Written by: Katie Paolino, CHAE | Cyber HITEC Guest Blogger
Guest blogger Katie Paolino, CHAE shares her experiences navigating Cyber HITEC’s first-ever virtual exhibit hall and what she learned when she attended “Smaller Staff, Same Service: 5 Creative Ways to Use Technology to Support Your Lean Team.” This was an education session presented by Alice in the Exhibitor Innovations Theatre by Agilysys. These exhibitor sessions are available on-demand through November 25.
The team from hospitality technology platform Alice — which included Creative Director Sean Cohen, Suzanne Fresh and Dmitry Koltunov — presented ways that you can use technology to support your lean team. While they did talk about their product, this was not just a sales pitch. It was a thought-provoking discussion about the 2020 mindset shifts we should all be making.
I love mindset work and fully believe that our mindset determines our trajectory in life. Especially when faced with adversity. Especially in 2020. Two mindset shifts mentioned particularly jumped out at me.
The first is “do less work.” Now if you are thinking, “Yeah sure, Katie, do less work. In 2020. When there are only two people working at the hotel and more tasks to do than ever before.”
I get it — but hear me out. It was a good exercise for me to think through and I think it might help you as well.
Suzanne proposed that when the going gets tough, our natural instinct is to roll up our sleeves and dive into the work. Really grind it out. And we have seen this a lot in 2020. General managers doing housekeeping and maintenance and sales — just flat out getting it done.
This is commendable, but Suzanne proposed that when we get laser focused on rolling up our sleeves and just getting it done, that “getting it done” is always the way that we have done it before.
Is it possible that all the work does not need to be done? Is it possible to slow down and innovate? Is it possible that all of that baggage does not actually have to go with us into the future?
Sean says “you pace yourself differently for a marathon than a sprint.” That really resonated with me. In March, when the ground became shifting sand beneath our feet, my mindset was all about the quick fix and how to stay afloat until things got back to normal — but by now it is apparent that this is a marathon, not a sprint. So, we need to train like it.
Every single one of us has to make sure we are zooming out enough to truly evaluate what we need to take with us. We cannot be so focused on grinding it out with our lean staff that we burn out at mile two.
I felt that eye roll. I know, I know — it is not that simple! And there is a lot of work to be done, but the folks at Alice do seem to have a helpful solution for lightening the load. Before I get to that, though, let us look at one more mindset shift.
Mindset shift number two is: do not look for the one singular answer to the problem in front of you; look for a way to become more agile with your problem solving.
There are many complex problems that hoteliers face right now. Each property is different, and every team is putting their heads together and trying to come up with solutions as quickly as possible. Dmitry makes such a good point when he says, “there is no one decision that can be made to fix an ever-changing situation.”
You can find solutions to every problem you face today, but when circumstances change (which they will), that work may become irrelevant.
So, the mindset shift that we must make is to learn how to make decisions faster as circumstances change — not find the one perfect solution. We have to stay ready to evolve. Be nimble.
Change is uncomfortable. Even typing that mindset shift made me feel a little stressed out. Now, not only do we have to come up with solutions today, we have to be prepared to throw them out and do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day?
I know it is overwhelming. That is undeniable. But the hospitality industry is strong and resourceful. We are capable of doing more with less, and hospitality technology companies are coming up with tools to help make it possible.
What Alice brings to the table is an app that offers automated messaging at scale that coordinates housekeeping, service delivery, maintenance, and guest interaction. Whether using a messaging platform feels like a good next step for you or not, let us all ask ourselves these questions:
- Before we jump in and grind out all this work, is there anything we need to reevaluate? Is there anything we do not need to take with us on the next leg of the journey?
- How can we position ourselves to be nimbler when circumstances change? What systems can we put in place that will grow with us and help us pivot faster?
Katie Paolino, CHAE is an official Cyber HITEC 2020 guest blogger. She is the co-founder of Hotel Solutions, LLC and received HFTP’s 2020 Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE®) of the Year.