospitality - cleanliness, efficiency, very well-trained and knowled

The Ultimate Luxury Hoteliering 101! Part 1

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
I was recently invited by a leading Hospitality Industry Portal to offer my thoughts on how hotels can provide the best brand experience for their guests; what really goes into true customer satisfaction and what do the world’s best hotels really do, so discerningly, to be slotted as top luxury hotel companies? It set me thinking about what hotels think is a luxury experience for their guests, vis-à-vis the guests’ actual expectation of luxury. Is it the Carrara marble carted all the way from Italy, the bespoke scent developed in step with a celebrated Parfumer, glasses blown especially by a lineage rich craftsman in Murano, the exquisite crystal from Baccarat, the priceless lights from Lalique, the made-to-order toiletries from Bvlgari?

Professional Traits that define a Leader!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
Leaders in a group, community, company or country have a huge responsibility to carry on their professional shoulders. Always in the public and camera eye, they seem to be working in a glass cubicle and hence must remain answerable, accountable, effective and exemplary. Leadership is not usually a legacy that we are bestowed upon with. It is a role we aspire to, work towards and attain through experience, intelligence, astuteness and by proving our usefulness for the bigger responsibilities such a stature brings.

What Do the World's best Hotels and Hoteliers have in Common? Part 2 - The Brand 'Big Picture'!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
Hoteliering is indeed an exciting line of business, far detached from the ho-hum and banality of a lot of other businesses. There is never a dull moment, with each department running itself into a frenzy of heightened activity. There is always that mad dash to deliver the service to the most discerning of guests and to present the brand values in the best way possible.

What Do the World's best Hotels and Hoteliers have in Common? Part 1 - The Brand Basics!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
The business of hoteliering dates back to the time when the first explorer trudged into a strange, undiscovered land and, wishing to put up his tired, over-wrought feet on a comfortable bed, sauntered into a kind man’s front yard seeking a bed for his body and bread for his hungry stomach. Or perhaps, it all began with the wandering cowboy in the Wild West, who wishing to escape the law, sought refuge on the top floor of a drinking salon, paying for the shave, rounds of drink and a meal before he rode off. Whatever may have been the first reason for its genesis, man soon realized that this was a lucrative business that he could get into.

What Does an Iconic Hotel look like? Part 2 - The 'soul' of a Brand!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
Moving up their own Maslow’s Pyramid of “existential” Hierarchy, hotels have been differentiating themselves from each other, some famously growing to rise to the top of the competitive heap to become the finest, the best, and the iconic. The Raffles in Singapore, The Peninsula in Hong Kong, the Oriental in Bangkok, The Ritz in Paris, the Beverly Hills Hotel in California, Copacabana Palace in Brazil, Hotel Cipriani in Venice – are all icons and legends. So what makes them so?

What Does an Iconic Hotel look like? Part 1 - The 'substance' of a Brand!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
The business of hoteliering, perhaps, dates back to the time when the first explorer trudged into a vacant room seeking refuge in order to rest and recuperate. With growing demand and a motley bag of customers who came with their distinct charter of needs and wishes, the ‘hoteliers’ began evolving. The professional hotel owners began to define and refine what – just a place to stay in and eat at – could begin to mean and deliver. With every pioneering entrant’s stroke of genius, talent and serendipitous discovery there began distinctions and classifications that set one apart from the other; while still serving the basic needs of food and shelter.

THE SWANK AND SWAGGER OF NEW MEDIA!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
The real-time value of New Media is unsurpassed. Everything in it happens in the realm of “here and now.” Your news is as new or old as your last post or blog or tweet. Sites such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube have heralded the coming in of Web 2.0 – a whole new world that provides excellent chances and opens up new vistas for a Media Manager. With the onset of Social Media in the arena of media coverage and planning, a PR Professional must be adept at handling each of these avenues.

Earn your stripes first! Top Resolution of a True Professional!

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
You know the three jobs that have been continuously downgraded, bastardised and undermined in the millennial are easily - the Writer, the Professional Speaker and the Life Coach (the last being, a tad reprehensibly, dire need and invention of the Millennium). To my chagrin, anybody claims to be a writer these days. Just as everybody wants to ride the speaking /coaching gravy boat! A woman who has plagiarized content into a chapter and has got it inserted into a book - which is a series of chapters 'authored' by different people - through her social networking skills calls herself an author. In the same vein, journalists turning compilations of their articles into book form are being called authors.

SOCIAL MEDIA - IS IT EMPOWERING OR OVERPOWERING?

Power of Public Relations - By L. Aruna Dhir - 4 July 2017
As a PR & Communications Specialist, published poet, Hospitality Features writer and a to-be-published author, I really do understand the importance of setting priorities, maintaining discipline, being focused, consistently perseverant and goal oriented. Giving vent to seed-germination-plant theory, I place enough weightage on the fact that every action was once a noble thought that was nudged out of the crevices of the mind by strong will, determination, diligence assisted ably by hard work and creativity.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

Would you like to make your Organization the best? Here's how!

