The mirror or the windshield

Managing or asset managing a hotel, no matter how complex or simple the operation, requires a talent for focusing on detail while keeping the “big picture” on the radar. It also takes an ability to absorb and process large amounts of information almost instantly. It’s sort of like driving a car — it’s a lot more complicated than we tend to think.

I am one of those people (just ask my wife) who gets upset watching people text while driving, checking their faces in the mirror or going 40 in a 65 zone because they’re yapping on the phone.

One can also observe hotel managers engaging in “distracted driving” of their enterprise. This is probably true in every industry, but of course, there isn’t really any industry as challenging as ours, is there?!

With the volume (bulk) and volume (loudness) of information being communicated to hotel managers every waking hour, staying focused is a monumental challenge. One question that may be appropriate to ask while drinking from this fire hose is: Is this information about the past or the future? Am I being asked to drive this business by looking in the mirror or the windshield?

If it’s the former, I say push back. The future isn’t guided that much by the past. It is guided by drivers who screen the information they’re being asked to absorb to be sure it’s about what’s ahead, not what’s behind.

Have your assistant (if, unlike me, you’re lucky enough to have one) screen and prioritize your emails, snail mail, phone calls and meeting agendas to keep them focused on the windshield and where you’re going. If, like me, you don’t have someone to help, explain your point of view (pun intended) very politely to the people who are sending you things and ask them to focus on the future.

If you’re asking questions of others, make sure what you want to know is essential to what’s down the road, not just a travelogue of where they’ve been. How is the report you want filled out going to change the direction, speed or destination of the business?

And most of all, do NOT text while driving! Absolutely NOTHING is that important.