The Hospitality Professional: Part Four

Read previous articles here: Part I   | Part II | Part III

Once more unto the breach, dear friends. We have arrived on the fourth lesson in my series, “How to Be a Hospitality Pro or How I Became One in My Spare Time.”

You may remember from my earlier articles that a Hospitality Pro is far different from a hospitality worker. A hospitality worker works in the hospitality industry, but a pro is something different. Let’s go over the definition once again.

Hospitality is defined as … creating an enriching and sustaining environment for others.

And professional is defined as … one who, through long years of study and experience, has become an expert in a particular subject or field of endeavor.

So, a hospitality professional is … one who, through long years of study and experience, has become expert in the act of creating a sustaining and enriching environment for others.

No matter what the level, from frontline to supervisor, from executive to vice president, if you wanna be great, then you’ve got to be a professional (and I know many of you are, whether you know it or not).

I’ve written about a Hospitality Pro’s pre-shot routine and ability to em-pa-the-tize. Our third lesson spoke to an intrinsic desire to set the example by walking the talk in everything you do. Number four in the series spoke to your desire to always build better. So, without further ado, the next item on our checklist of professional skills for the Hospitality Pro.

  1. Pre-Shot Routine
  2. Em-Pa-The-Tize
  3. Setting the Example
  4. Build Better
  5. Beliefs and Values

What do you care about? What matters most to you? What are your core beliefs and values?

Good questions all, and ones that we may know the answers to, but seldom bring with us into the workplace and how we engage with others, service others, and even manage and direct others.

For example, take the service supervisor or manager. Are you one? Or have you been one at some point in your career? If yes, then answer this little query. How many times have you either said, yelled, or even just thought the following about a team member, “Boy, have you got a bad attitude!”

Or how about this one … “What you need is a major attitude adjustment!”

Or even this … “If you don’t change your attitude, then I’m going to change your employment status!”

Come on, let’s face it. We’ve all thought, said, or yelled something ALONG those lines about a poor-performing team member or associate. But did it work? Did they change their attitude? Did they respond to your admonitions or threats?

The simple answer is … probably not.

And why is that? Well, simply put, because a team member’s behavior doesn’t really come from attitude. You’re working from the wrong side of the equation.

Let me lay out for you just what I mean when I say that behavior doesn’t come from attitude. In fact, it is just the opposite, attitude comes from behavior. That’s why an emphasis on attitude will never truly change behavior for the better, whether it be your poor performing team member or even yourself. So where does behavior come from? Let’s do the math.

First, attitude is defined as … a state of mind, a feeling. But you can’t see a state of mind, you can only guess at it by observing someone’s BEHAVIOR.

That’s right, behavior, defined as … the way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus … can be observed and even measured. So, we observe someone’s behavior and use it to deduce their attitude. If someone shows up late, is rude to co-workers, and performs tasks outside prescribed procedures, then we deduce that they have a bad attitude. So, you see, attitude comes from behavior.

Where does behavior come from?

Simply put, behaviors come from the actions we take. The actions we take come from the decisions we make. The decisions we make come from the choices we make. And the choices we make come from our very own beliefs and values. So, all together it looks something like this:

Beliefs and Values inform Choices

Choices determine → Decisions

Decisions drive → Actions

Actions add up to → Behavior

Behavior → defines → Attitude

So, if you want to improve someone’s performance, INCLUDING YOUR OWN, then attitude won’t do it. It’s on the wrong side of the equation. You have to deal with Beliefs and Values. And that brings us back around to Hospitality Professional Guideline Number Five, Beliefs and Values.

I asked earlier if you know what your values are. Not in some generalized way, but specifically, and more importantly, in a way that drives your behavior every day. This is what the Hospitality Pro has mastered, the art of bringing their beliefs and values to everything they do, every decision they make, and every choice they confront.

Whether they are evaluating our own performance, mentoring others, supervising team members, or simply providing service to guests in your organization, the Hospitality Pro knows that all these things need a clearly defined and practiced set of beliefs and values.

  • If you do not believe that the people you serve (your guests, your organization, and your fellow associates) are the most important people in your world, then you will not serve them well.
  • If you do not value anyone else’s work or contributions, then you will never inspire greatness in others.
  • If you do not believe in the value of setting and achieving high standards in everything you do, then you will not inspire high achievement in your fellow associates, department, or organization.
  • If you do not value honesty, empathy, and diversity, then you will not engender trust in those around you.

Go back to the simple definition of the Hospitality Pro … one who is skilled at providing an enriching and sustaining environment to others. Without a clearly defined set of beliefs and values, and the desire to instill them in everything you put your hand to, you will simply never be skilled at providing that very environment.

So, what are you waiting for? You know what your beliefs and values are. Now get busy writing them down, committing them to memory, and going about the task of infusing your beliefs and values into everything you do.

Remember – it’s how you make your world a better place, for you, and more importantly, for those around you.

Steve Browne 19 Articles