L. Aruna Dhir - 27 June 2017
Organizations we work in are much more than structures of mortar, glass and steel. They are actually living things that breathe, inhale and exhale energy and embody characteristics and emotions mirroring all of us who come in and work here.The kind of Organizations we represent can be underlined in three important constituent elements -Progressive Organizations as edifices of good energy.Complex Organizations as matrixes of dynamic traits and mindsets of its workforce.Individual-focused Organizations with significance to the unique disposition and value that each of us bring.We, as complex beings, need to be mindful of all these elements.Progressive Organizations as edifices of good energyPeople-centric organizations such as hotels, hospitals, educational institutions and the like are a world unto themselves. These are people-rich businesses like no other - both on the inside and out - such that for them to be a successful and harmonious venture there must be thoroughly trained and rightly attuned ladies and gentlemen serving discerning ladies and gentlemen (borrowing from and re-phrasing Ritz Carlton Hotel Company's Rule of Business).A Progressive Organization is where we can achieve more than we could in a mediocre one. A Progressive Organization buzzes with happy employees and happier guests! In contrast, commonplace organizations are those where the only thing that attracts the guests is the off-season discounts.We all have worked in both kinds of organizations. There, really, is no ideal organization but both companies, leaders and the team endeavour to make it a win-win place by benchmarking brand values and evolving the brand ethos.Most of us want to work with wonderfully progressive organizations with utopian work environments without realizing that each of us is an essential cog in the corporate wheel. We as micro components and as a whole make the hotel or any other Company what it is - whether in tandem or in conflict with the hotel's parent philosophy.We must do a lot of internalization and introspection in order to make our organizations optimum places to be in. So, the buck must stop with us and not the Hotel owner, Corporate Training Manager, the General Manager or our Department Head alone. Organizations are complex Every place has its mixed dynamics as much as there are a mesh of people who work there and bring in their set of values, drives and energies adding to or depleting the corporate culture.I used to lament about the deep-rooted politics, credit-stealing, clique driven and yes-man culture in one of my previous hotels. And now when my niece talks of her experience with a SwissMNC or a progressively Indian Legal Services / Development sector and my husband brings his woes from the Consumer Durables line of business, I notice that things are not very different.And that the more the companies may be different in their areas and appeal, the more they are the same in their cultural dynamics.In the hospitality industry, the issue is compounded by the power of ten. After all, it is a business of the people, by the people, for the people; to shamelessly borrow from one of Abraham Lincoln's famous thoughts. No organization is immune to the extremely complex and intriguing four categories that a group of people put together in a common work environment bring in, viz. - There are great and efficient workers with questionable personal attributes.There are excellent people with poor set of work related skills.There are pathetic workers with deplorable personas, ANDThere are wonderful, top notch colleagues with exemplary attitudes.It is, indeed, a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings depending on the personal and professional characteristics of the people in question. Our response to them, our kinetics of equations at work and the interconnected web of relationships therein is a result of the chain of reactions set off by each of these conductors. Isn't it?Individual-focused OrganizationsThis finally brings us to the most important element. We, ourselves!Individual-focussed Organizations encourage the zeal and enthusiasm individuals bring to the table. Such companies fuel the passion of high performing individuals and charge up the fire-in-the-belly of employees who strive for excellence and optimal result orientation.Passion for one's work ensures that the tiller paves smoothly all the paths that lead to his work or Goal. Be it, then, the path of wisdom or desire or honesty or punctuality or efficiency or being not just able to lead but also always blend well with the team.Enthusiastic employees arm themselves with the essential requisites for the road ahead - such as education or experience - and keep them well honed.And, if it weren't for the fire-in-the-belly, then serendipity, creative genius, excellence, going beyond the brief and the marvel in the mundane would well be lost.Individual-focussed Organizations recognize this and inculcate such an environment where these attributes thrive and grow.ConclusionKeeping all the above three cogs of the big wheel well oiled and continuously serviced will ensure a smooth and long professional ride in a self-promoted conducive work environment; colour, caste, creed, character, cultural mooring notwithstanding.The essence of the hotel organization is no different whether you are in an exotic land or by the banks of an azure sea. So employ and integrate these three elements for a winsome formula whether you work in a beach resort in Belize, a luxury Spa in Phuket, the mountain top hotel in Swiss Alps, a Palace in India or a Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa!

What kind of a Leader are you - a Maker or a Breaker?

L. Aruna Dhir - 15 June 2017
A Balanced Leader is the backbone of a Healthy OrganizationIn one's career history, while growth and better opportunity are often the crucial reasons for moving out from one and into another organization, the other main reason that seldom gets talked about openly is a huge sense of disenchantment or dissatisfaction or unhappiness stemming from a sour equation with an immediate boss or the super boss or the politically charged peer group that makes it difficult for one to perform optimally. Complicated and unreasonable bosses or a set of ogre-like colleagues is in fact a bigger, often unspoken reason for people to move and seek greener pastures elsewhere. Several HR studies, globally, have proved this fact time and again.In the early 1990s, as a young, sprightly fresher with rose-tinted glasses I joined the Public Affairs Section of a Diplomatic Mission in Delhi. This was my second job and I had often heard that it was Asians who were more clique-y, gossipy, with inherent biases and prone to apple-polishing. So, imagine my astonishment when I found some of my Western colleagues as guilty as their Asian counterparts. My first reaction was, "Hell, Here too!" And the second reaction post some thought, "We all are the same beneath the veneer."My first boss here was a grouchy, somewhat mean, cranky man given to favouritism and unpleasant disposition. He was tendentious towards one single person - obviously his favourite - instead of treating the entire team fairly; so much so that this person embodied the same attributes as the boss, adding extra doses of her viciousness to it. At one time when I was working along with her, she would rejoice in giving me some of the most menial tasks - "just do the filing," "get me connected to so and so on the phone," - and had the audacity to keep the official files hidden away and stashed under lock and key lest I lay my hands on them even when I had to file. Mind you, this was no confidential data but the ludicrous behavior continued, fanned by the boss' strong inclination towards this person that allowed for many such unprofessional acts to flourish in the department.Then one day this boss was transferred out and in came a breath of fresh air in the form of a youthful, dynamic lady who brought in a sea change in the department in terms of how we viewed PR work, how we regarded each other as colleagues, how our work was perceived by other departments and the parent Government we had to report back to.What came across bright and clear were two different modes of leadership, two distinct personalities who contributed in their own way to the manner the department looked, breathed, felt and delivered.While one was a negative influence, the other used her high standard of skills, fine leadership style, fair & equal opportunity approach to make every work day a fun and productive day and ended up turning the Public Affairs Department into a highly respected and sought after department in the High Commission.Leadership Traits must dovetail into the Big PictureMy next stint for a period of about two decades has been with hotels. Now, hotels are completely multicultural organizations where the work force is truly international, hailing from different countries; but of course the largest base is of the countrymen from the place where the hotel is located. Yet, in hotels it becomes extremely pertinent to know how to work together with people from as far and wide as France and Germany to Sri Lanka and China. Despite the cultural differences, this ends up adding lot of fun elements to one's day in the life of the organization as youend up learning about these cultures and understanding what makes the 'other' people tick. This, however, is subject matter of another discourse.In hotels, while the owner or the CEO of the hotel chain is the defining personality, the GM of the unit hotel where you may work is the lord of his own fiefdom. The team and staff pick out from this leader's personality aspects and way of running his hotel as much as the top boss' style percolates down.On hindsight, having worked with six different GMs across three hotel chains, I have been fortunate to sometimes thrive and at times strive & struggle in as many organizational climates. And where there has been striving, it really has been a battlefront that has made one as hard as a rock, yet more understanding of the complexities and dynamics of a fire-pit organization.As a Leader, are you a Maker or a Breaker?It has also brought home the point that leaders can really make or break an organization. Not just what corporate literature may tell you, from personal experience, too, I can list out the following -The organization can be a happy and fun place to which you look forward to returning every morning and to which you willingly want to give extra hours at the end of the day. Such organizations create an overriding sense of job engagement and satisfaction.It can be such that each day, nay, moment is difficult to pass with an impossible boss breathing menacingly down your neck; and wicked set of colleagues rubbing their hands in malicious glee every time they pull you down like the proverbial crab.The organization can be healthy, conducive to work with unsurpassed functionality and highly ethical work practices. Responsibilities and recognition, exemplary output and rewards go hand in hand in such places.It can be sick, divisive, undermining and demoralizing. What might get you ahead is hoodwinking and proximity to the influential people like the bosses or the boss' right hand man; even if such easily ill-gotten prizes are short-lived and open to scrutiny.The organization can be a place that allows you to blossom as a star worker with positive strokes that help germinate your skills and talent into wonderful fruits of productivity.It can also be a place where there is so much of negative energy that all that can flower there is more bad blood splattered about by parasitic employees who eat into the climate.The organization can be a place where workers breathe in fresh air, enjoy positive influences, are allowed space to make mistakes and grow, have access to information, become a two way process in clear communication and are given learning opportunities.Then there are organizations that live in the dark zone of fear, punishment, connivance and control. They operate like secret missions where unnecessary stuff is hidden and kept out of reach of the employees thereby acting as major impediment in the processes and execution of duty.There are healthy and buzzing organizations that promote good work practices, innovation and creativity and encourage workers to take ownership of their actions.And there are organizations where flattery, manipulation, bad performances, terrible attitudes and overall downward slope in almost all areas rule the roost.It is widely seen that the top man maneuvering the reins of the Organization can really lead by example, allowing for the finest personal and professional traits and benchmarked business best practices to shape the organization into an exemplary company; that boasts happy, engaged and optimally delivering team.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

