Fix it now

How many times have you walked by the same scratch on a wall? How many times have you stepped over something on your way to a meeting? At times, I wonder how many hotel managers and directors overlook simple tasks, such as fixing that scratch on the wall immediately, because there are more effective “operational” ways to function. And ultimately no action is taken because “there’s a process in place for that,” or, “there should be a process in place to get this simple job done.” This is a clear example of what I find disheartening in the hospitality industry — or any customer-facing industry, for that matter. 

That scratch on the wall should be fixed immediately. Too many times in my career, I’ve encountered those who will approach this simple task with the following logic: “Let me call my chief engineer to put together a big program to eliminate all marks on the walls. I’ll have him or her present the plan to me a week from now, and if I approve the plan, we can implement it three days later.”

By the time the belabored plan is approved (which is usually a couple of weeks from when you saw the initial scratch on the wall), you notice 10 more wall marks appeared in other areas of the building. If you had addressed it the minute you saw it, the scratch would be gone. If EVERY time you noticed something amiss, and you looked at it as a priority rather than something that should be addressed by a plan, your team would take on that same attitude of “fix it now.” Your operational process will be put into action rather than prolonging it with a plan.

This seems like an oversimplified example, and the simple scratch on the wall is just the tip of the iceberg. In the grand scheme of things, if we tackled all of our issues — whether they are physical or operational — with a “fix it now” approach, and, more importantly, trained our teams to do the same, we wouldn’t need big programs to “fix” our issues. Rather than “building the perfect mousetrap” or crafting a foolproof plan, time and resources should be allocated toward the “now” to save time and resources.

Leaders and managers should build an environment and an attitude of FIX IT NOW! Chip away at issues a little bit every day, and before you know it, you moved mountains.  We cannot look the other way for a minute in our industry. It moves too fast, and things happen too quickly. Address everything promptly, and set an expectation for your team to do the same. Not only will your hotel benefit, but your guests will appreciate it — and in this business, that’s what matters.

If you just “fix” that scratch on the wall, you will not be sorry.