As much as things change, they stay the same

Starting a new job can be stressful. There’s excitement, sure, but there’s also the unknown. How will the team be? What don’t I know that I will soon find out? Will they like me? Will I like them? Some of these thoughts passed through my mind as I walked through the doors at the Omni Berkshire Place in New York City, where I recently began serving as general manager, but these questions quickly dissipated, and I felt like I was home once again.

While it’s my first time in the GM role here, I was here before (I was the director of housekeeping from 1995-1998). While my responsibilities and some of the faces have changed, there are things, and people, who have remained constant, yet grown.

What an incredible feeling seeing so many of the housekeeping team, many of whom I hired back in 1995. I loved seeing pictures of their children now all grown up. I also enjoyed their reactions to seeing a picture of my now 17-year-old daughter, who was just a toddler when I left in 1998. I felt equally as excited to see all the familiar faces in engineering, front office, F&B, accounting and sales. When they heard of my impending return, they all started to discuss what my “sticking points” were when I was there back in ’98 (I am a stickler for name tags being in the correct location and an impeccable back of the house).

All of this reminded me of a few simple — yet important — life lessons. First, be respectful to everyone you meet along the way. You’ll never know when your paths will cross again. Second, no matter what level or title you have achieved, your staff remembers EVERYTHING you say to them, how you lead them and what makes you happy. I was so very humbled they still remembered my pet peeves; even though I think I might have forgotten some of them myself, they never forgot. 

They reminded me yet again why I love working with a hotel staff: you won’t meet finer, more loyal people than those who work the front lines at a hotel. They never cease to amaze me. They have a special quality about them; they are true hoteliers.  

Go talk to your teams today — they want to hear from you, and they will never forget what you have to say. Trust me.