How to instill Brand Loyalty in your Employees

L. Aruna Dhir - 9 March 2017
When I was starting out, Companies, to my mind, were these giant edifices of stone and steel with high ceilings and vast cold interiors, with crisp air of detachment and clipped, formal conversations. I felt that I and several other people who went to work were governed by the invisible yet potent forces that swept through the monstrous Goliath we worked for, guiding us tiny Davids by their deft hand of skilful puppeteering.Soon enough, it dawned on me that there was no such unseen-yet-tangible power that held sway over us and that 'we' were the Company. As tiny or big, but significant, cogs we kept the organizational machinery well oiled and moving.Over the years I have come to know that employees are the life force of any organization; cold stony interiors, imposingly gleaming exteriors and thick tomes of company bibles and manuals notwithstanding.While a lot of us, including the Top Dog, make the mistake of thinking that we are irreplaceably important; we come to realize soon enough that our positions are strengthened and our roles made more meaningful by the efficacy, knowledge, cooperation and deliverability of the significant others.If one must grow, then one must delegate well and help one's team to grow. If the Company as a whole has to do well, then it can only do so if all the little and big parts work in tandem and with a focus towards the common goal.Companies would just be buildings and ill-kept ones at that, in the absence of a good workforce. And a good workforce is one that is loyal to the Brand it represents and is in step with the Brand Mission and Vision.Here follow simple strategies to help you instill a sense of Brand loyalty in your employees -Pay respect to their designationWhether it is a bell boy or a valet or the visiting sommelier from that la-di-dah Wine Academy - pay weightage to that brass plate pinned with pride on their jacket.At my first job with India's premier company in the Social Expressions Industry, I cannot tell you how proud and appreciated I felt each time the Company owner introduced me to his business associates thus - "Meet Aruna, our Creative Writer." I felt such a big surge of joy and self-confidence course through my veins making me want to deliver my best.I often remember two different bosses I reported to at different times when I worked at the Australian Diplomatic Mission in India. Both had distinct leadership and management styles - one was a stellar example of the global best practices and the other falling somewhere at the bottom of the heap with his terrible ways. Yet, they both have left indelibly valuable lessons. While one would brush us aside in meetings or go on to say, "This is Aruna from my Department," the other would make it a point to give the following introduction - "Here's Aruna Dhir, the Media Relations Officer." She struck a perfect Ten, first with the full name and then the designation, every time, regardless of who she introduced us to - an upcoming artist from Sydney or Minister Downer, the then Foreign Minister.Each time I have introduced my staff appropriately - whether it has been our Residence Manager, the able Secretary or the efficient Assistant Manager - I have noticed their body language change. The eyes shine, the shoulders square up, the gait gets more professional and the entire deportment reeks of confidence in oneself, self-assuredness and loyalty for the Company they represent.A designation is descriptive of a person's role and responsibility and surmises in its few letters the remarkable experience the person brings with him and the journey he has been on so far.Display importance in the role & responsibility they bring to the tableBehind that brass plate is years of qualification, experience and wisdom which enables your company to run smoothly. Show importance, be sincere and mean it.No person is an island unto himself and no team can work in isolation. It is such an obvious fact that we all would be completely rudderless, disoriented and non-performing if the interconnected webs in the organizational matrix did not bring all the value that they individually create into the big pool of resources which then gives direction, movement and headway to a company's onward path.Every role - big or small, front of the house or back of the house, black suited, blue collared or white aproned - brings with it multi-dimensional worth and such amazingly wide range of experience that must always be optimally harvested.To cite a little personal example - No matter how self-reliant, independent and charge-taking I may be, purely on account of practical reasons and the quantum of work I may be needed to handle, I would find it extremely difficult to concentrate and deliver well if the Housekeeper had not run her magic hands through my office, my Assistant had not helped me pick up some of the balls that I must throw simultaneously up in the air, my Printer had not cooperated in helping me meet the deadline, my colleagues from other departments had not shared information and handled their end of the deal adequately, the General Manager had not given his timely approvals and so on.With hotels, every minor cog or a big component is essential to the smooth running of the hotel machinery. From Chauffeur to Chef, Doorman to Director - Food & Beverage, Engineering hand to Executive Director, Laundry Valet to Liaison and Finance Controller, Sales Executive to Spa Expert, Concierge to Communications Chief, Housekeeping Head to Horticulture Manager - each individual is integral to the flawless functioning of the hotel. Each must be valued for the nous they bring with them. You ignore any part and you end up losing both guests and reputation.Learn about their fears, inhibitions and reservationsWe all have a big set of weak traits, rational and irrational fears, cultural or personal inhibitions that come in the way of our growth.If I speak about myself, I have this strange, dichotomous conflict of interest. My professional playing field is Public Relations yet I feel I am quite the introvert in large gatherings. Once you put the microphone before me in a large setting, I end up speaking rather impressively but put me in a moderate group and I become tongue-tied. For years I have had to battle this strange situation that tears me into two different directions. It has not been easy because my area of work pushes me into the feared zone on a multitude of occasions that I simply cannot turn my back on. An encouraging boss and a positive organizational climate have helped me steer smoothly without sinking my ship of reputation.A rarely occurring case of