THE RULES OF MAGIC BY ALAN PHILIPS
ALAN PHILIPS, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, MORGANS HOTEL GROUP, NEW YORK CITY
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)
Our business, like most businesses, is dependent on people. Despite the large buildings, countless brands, computer systems and all the rest of the hullabaloo that goes into making a hotel hum, when it comes down to it, a great hospitality experience is when one person emotionally connects with another person. And if the person on the receiving end of the service leaves happier and more fulfilled, then the transaction was a success.
Sounds pretty simple, right? But multiply that single interaction by millions a day, and that is where the problems begin. How can you make all of those interactions magical? Emotional? Memorable? Some people may tell you this all comes down to training. While I agree training is an important component, I believe the step before that — recruiting and hiring — is by far most important. Why? Because I believe the “right” people make the right decisions, and I also believe the wrong people can’t be trained to be the right ones.
Think about it this way. Imagine you are in New York and you have a hotel operating in Dubai. Every day there are critical business decisions to make in all departments. Do you want a manager who is going to check the handbook or need to consult with you every time a decision is made? We all know that type of management just doesn’t work. As much as we would like to think our guidance is crucial to the success of our products, the truth is that after the product is launched, it is in the hands of those on-site. They bring it to life; they make it magical. Our job is to provide them the strategy, resources and guidance, but more importantly, our job is to choose the right person.
But finding the right people is not easy. It takes time, effort and energy, but it will also save you time, effort and energy in the long term. My answer for finding the right people lies in understanding an individual’s purpose. After you get past the basics like work ethic and skill set, understanding the candidate’s purpose is the vital factor in determining whether or not they can be magicians. In order to figure it out, ask them the following interview questions:
What drives you every day? What motivates you?
What would you do if money weren’t an issue?
What did you love doing as a child before the world started telling you what to do?
What were your two most challenging life experiences, and how have they shaped you?
What do you love doing now?
Once you identify their purpose — to shed light on the unseen parts of the world or share with people through food and drink — the question is, does their purpose match the purpose of the job or organization? For example, if a person’s purpose is to share their love of food and drinks with the world and the position involves opening a new restaurant, there is a good chance they will excel. On the other hand, if the position is to write a blog about hotels or work the front desk, the odds are they will not. It is a simple approach, I know, but there is inherent beauty in simplicity, and the truth is, most great ideas are quite simple.
It is impossible to create magic unless you are pursuing your purpose — following your path, living your truth, etc. It all comes back to not trying to be something you are not. Determining your purpose and then using it to frame all future decisions is critical for all of us, and as a manager, it is the most important factor you must consider when hiring. If you are assisting people in the pursuit of their purpose, not only will it help them find true success and fulfillment, it will pay back your organization with magical results.