The inspirational leader — your inner athlete

The inspirational leader ? your inner athlete

Today, are you ready to play your best game?  

Are you eager about what today will bring? 

Do you understand that only this day matters right now?

Athletes are completely inspired to improve every day. Business leaders also get to “exercise” that ability.    

“A coach’s job is to get people to do what they don’t want to do, so they could become who they always wanted to be.” – Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys head coach

Why couldn’t this quote apply to business people? We could say it is the inspired actions of a truly committed leader that drives inspired action from the team not only to compete for the loyalty of every guest, but also to drive home the benefits of creating an inspired day such that it touches every person and the people they touch.

Let’s take a morning in many hotels. I have heard all too many department heads or “shift leaders” walk into the morning lineup and say something like the following: “Good morning. Today’s value is, ‘Use the guest’s name three times.’ Last night’s ADR was X and occupancy was 78%. Today’s VIPs blah blah blah …” 

Did you ever see the Gary Larson cartoon where the man is telling the dog to roll over or something and all the dog hears is, “Ginger, blah blah blah?” I’m not saying that is how your associates hear you, but if you have the same pitch every day devoid of passion and emotion and not walking the talk or rallying their spirits as a team and one on one, it kind of lands on them like that.

Culture is not just about what the team is doing from the training manuals. It is how the leader is inspiring and living the culture on a daily basis. Leaders have to reach inside themselves every day and “be” the qualities of leadership — being innovative, taking risks, being an entrepreneur and creating new possibilities, not recycled thinking. Leadership does not end with a paycheck, a title and the guy with the biggest office.  

Let’s look at athletes and coaches gearing up for a game. What’s the buzz in the locker room? How is the coach engaging the team? What if your morning lineup sounded more like one of these scenarios?  

  • Coaching: “This is the only day we have. Excellence is the only rule. Now go out there and create inspired interactions — not just because it is our business, but because you owe it to yourself. You owe it to yourself to excel every day and turn your light up brighter.  
  • Laughter: You and another EC member role-play something that happened yesterday, whether is was wanted or unwanted interaction. Bring humor in.
  • Meaning: Tell last night’s statistics as if you were a news reporter. Is there passion when you report 100%? Is there disappointment in anything less? What meaning can you bring to the numbers so they are felt by every associate as if success and disappointment is taken personally as well as a group effort? 
  • Star-studded lineup: Okay, team, today’s VIPs … this is why these VIPs are soooo important to us. What’s our play here? What can we do to impress? What is each department committed to?
Look, there are as many types of leaders as there are stars in the sky. They may share a certain amount of elements, but they can be distinguished for the stars they are. Your culture doesn’t demand cheerleaders and a certain personality type. What it does demand is that leadership be the kind of star that has the elements of light and power and is a source of energy.  

In physics, there is only energy and entropy. Anything that is not continually expanding will eventually lose its muster. Get people engaged. Light them up. Your various financial and softer objectives may be your true north, but you need to pilot the culture ship to get there. Get there every day. The journey is now. The time is now. Today’s culture promotes tomorrow’s business.