mental paralysis is quite alright and something that one can get over. I was attending the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference in Australia and was called out to write a formal document on one occasion and participate in a team skit on another. Inspite of having been a published writer for better part of my professional life and being known at large for my gregariousness; unfortunately on those two occasions I failed miserably. Neither did I manage to produce any coherent literature, nor did I shine out in my parts so much so that the Team Lead ended giving me monosyllabic words to utter all through the performance. Thinking back about the episode still makes me feel terrible about myself. Yet, my Australian Group remembers me for a lot of my other facets and not the two sore thorns in my flesh; perhaps because they were one-off and not a common pattern.A mature organization, wise HR people, considerate colleagues and an understanding boss can play such a huge role in ensuring that the employee gets the better of his weak spots. As a step further, they can help him build a success story on the behavioural boulders by the right intervention and assist him in winning his personal hurdle race by turning the stumbling stones into building blocks.It is the Supervisor and Company's moral obligation to combat those demons on a war footing along with the team members. There are no perfect employees. Perfection is a sense of perpetual aspiration.A good boss and a great organization can always manage to harness the strengths, weed out the weaknesses to turn the entire team into an envious group of people who deliver one tour de force after another.Build on their strengthsEvery employee has a mixed bag of strengths running through the direct - Writing skills, Business acumen, financial proficiency, good in Sales, impressive academic record, technical knowhow; and the indirect - great with people, attention to detail, pleasant demeanour, good in crisis situations, multifariously talented.I remember my first mentor with a lot of fondness and gratitude. She nurtured us like cherished plants, watering our desires to grow up, feeding us with excellent experiences that she would squarely put on our table, support us only that much and then nudge us to become more accountable, fertilize us with splendid ideation meetings encouraging us to think out of the box, knowing well that we would bear rich fruit.An Assistant I taught everything from scratch had this Buddha like disposition and she was great with people. She was a wonderful team mate during crisis and was a perfect foil for my Type A personality. It was such a wonderful outcome to help hone her professional skills and fan her inherent facets. The Department fared better as we went along aiding and equipping her; allowing her to blossom.Whether it is team building or crisis management or being good with numbers or great in handling difficult people; find the mojo of the employee and turn it into a major strength; which the employee, the team and the Company at large benefit from.Put thought and feeling into your gifts to themWe all have been recipients of gifts from our bosses and colleagues and givers of similar gesture to our teams. Even though we are told to not look the gift horse in the mouth, just how many more duty-free shop bought Toblerone packs can we eat, how many Pierre Cardin pens will we stash away and how many more perfume miniatures will we pass on as a gift from that trip back. Gifts without thought are the number one reason for that other bad habit - what comes around must go around.Whether it is confectionery from your trip back or Xmas gifts, let the gift speak volumes. Skip the standard chocolate routine (for all you know, the recipient may not be a confection lover) or the other cheap (by that I am not hinting at the price at all) or common gifts. Gifts should be thoughtful; even when they are the inevitable chocolates. Focus on suitability - do not try to shove square pegs of inconsiderate and indifferent gift boxes into round holes of individualistic personalities.One of my sales colleagues once got me a lovely crushed silk scarf from his trip from Hong Kong. Even after more than a decade and a half, I love the little piece of cloth and enjoy wearing it. Did it cost him a bomb? No. Do I still remember him, even after not having worked with him for more than ten years? Absolutely yes! Well, gifts should have this sort of effect on the recipient. That is why they are or should be given in the first place.Back in the early 90s, on one of my first few business trips, I was travelling to Mumbai with my Australian Boss. We were staying at the Taj, on the same floor, in suites facing each other's. Imagine my pleasant surprise when my boss dropped in, took one look at my room and ordered me out of my mine and into hers. The reason - she had a sea-facing room whereas mine had a view of the mesh of scaffolding that had been put up and hid indiscreetly by the equally ugly tarpaulin. My generous boss wanted me to have the nicest experience at one of my earliest hotel stays so much so that she was happy to shift to the room with a crappy feel.One of the nicest gifts I have received was from the Hotel General Manager - my immediate boss at the luxury chain I worked for. It was when he withdrew his name from his place at the prestigious Summer University put together by the Hotel Chain's Centre for Learning and Development. He put my name instead knowing that it was one of the greatest lifetime experiences for me and that I was very eager to be part of knowledge enhancement.He said he had been a part of one too many and felt that I would gain a lot from the interface; which I did, with faculty from some of the finest international management schools. But the greatest lesson I learned was to be thoughtful about my team, about being genuine and kind, about nurturing the team and giving them positive growth opportunities and yes being selfless.The above two bosses have left such a mark on me that I enjoyed the companies I worked for largely because of them. The two have taught me some wonderful lessons that I imbibed into my own style and that I often quote and refer back to when writing out case studies for others to benefit from.Like I said, companies are not concrete and mortar. Companies are caring set of people who create outstanding organizational climates for all those around them. And strategies to instill a deep sense of Brand loyalty in one's Brand Ambassadors are one of the most crucial and profitable best practices.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

How to win employees and influence them!

