Hospitality Financial Leadership - A "RelationShift"
March 7, 2017 10:59am
By David Lund
That’s right, your eyes and my fingers have not failed, I wrote the word on purpose “relationshift” and I got this word from my coach, Steve Chandler. He wrote a book with Michael Bassoff called relationshift and its about fundraising and fundamentally changing the relationship between fundraisers and donners. To sum it up in one sentence, the book is about fundraisers outgiving the donners and showing the donner that they make a difference, both the donner makes a difference and their money made a difference too.
Creating financial leadership in your hotel has the same fundamental relation shift at its roots. The traditional relationship in the hotel with reports and deadlines to submit forecasts, budgets and commentaries is to have the financial leader tell the non-financial department managers when reports, forecast, budgets and commentaries are due and to send out schedules and hound everyone every month several times about the pending deadlines. This system does not work. I know because that was my system for nearly 20 years and all it ever consistently produced was my frustration and a lack of usable content. My frustration came from not being respected enough by the non-financial leaders or so I thought. The other leaders rarely provided their departmental numbers and reports to me on time, correct and of good quality. So, my assumption was they didn’t respect me, they didn’t respect my position and I was sick of it. It really was the worst part of my job. Especially when their lack of attention to their responsibilities got me in hot water. I can’t sit in my office and dream up what is going to happen next month, next quarter, next year in the other department of the hotel. It does not work that way and without their financial contribution I’m playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later I am going to get it terribly wrong and the department managers will inevitably lead me to produce projections and actual results that are wrong. Even in a small hotel the business needs to be managed departmentally with budgets and forecast that leaders can follow and adjust as business levels change.
So where is the shift? The shift for me came from the act of serving. The schedules and reminders and memos’ and follow ups that I was doing were not serving anyone but maybe me, selfishly. When I created, and delivered my first financial leadership workshop I had a profound and life changing experience. At the end of the day I had a lineup of leaders waiting to thank me and to share their experience with me. “no one ever explained the P&L to me before”, “I had no idea what you did with my numbers”, “everyone should have this training before they start” these comments and many more took me completely by surprise and I knew right away that I was onto something, something profound was going on. At the time, I thought it was novel, however I didn’t really understand the implications of what I had started. In a short period of time, less than 6 months later I did the same workshop in the same hotel again and I got the same result. Leaders wanting to thank me and share their experience with me. Fantastic, nice feeling but something else was going on. These same leaders were now regular getting their forecast, accruals, budgets and commentaries to me on time and with so much more accuracy and clarity. Leaders were now seeking me out to discuss their ideas on how to save money and generate more revenues. I had created a financially engaged leadership team by teaching them the business of hotels and treating them like adults. Investing my time and effort into their prosperity.
All of this happened because of the shift that the workshop created. It shifted me from the dreary and negative task of pestering the other leaders to give me what I needed. It shifted me to a place where I was serving them first. Now that I have served they are more than willing to reciprocate. Why didn’t I think of this before? Ego is the reason I didn’t think to do this workshop, education idea before. Ego is what holds us all back from really leading by serving. I’m the director of finance and they should get me their numbers because I need them and that’s my job. I laugh now when I think about it because it only took 20 years to figure it out and it was someone else’s idea to begin with. Oh well, now that I know the secret I’m telling others and writing this article to boot.
The relationshift in my hotel and the relationshift I help my clients create in their hotels is anchored by four distinct elements.
To wrap up the RelationShift its important to put things in clear perspective. The hotel business is about people, guests, colleagues and leaders. We’re not perfect any of us and we never ever will be. So just like service deficiencies were going to drop the ball with the numbers. Just like colleague engagement we can operate at a high level but were not machines and we will make mistakes. However, it is entirely possible to manage the numbers with great skill and it is possible to create a financially engaged leadership team in your hotel. No superstars, no exceptions, no excuses, no victims. Just team work, support and commitment to constant improvement. We approach guest service and colleague engagement this way, no one gets to ride the train with a free pass, were all in this together. Relationshift.
Tags: david lund,
hotel financial coach
David Lund is The Hotel Financial Coach, an international Hospitality Financial Leadership pioneer. He has held positions as a Regional Financial Controller, Corporate Director and Hotel Manager with Fairmont Hotels for over 30 years.
He authored an award-winning workshop on Hospitality Financial Leadership and has delivered it to hundreds of hotel managers and leaders. David coach’s hospitality executives and delivers his Financial Leadership Workshops throughout the world, helping hotels, owners and brands increase profits and build financially engaged leadership teams.
He speaks at hospitality company meetings, associations and he has had several financial leadership articles published in hotel trade magazines and he is the author of two books on Hospitality Financial Leadership. David is a Certified Hotel Accounting Executive through HFTP and a Certified Professional Coach with CTI.
Call today for a complimentary call and discover how you can create a finically engaged leadership team in your hotel or brand.
Contact: David Lund
949 791 2739
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