The picador

The popularity of bullfighting seems to have waned a bit, though I must say I am only guessing at that. Those of you who have experienced that entertainment, either in person or on TV, have noticed men on horseback with long, sharp lances poking at the bull. My online dictionary defines the “picador” as follows:

a bullfighter on horseback who pricks the bull with a lance to weaken it and goad it.

Unfortunately, if you substitute “bullfighter” with “asset manager, “on horseback” with “in an owner’s meeting” or “sending emails” and “lance” with “computer,” this definition would work pretty well for some asset managers.

Now, I have never heard an asset manager admit that this kind of goading and weakening tactic is part of their business style. Everyone in this part of the business postures that they “work as a team” with the operations guys, and are as benign as the Easter Bunny.

But you and I all know that is bunny manure. We’ve seen the multi-page lists of questions after the release of each month’s P&L. We’ve read the “benchmarking” reports comparing minute data points between hotels that may have completely different layouts, labor contracts and service standards.

I’ve done it myself. But after a month or two in rehab, I decided that sticking a fork in a GM or DOSM’s eye or ribs at every opportunity surely gets the “bull” angry, but it’s totally unproductive. Imagine what it’s like to be on the receiving end of those incessant pokes. Motivational? Makes you feel like you’re on a team, or are the opponent?

Imagine how the time spent each month responding to these types of communications from the picadors could be better spent by the operations and marketing teams.

A lot of asset managers have adopted a less confrontational approach and add a lot of value. But many still find it to their advantage to make management look bad and themselves smarter. And in spite of these latter types of asset managers saying they have changed, as I did, I’d be curious what a survey of GMs would reveal. What do you think?