L. Aruna Dhir - 24 February 2017
Back in the 80s, when I was in School, two writers significantly became the flag-bearing keepers of our soul. They, with their path breaking works, became mentors to help us iron out the intensely complicated relationships we had personally and officially. For any teenager coming out into their own and for young professionals wanting to get a foothold in their work settings, Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale became the guides who would coach us to weed out differences, work towards a state of harmony and make our equations less chaotic and more conducive. Carnegie's bestselling book, 'How to win Friends and Influence People' became a bible for a whole generation when it was published in 1936 and stays relevant till date.The success of such books has always underlined the fact that it is absolutely essential to get along with one's significant others and develop a healthy, mutually beneficial and psychologically rewarding relationship with them. In the work atmosphere, employees become one of the biggest and most important stakeholders.When one is younger and perched on the first few rungs, one is brash enough to think that things will not function smoothly if it were not for one's brilliance alone. As you move up and along, you realize that there are several people and things that contribute to your growth process and keep you in the reckoning. It is the other employees, your company colleagues and inter / intra departmental teams that help pave the path for your company's and your advancement.I have seen the wrong set of employees break the best of places and happy, positive, motivated teams take even small establishments to great heights of fame and fortune.So how do you win employees and influence them positively for the greater good of the Company and the people that make it what it is!Here are five simple tricks that pack quite the punch -1. Call them by their nameWith this practice I have seen strangers step easily into my circle of acquaintance. They feel that they have an equation with me. Leave alone educated, well-bred folk, even the construction workers I have been dealing with, for the better part of the year, feel identified and accepted. Imagine what this simple habit can do with people who are well-exposed to education and are advanced enough by experience.The moment you address someone by name, they feel recognized. It is an affirmation of their vital presence. It signifies that they are important enough for people to recall their name. It is a vocal acknowledgement of all the things - background, experience, responsibility - the name brings with it.Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts have made quite the art of this corporate philosophy. Many Four Seasoners have told me that it is imperative for all senior executives to memorize the names of all employees and their spouses. Think about how much positivity, a sense of bonhomie and professional bonding, mutual respect and just the right dose of familiarity this injects into the organizational climate, decidedly making it a better place to work in.When you call somebody by their name you establish a direct line of contact with them and make them more accountable to what your need or expectation is of them.Calling somebody by their name is the easiest way to show respect and the quickest strategy to convey inclusion.2. Get to know themIn the service industry at large and in hotels in particular, we end up doing long hours and work on shifts that never seem to end.When an organization is so much about people - on either side of the table - it makes a whole lot of sense to invest in this software and make genuine efforts to know the team members.That is why there are employee meets, Annual Sports Days, birthdays that are celebrated collectively, Employee-of-the Month Recognition, Staff parties, Team events, Departmental outings. Also the formal appraisals and reverse appraisals. Make use of these tailor-made occasions; or else create special opportunities to really get to know your people.Learn about their ambitions, aspirations, drives; encash it where necessary, employ the talents where they fit in and carve a path of succession for them.Your people pool is one hell of a goldmine of talent and experience that can help you reap rich business benefits. In turn, you give fillip to the vertical and horizontal growth trajectory for the people who bring power to the organization.3. Get to know them up, close and personalThat is why Bowling events, Staff day outs, Quarterly Picnics and the like were invented.That fellow in the starched uniform is actually a fun guy with a special talent for singing or mimicry. He is the heart of any party. That lady Housekeeper who makes the beds perfectly has a great hand with origami. No wonder then that she churns out jaw-dropping works of towel art that take the breath away of guests from around the globe.At almost all the hotel chains I have worked with, there are these two important fixtures on the HR Events Calendar - the Annual Staff Party and the Departmental get-togethers. The Human Resources, Sales and PR Departments go all out to make these events a resounding success by creating fantastic party themes and mini events that keep the evening buzzing right through and by going to lengths to ensure wonderful gifts for as many employees as possible. At one such event, my Assistant won the 'Miss XYZ Hotel' title, the euphoria of which stayed with her for a long time giving itself away in the spring in her step, the twinkle in her eye and a radiant smile. From iPods to Chanel first edition scarves to trips to Maldives or Dubai - we have had hotels think up the best tricks to make these bonding events difficult to forget.Then there are the out-of-station get-to-know-your-team trips from which colleagues come back knowing an impressive lot about the boss or the direct supervisor or the cubicle neighbour - all in the way to create happy, productive, non-conflicting work atmospheres.If you know your people well you not only know what keeps them ticking, you have the knowledge to utilize their best attributes in the right place at the right time making them feel more involved and appreciated. You can also do an easy SWOT analysis to see what are the traits that can be underplayed or aspects that can be trained upon to improve or shoved under. I knew this Sales colleague who was extremely good with numbers and had a keen business sense. He was always the one to make the FRM presentations for his Director. He went on to do due diligence for the Hotel Owner in his next role and eventually moved into international strategy and business development for a multinational chain.On my part, not only my command over the language but my interests in training saw me offer tailor-made capsules to a wide range of people from the telephone operators to chefs, engineers to the HR folk.Therefore, knowing your employees is an integral baseline to a happy organization and a healthy bottom-line.4. Get to know their family and the family dogThis actually happens at some of the best international chains. Even the Dog bit is true, I am told by an ex-boss who worked for Four Seasons for a long time.Not just Indians and Asians, I have seen people from all over the world gush over their families and enjoy sharing about their spouses and children. Making an attempt to know the families has several pluses. With the family getting to know the place of work, it infuses a happy and healthy energy for the organization in the minds of both the team member and his significant other. In the times of professional exigencies - in the tough-scheduled, round the clock hotel jobs this is more a rule than an exception - the family is much more understanding of the occupational pressure and willing to support. The employee on the other hand is less stressed and more mentally free to engage in the work at hand.A French boss was so proud of his lively wife and would talk about her with such glee. The rather nice lady had a bent for interior designing and readily extended help to the F&B team when they were doing up one of the restaurants for a food festival. Then there was this French-Australian Executive Chef whose Australian wife would help us put up a great show during Melbourne Cup celebrations or the Oak's Day with her wide network and first-hand knowledge.Knowing the family of your people provides you with so many more options to connect with them at different levels. It helps you become that little bit more familiar, which comes in handy when you wish to dissipate tensions, reinforce bonding and ensure the two-way loyalty - the company's towards its employee and vice versa.5. Get their family into the work placeI think this is the nicest and surest way to seal bonds, earn loyalty, reinforce brand affiliation, cultivate trust and leave an increasingly warm feeling for the Company in the employee. There is also the bonus - that of turning the family members into extended brand ambassadors.When I was about eight, my Dad would take me to his office on certain days of the year and fill my day at his place of work with a set of unforgettable experiences - I could watch him work, have a site visit when he was in meetings, get to draw exciting stuff with those official red and blue pencils, walk the corridors with him and meet people who handled different roles. At the end of the day, I was so proud of what my father did, happy to see a wonderful place of work, learn about new things and in the process have an ineffaceable impression from the first-hand experience that would definitely stay with me for a long time.Many years later, I was a visiting fellow to the United States and was meeting with the head honchos at the World Bank. On the day of our visit, guess what they were observing! A happy, energized, exhilarating Daughter's Day Out! The biggest conference room had been done up for the special visit of the little VIPs. The Buntings and the balloons had been put out to give a facelift to the dreary room, the activity stations had been laid out and the elaborate menu planned for the lunch party. But most of all, I am telling you, I saw all the executives - even the senior most - strut their stuff about to impress their little wards in a fair attempt to leave lasting impressions. The working Mom or Dad was showcasing their company and their work to their impressionable children; in turn the kids would have one of the finest and enduring lessons on the goings-on at the World Bank.I truly believe that getting the family into the work place through the various HR tactics - Kids' activities, rewarding meritorious children with certificates, gifts and scholarships, get-togethers where spouses are invited, Christmas and New Year parties where the employee's family is the special guest - is one of the strongest ways to keep the employees happy, proud and bonded with the brand, which they would truly wish to promote from their heart.Do take a minute to share with me the tactics you and your Company have employed to win over your employees and to keep them engaged and positively influenced. I would love to hear about all the great things you do.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

Rule # 2 to be an Outstanding Professional!

