When an issue arises, whether it be on a casino floor, in a restaurant, or during a security breach, your natural instinct is to diagnose the situation and mitigate the problem as quickly as you can. We simply, react, trying to figure out “How did this happen?”, “What could we have done differently?”
We want to assign blame to the issue: Who, what, when, where and why did this happen … again? Why does this cycle keep repeating itself? There has to be a more suitable and efficient way to approach this situation.
I’m here to assure you, there is.
Pinpointing the Problem
If there is anywhere to point the finger, it is at the processes itself. Not an employee, not your boss, not even the issue at hand, but the process inputs. The processes that were initially designed and continuously carried out have failed, ultimately ensuring that your systems are going to eventually fail.
An Input by definition is: “what is put in, taken in, or operated on by any process or system.” These inputs are the essential details we must be aware of to take care of our guests, coworkers, and organizations.
I’ll give you an example of process inputs compared to process outputs. Say one of your properties restaurants is running a dinner special from 5-9 PM, Filet of Black Cod and Risotto for $22.95, on Thursday and Friday. The dinner special runs very successfully, so well, in fact, that the restaurant runs out of the special by 6 PM Friday night, right before the dinner rush. Uh oh, well, at least there is a whole menu for patrons to choose from. Let’s break things down:
Inputs vs. Outputs
Inputs: Filet of Black Cod, Risotto, $22.95 Price, Thursday and Friday special days, Stove, Temperature Cooked at, etc.
Outputs: Well Cooked Special, Sold Out Special, Happy Guest, Unhappy Guest, Revenue, etc.
This helps us break down how inputs contribute to the outputs, and the main goal of a satisfied customer who got to enjoy the delicious special. Now let’s outline the simple process of transforming the inputs into outputs.
Breaking Down the Process
This highlights the main process which each input works together to transform into the outputs both the guest and organization want. However, when the Chef spoke to management on Saturday about the dinner special, they were disappointed about how quickly the special sold out. Chef stated, “I loved the special, it’s unfortunate all the remaining Friday dinner guest who came specifically for the special didn’t get to try it.” The Chef’s words tell us something, that though the special sold out, we weren’t able to serve all our guest who wanted it, we didn’t have enough inputs to reach our target output of 100% satisfied guest.
- Dinner begins @ 5pm
- Order for the Special is sent back to Chef
- Chef Cooks Order
- Server Brings order to Guest
- Guest enjoys Special
- Guest Pays
- Dinner Special Ends @ 9pm
This is where we should place our energy and focus instead of just reacting to the problems we face at our properties. Reacting means it’s too late, and we are already playing damage control by sweeping yesterday’s problem under today’s rug. Let’s focus on being proactive, starting with our problem processes.
Controlling our input is one of the keys to ensuring issues like these never arise in the first place. If problems do arise, understanding our inputs allows us to have a much better idea of what and where to our place resources to fix things swiftly and sustainably. If we were to take a second look at our example process, what would you change about our inputs to reach our desired output? Perhaps the special runs Friday and Saturday? Maybe we increase the price due to supply and demand. Or, in the same light we order more supply of Black Cod and Risotto.
The process you’re working on changes and decisions can flex with you and your leadership teams, but what we all must agree upon is, your inputs are your guest outputs. By taking care of those, we all take care of each other.