“So, how did the conference go”? I asked my son after he got in the car when I picked him up from the airport.
He had spent the last 4 days attending his company’s annual GM conference.
He had spent the last seven years escalating the corporate ladder in an upscale casual restaurant corporation with close to 150 restaurants in the country.
Those early days he started working as a waiter in one of their restaurants in the Washington DC metro area seemed so far away.
“It was pretty good mom, you know, I realized that I can’t compete with the big cities any more. I will never be able to make their numbers in a small town. And that’s alright with me. I chose to stay in this city in California in order to stop moving around. That was a conscious decision my wife and I made to give our son the stability that our family needed. I am happy with that decision.”
But there is still something else I can do. I can focus more on the hospitality area and become the first in the country in hospitality. Best service. That is perfectly feasible.”
He was always in love with his job, his company and his product. Ever since that day after working as a waiter for 6 months, he got promoted to expo manager.
“This is what I want to do with my life mom -he said – I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to escalate the corporate ladder with this company. I love it.”
“But darling, it is the restaurant business, you know what that means, no life. Remember my experience with restaurants and food?” – I answered. – It is the most thankless field on the planet.”
“Yes, but you are the one who taught me the love for food, mama” -he said- We both laughed, that was the end of the conversation and the rest is history.
He always wanted to provide the very best he could. His constant inner source of motivation had gotten him to become a General Manager within 5 years in the company. His career had demanded him moving around in the previous years from Washington, to Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose and Hawaii.
His wife was already putting up with the restaurant hours. Which you know, are pretty long and don’t include free weekends. She deserved to be in a stable place where she could build her own life with her child. I can imagine the everyday life she experienced in a new city when her husband was working all the time, and they would have to leave in a few months. No time to even make friends. Not fun.
Now she has a job, is starting a new career and a lot of friends. They still would like to spend more time together. They were able to do that only one day a week. However, their different schedules provided their son with quality time from both of them. He went to day care just to fill the gaps, not as a routine. And spent one full day with both of them.
A couple of months went by since that conversation at the airport. I was back home and he calls me one evening. He says: “Mama, would you say that I am a genius? ” “Of course, you know you are.”- ” Well, as of now I am the sixth in the country in hospitality. The VPs and CEOs are telling every GM nationally to follow my example. ” Hes said laughing. He was so excited…I was too!
He does many things to achieve those results. He is a great leader, a great manager, he understands team work, he is enthusiastic, He has organizational skills, he is dependable, he is human, and on top he is bilingual. But above all he has a passion for what he does. That is the key.
Among all those attributes there is one thing he does that strikes me as a major element to his success.
Now, anybody who has worked in the restaurant business before, knows how stressful and thankless it can be. Especially in a restaurant like his. He has 300 employees under him. Very busy.
He spends a lot of the time walking the floor. Sensing everything that is happening. Present, supporting his staff by pitching in with help when is needed. Participating with them. Consciously co-creating coherence.
When he sees a bus person or a bartender with a sad or worried grin on his or her face, he says Hey! Francisco, let’s have a cup of coffee.
He sits with that person in a corner at one of the tables outside in the patio and asks if there is anything wrong and if he can help in any way. It turns out that they end up having a conversation about the solutions to the problem at hand, if there is no real solution he will help them move on. Because he cares. weather it is, a personal or work related matter.
The needed conversation to relief the tension. To acknowledge the human being within the hard worker. Then he says: “Now you can go out there and show your best face to our guests.”
And he or she smiles and nods. Simply because after that conversation he or she feels a lot better.
A parenthesis of support and humanity is what makes all the difference. Just a little parenthesis, a small window, to remind them he doesn’t forget they are human. He shows his gratitude. I have to say it is a natural for him.
Corporate measures hospitality with mystery guests who relentlessly come unannounced out of the blue. He doesn’t have a clue if any of his staff at any given moment is talking to a guest or the corporate messenger on schedule.
He can’t afford to have his staff pretend they are happy all the time by not acknowledging their human needs. He understand that to get the real results it has to be genuine. Besides if they feel good at work, they obviously are going to reflect it on the customer, making the experience of every single guest as pleasant as it can be. With consistency.
They are giving a lot. He gives back. A 50/50. Then he doesn’t have to worry about the mystery guest. He is focusing on his employees’ contentment. His team. The little parenthesis of humanity of support that makes all the difference.
The team who will respond to his kindness with more kindness to his guests. Across the board. The team that got him to the 6th in the country. Another example of numbers made by people.
This endearing story leaves me thinking that if I was a bus person or a dishwasher at a very busy large upscale casual restaurant operation I would like to have my son to be my boss.
I spent 6 hour sitting at the bar in my last visit watching the operation. It was a pleasure.
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The Thought Provoking, Irreverent Pearl Necklace Grandmother of the 21st C. Paradigm Shifter, Poet, Storyteller, Marketer, Visionary, Blogger, Coach.
Founder Soul Hangout http://soulhangout.net/2171
Founder of Co-Creative Circles of Coherence, Soul Mastermind Groups. Consciously Connecting & Combining Intelligence with a touch of “Curry”. The 7 “C”‘s of the 7 Condiments of Cooperation