L. Aruna Dhir - 9 January 2017
Organizations are really microcosms of the larger world we inhabit; with a dense matrix and complicated equations. We bring our individual personas cloaked in a professional garb into the work space. We enmesh our personal attributes, values and inclinations with the organizational culture and ethos. Those organizations that create an atmosphere of harmony between the values of the individual and the company always turn out to be successful enterprises. And those where dissonance rules the roost, not only stay nothing more than revolving doors for the employees but also perform miserably in the financial terms appearing poor in their business standing.But organizations are, after all, a collective and sum total of its employees. Good organizations comprise of a great set of employees who bring in their refined value system. These employees put their positive energy in sync with the larger organizational principles and goals for overall success, both for themselves and the companies they represent.There actually exist simple tenets that, if abided by, can turn us into outstanding professionals; regardless of internal push and external pulls.In an earlier article we looked at Rule #1 for becoming exceptional professionals. Let us talk about another simple credo to adhere to for bringing out the best in us - it urges you to get the better of your ego and scale up towards actualizing your true worth.Yes, a simple yet profound rule - Kill your Ego!Okay, tell me quickly who is the master of your mind? YOU in all your wise consciousness that Jung would be proud of or a negatively-driven Ego being nurtured by an inferiority complex in a make-believe world that even Freud would be ashamed of!If you want to visualize what is Ego then picture this - You are sitting atop a giant Redwood tree with a saw in your hand desperately trying hard to halve the branch you are perched on. Which side are you sitting on? Yeah, you got it right - the side that is going to fall hard with the biggest thud on solid ground. That is Ego and this is what it does to you.So, what is the kind of cross you bear, if you nurture your Ego?To cradle an Ego is like nursing a sore that never heals. In a work environment, the strikes you make and the wounds you receive are in multitude given the number of people you need to work in unison with.If you have a big, misplaced Ego then you have a passion for bringing everybody around you down, including yourself.An Ego makes a Boss turn a workplace into hell and himself into the Satan's sentinel.The Ego acts as an impediment in your road to greater learning and path to success.Ego blinds you from reality, deafens you against voices of reason and caution, immunes you against the touch of humaneness in you and makes you utter things your sane mind would never think of saying. Outside the informality of your house and into the formal world of work, this is nothing but hara-kiri.When you act out under the influence of Ego, you create such a spectacle that the fence sitters and bystanders find the show disdainfully entertaining. The blood is on your shirt and you are not even cheered for it, let alone respected or sympathized with.Ego has been the Achilles' heel of many men of might and has engineered their shameful fall into the deep gorge of disgrace and anonymity.The Ego cuts you off from the team, destroys the spirit of common goals and vision and turns you into that bad patch that must be removed if beyond rectification.It is Ego that makes you stick with your wrong and not admit a mistake. It shackles you such that prospects of growth are more like a grind. A work day appears full of problems that pull you down rather than filled with passion for excellence and superlative performance.The Ego deviously designs to hold you back into a rut when an open, clear, fair, wise mind would take you to greater heights of reward, recognition and positive responses from all around you."The ego may have its uses but it should not be allowed to be the boss. To be alive is to fall into the ego trap. The trick is to trick the ego into serving something bigger than itself," shared Rohini Majumdar, a wise acquaintance and a follower of yoga and meditation.Ego is such an anti-trait that it has the propensity to demonize us, squash all good sense, destroy and denigrate our true personality and turn us into a laughing stock to the repugnant pleasure of others.Therefore, if you must get violent at some stage in your life, then you must pick up the sharpest knife of reason & rationality and kill your Ego!With the onset of 2017, do pay heed to these two rules and make a resounding success out of the mainstay in your life.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

Rule # 1 to be an Outstanding Professional!

L. Aruna Dhir - 8 December 2016
We live in the times of Life coaches and Professional evangelists who spin yarn after yarn of traditional wisdom into new fabric to use as a mental veil or forehead blinkers for their followers. Yes, most of what they say or write goes to develop more of a herd mentality than serve to open up our minds.In the same vein the business model that started with the likes of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale, with the Commercial industry of Self help books, has only made these Help Gurus richer. The fad is so pervasive and continuing that there has to be at least one 'How To' book on our night stands even today.Either these self-styled Business Messiahs repackage the wise old into a fancy new or create garbled up mumbo-jumbo that aims to hook our senses into passive submission. We lap it up because it brings relief into our monotonous train of thoughts and adds a little novelty to an otherwise prosaic prose that tends to surround us.Yet, amidst this entire new age clutter and information overload, there actually exists Rule #1 that, if adhered to, can become hugely transformational. It is something that our ancestors and past masters have told us. A rule that our parents and teachers have urged us to abide by. A tenet that the best organizations in the world, seek out in their star employees!And that simple, yet difficult to consistently attain, rule is - Be Nice!When you decide to go out to work and make a career for yourself, the first speed bump that you hit against is people who are not so nice - the Boss is seldom nice (especially when viewed from a skewed angle), the Management is not nice (with their large axe to grind), the HR is particularly vicious (always the management's watchdog) and the immediate Supervisor is almost the Villain (with the sole aim to show you in bad light). The organization-specific emotions are often woven around this theme and rarely do we find a consummately happy, content and satisfied team player.The biggest problem, however, lies with you. When you are not so nice yourself - to the Boss (yes, you heard that right), to the peers, to people who report to you, even to the guests, to the blue collared workforce that actually makes the foundation for the Organization to have a certain positive rhythm - the energy gets reflected back at you in a much higher degree of scorch and burn.When you are not nice then you indulge in the following vices -Bring in negative energy with you into work. An energy that is as threateningly infectious as the good energy is refreshingly so.You take affront at the slightest of slight and then plan to counter it with revengeful acts.You give an ear and mouth to information that is not your business in the first place, the sort of business that often festers menacingly in the water cooler corners or the cafeteria. Gossip mongering comes easy to you.You get into convoluted loops of name-calling emails that swell up with unpleasant character assassination; when they are actually meant to convey sane, sensible, value-adding, professional thoughts and ideas.Your strategies are centered on stealing credit, back-stabbing, being slothful yet demanding recognition and reward, dressing up the mediocre as something magical and passing the buck.You hate everything that the Boss, management, team asks for.You refuse to share information with your team and those who report to you, making their lives difficult and their deliverables out of reach.You trounce upon people mercilessly; but whine and whimper uncontrollably at the faintest payback in the same vein.You cut corners in your work, don't think twice before snapping ties that bring no benefit to you and cruelly rend the rope that others sweat out to climb up to the next level with effort.You have the mean machine going on all its engines, in all its deviousness with the focus on hamming, harming; shamming, shaming; gaming, grandiosing; vindicating, vilifying.But if you are nice then you are naturally kind, compassionate, understanding, team-playing and positively productive with your nous blend well with your niceness.Being nice brings in fewer furrows on your forehead; less worries, more enchanting wonderment; it makes you less jealous and more zealous; less abrasive and acerbic and more affable and intrinsically a positive-people aggregator!If you are nice then the Universe is your ally, the world your oyster, the Boss your mentor, colleagues your cheerleaders, work a place of good fun and mirth and life a magnificent roller coaster ride in a Fair full of surprises - some that you rejoice in, others that you learn from.What's more! If you are nice and ask for things nicely of ANYONE, you usually get them!Don't take my word for it. Try it.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

Five things that will always stay in style in Hoteliering!

L. Aruna Dhir - 10 November 2016
Marketers shape our demands by enticing us with their company's R&D and innovation. There is always the latest trend, fad or gizmo vying for our wallet.But the marketers know that regardless of the novelty, the snazziness, the glitz and the glamour; all their products will have to go through the tried and tested touchstone of purpose, use, relevance and effectiveness. Perhaps that may be the number one reason, why companies bring back on demand the bygones as the newest fad in an almost cyclic fashion.Hotels, as products, are no different. We attempt to present the old pie in a new packaging. We enclose ourselves in focus groups and mega think tank meetings to develop exciting, new ideas, services and systems that we feel our guests will cherish and look out for. We rise up to the challenges of changing times to reinvent ourselves. We ensure that, as hospitality companies, we keep abreast of latest in product development, concepts, technology and guest expectation.Still, regardless of the period in time that we inhabit, the following FIVE will always stay in top reckoning as far as the business of hotels is concerned -1. Guest FocusFrom the first time a rugged faced alpha male rode on his high horse up to a two-room ram shackled inn and bellowed in his rich baritone "Anybody in?"; hoteliering has been and will always be about guests.Whether they were cowboys in the Midwest, sheikhs on camel backs, travelling salesmen or in today's world the smooth politicians, the current day white collared Mafiosi or the designer-wear flashing businessmen right down to simple folk like you and me, hotels will always be about guests.So, even before you get the concept, the creatives, the infrastructure, the hardware right, you must streamline your software to be guest focused; your people to be guest-loving and your company mantra to put the guest right on top of your mission statement.2. Food for thought and BusinessFrom the time our great grandmothers, their mothers and then ours slaved over slow stoves to cook, grill, bake their labour of love to be rejoiced in by friends, family and sometimes the neighbourhood, food has been held synonymously with hospitality. In a lot of Asian, Central American and European homes, not letting guests leave without a lavish spread of food has been considered de rigueur.Perhaps it has been this ancient cultural etiquette enmeshed with the need and demand of the guest, that hotels have always placed a premium on food & beverage; besides it making a whole lot of business sense notwithstanding.From the tautness of the hard rolls at breakfast, the tastefulness of the home-made pasta, the vitality of fresh produce checked zealously first by the Materials Manager and then passed through the hawk-eyes of the Executive Chef, the entrapments of molecular gastronomy, the novelty and excitement of new menus, new concepts and new presentations, hotels are always buzzing around and chirping about their food and beverage activity.No wonder then, that a lot of hotels, besides being great places to stay in, have become landmarks resting on the laurels of their culinary wizardry. It is also no surprise that a lot of hotels house talented men in vibrant restaurants making them culinary destinations of repute.3. Value for moneyIf you think that the rich & famous and the guests with deep pockets do not mind squandering their stashes of greenbacks just like that, then you are sadly mistaken. Your guests, no matter how wealthy they are, want their money to bring back value - the more the better. Don't quite agree with me! Then sample this - Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, does not mind driving a second-hand Volvo and always flies coach. Warren Buffett, ranked the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2016, still lives in the house he bought in 1958 for $31,500, doesn't eat fancy food and drives himself to work every day. So think about how they would want their money to stretch when they pay pretty pennies at hotels.Even those celeb big spenders who are known to run mile long bills wish to get a bang on their buck. It must be seen as money well spent, whatever their definition of wellness may be at that point of time. Speak to your colleagues in Front Office and Reservations and find out how even the big, mega-spending Corporate accounts want to get the most out of their expenditure at your hotel and like to not only see sound features added to the room business contract but also study how they can get more value out of the dollars they commit to your bottom line via the confirmed stays of their personnel at your establishment. Enough said!4. Employee OrientationCompanies that ignore their internal customer or ride roughshod over their employees prepare to bleed internally and scar for life.The secret of being a happy work place, for nurturing a healthy organizational climate and for ensuring loyal guests who love to not just come back to you but also recommend you in all the right places and among all the right people is essentially keeping your employees happy and engaged.If there are 4 Ps of marketing, viz. price, product, promotion, and place; the same four hold a lot of weight in people management too. The 4 Ps in 'your' people relations could translate into deserving salaries, a great brand to be associated with, opportunities for growth and promotion and respect for their place in the organizational matrix and value for their unique skill set.Tomes have been written on how happy, satisfied, valued employees are behind soaring, successful companies that deliver on target and in turn keep their customers happy and committed.With hotels being so people centric, this fact holds a far greater significance. Walk through the doors of a hotel and nine times out of ten the faces, demeanour, gestures, body language of and your first interactions with the Doorman, Valet, Bellboy will define how the rest of your stay is going to be.5. Experience ExtraordinaireWhen I was doing research at the University, there was this tiny, hole-in-the-wall tea shop we would love to visit, every single day. Sort of on the way from the hostel to the Library and School, only a bit of a detour - the longish one, yet we had to visit this place once a day. We soon realized it was not just for the perfectly blend and brewed cup of hot tea that the wise, old man stirred up. The entire experience was a package deal - the setting in a quiet corner of a dirt road, the seating on rocks of the Aravalli Range - the oldest fold mountains in India, clear views of the auburn sky and the setting sun, vegetation typical of the region that bore a sense of intrigue, the conviviality of the tea vendor, the aroma of fresh ginger and basil wafting over the steaming pot, the thick, luscious taste of the beverage and the happy price in pittance that the glass of tea came for.This, then, was the magical experience dished out by a small tea vendor on the sidelines of life in the University. Imagine what the hotels, of any genre in any location, are capable of doling out with all those schemes and strategies, know-how and knowledge, branding and big budgets, attention to detail and acumen, creative energy and charm-infused chutzpah behind them.After all, in hospitality more than much else, it is a business of experience to be partaken of in its entirety and savoured by all the senses!So, don't stop paying heed to what the wise old men of hospitality have been upholding and telling you. They are making a lot of sense!The Five aspects above will, indeed, never go out of business sense and style of hoteliering, regardless of where you are located and how distinctly you may have defined your Brand.
Article by L. Aruna Dhir

24 Fundamental Principles to help you Stay Ahead!

L. Aruna Dhir - 8 September 2016
Perhaps the strongest trait that I have carried with me throughout my professional journey is having a 'Fresh pair of eyes.' When I sought to move from an Embassy job to the hotel industry, Hyatt International took a chance with me, bringing a rank outsider into a team of experienced hoteliers. What helped was my deep sense of curiosity about everything around me, which translated into an eagerness to learn the ropes of a new trade, and to acquire the skills needed for me to 'give my best shot' in terms of the defined KRAs.What is fascinating about a hospitality job - particularly roles in Sales, PR, Banqueting, F&B - is that it turns you into a first-rate multi-tasker. In a PR person's day for instance, one might be doing multiple things: addressing a press briefing in the morning; working on a newsletter or advertising campaign; helping to organise a food festival; thrashing out the details of a marketing strategy with colleagues from Sales; hosting a Lifestyle Editor for lunch; organising a couple of press one-on-ones in the late afternoon; catching a quick drink with a hotel guest in the evening; and then getting ready to present a hotel event in the late hours. It is a chequered palate, and you must be able to handle all of these elements dexterously and with aplomb. A tall order indeed - but one that keeps you involved and highly satisfied at the end of the day.Having enjoyed every moment of a breathtaking, 22-year-long roller-coaster ride thus far, I have picked up certain insights along the way on what it takes to keep things going, no matter what you do or where you work.These rules have stood me in good stead at Indian and MNC companies alike, and have been further refined while interacting with a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multinational workforce.Here, then, are 24 Fundamental Principles to help you stay ahead of the game, in no order of priority -Be virtuous and sincere: High levels of honesty, integrity and transparency go a long way - a very long way - in your career. Uphold these virtues, no matter what.Be accessible: With technology in your palm and at your fingertips, there is really no excuse. Be there when people seek information.Be reliable: You owe this not only to others, but also to the identity you have carved for yourself, and to the brand you represent.Be source of rich information/ generate new ideas: Nurture the media, the industry and the young minds. Be nurtured by their exposure to a wide range of issues, and develop a winsome two-way information and knowledge-sharing street.Be proactive: Give complete information, both to internal and external publics. Walk that extra mile to tailor-make it, and go beyond the brief.Be respectful: After all, today's cub reporter will be tomorrow's editor, and today's management trainee tomorrow's CEO.Be Punctual: Adhere to timelines, however acute they may be. This may be the single most important reason that keeps you ahead, and your competition behind.Be genuinely friendly and not falsely flattering: Believe me when I say that people can see through the sham.Be professional: Would you like to be any other way?Be keenly interested: In people, in issues, in the news, in your job. The six inquisitive men are your best friends for life.Think Out of the box: Bring a sense of uniqueness to your role, put forth new ideas, look at things and issues from a new angle, develop new approaches - all, mind you, while staying within the overall company profile and the defined set of principles and practices.Be the Brand you represent: In all aspects that define you - your physical personality, your ideation, your work ethic and professionalism, your communication skills - be the best brand ambassador of your company that you can be.Idolise: Develop mentors along the way - your immediate boss, a person you have a dotted line to, the company CEO, an industry champion, and an international whiz kid in your chosen field - and keep on injecting doses of inspiration in the course of your work day.Be a Mentor: Be a mentor to the people you manage or who are junior to you in experience. Be a friend, guide and philosopher to others. Set fine examples and get emulated. You will be remembered for years, and in the most positive fashion.Be tech-savvy: Today, we live as much in the virtual world as in the real. Every day some other new technology or gadget is added to an already long list. Learn new software, befriend a new gadget; get on top of the game.Befriend Web 2.0: Make this your strongest ally. Be seen, be heard, be read 24/7 and what's more, be able to control what is seen, heard or read about you. Tailor-make, monitor, regulate and police what appears about your Company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, YouTube, and all else that is out there.Develop a penchant for the written word: Learn to write well - whether press releases, annual reports, speeches, backgrounders, letters to customers, PPTs, talking points, newsletters - the list is endless.Get in sync with the spoken word: Hone your oratorical skills, blossom out behind the mike; make yourself and your company proud by shining out there.Be a perpetual learner: Keep adding to your skill set.Become part of a larger pie: A colleague or another department needs a helping hand on something? Be their go-to person. Be the resource your media contacts discuss story ideas with. Be well-conversant with and develop a reputation for discussing Company Mission, Vision and progressive game plan.Tune in to the Trainer in you: Train and nurture the talent within and across your organization.Crave for Knowledge: Know your industry well, and deep dive into the functioning of the other departments as well.Network: Take part in industry seminars, forums, panel discussions. Network with relevant trade bodies, alumni or ex-employee associations.Be Superman-ly: Learn to multi-task - that's the nature of your role, after all. Wear different hats, learn to beat the stress without allowing it to impact your efficacy, deliver under pressure, and be a positive team-player and leader.Work driven by these ethical standards and a persona modelled on these simple yet mindful cornerstones ensure a steady scaling up the ladder of personal and professional success in the most satisfying and permanent way possible.Try it!Note - This article may not be reproduced without the permission of the author.

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