My wife Kathy and I were managing the world famous Barney’s Motel in Brandon, Manitoba.
We were saddled with business problems which were seemingly insurmountable and frustration was beginning to overwhelm us.
What follows is an article I wrote and forwarded to hotelonline.com:
Nothing up my sleeve
Rolling in The D’Oh!
A few normally sane front office employees will go berserk just before lunchtime today and clear their desks like never before. (Umm, someone should speak to Susan…)
At a 3:30 pm (Sharp!) meeting this afternoon, a usually composed, supportive General Manager will slip off his rocker, destroying the morale of his subordinates in the process by giving everyone a severe tongue lashing. (Heh, heh, at’ll put the fear of God into ‘em)
Throughout this evening, several thousand reservation enquiries will have a snowball’s chance in hell of being converted to actual reservations because “no one gives a damn around here anyway”. (hmmm, better start counting the pens …)
These folks are “Rolling in the D’oh!”.
“D’oh!” became a real word to describe real emotions – really quickly – in June of 2001. The great philosopher king, Matt Groening (a.k.a. Homer Simpson) noticed a huge gap in the language we use to describe frustration and wisely jumped at the opportunity to expand our psychological lexicon. Webster’s New Dictionary, realizing we needed that one, short descriptive word to convey disappointment, added it to their official publication that year.
Yeow – That Thwarts!
“A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning.” Chuck Noll
Ask anyone who works with you if they experience frustration on the job. (and uh, put a time limit on their answer8-) )
I bet they’ll say something like – “I never know what’s really expected of me. Sometimes I take the initiative and do something on my own and wind up getting in trouble for it. If it works, nobody says anything. I’ve learned that around here it’s better to play it safe – nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.”
Without really knowing it, us management types are adding to the challenges of our subordinates. I hate to say it but most of us aren’t part of the solution, we’re part (OK – most) of the problem. It’s our responsibility to see that our people have the tools, the training and the proper environment to succeed in the tasks we set out for them.
Unfortunately, because we’re experiencing the same frustration as our charges we tend to abdicate our authority rather than delegate.
Who You Gonna Call … Nose Busters?
Frustration is growing in all aspects of our corporate society and it’s up to management to do something about it. Here are a couple of ways to diminish the negative effects of this evil action upon your endeavor.
You’re Infected – Understand that frustration is rife within your business. Seek this illusive enemy out with the understanding that although you can’t eradicate it, you can significantly reduce it.
Show and Tell – Inform your staff at the beginning of their association with you about the standard processes and procedures of their position. This will ensure the seeds of frustration never have the necessary dirt to take root. (corporate dirt grows so quickly…)
Captain Complaint – Implement a single point of conflict contact within your company. If people are indeed being thwarted – this one effort to determine why it is happening and what can be done to avoid it in the future will go a long way to ensuring fewer people bring firearms to their exit interview.
Whose on First? – Clarity man, that’s what life is all about! A lack of it causes confusion and wasted effort and we all know there’s a limited supply of striving to go around.
Not knowing, or even worse, not informing your subordinates of their changing roles in your hospitality operation is a clear method to ensure suffering continues in your enterprise.
Mind Your Manners– Watch your own P’s and Q’s. Frustration causes everybody to act differently in insidious ways. Studies completed by social psychologists have shown that people who are frustrated behave in negative patterns of which they are unaware. As managers we must be constantly mindful that frustration gets In us, not On us and it can dramatically affect the way we respond to contact with anything.
You’ve Got The Power – Plan to obliterate frustration from your personal life. It’s a useless emotion that steals energy and attitude from your limited supply. Learn to recognize the value of positive goal setting through focussing on solutions rather than concentrating on negative goals through frustration.
Raking in the D’oh
Wondering where your next competitive advantage is coming from?
Your competition is experiencing frustration as well and they don’t have a plan to eliminate it either.
If you’re really serious about moving forward through the complex challenges that the future holds for us in the hospitality industry, take a serious look at what is impeding the efforts of your people and determine now how you will surmount it. If overcoming frustration is the key quality of life I believe it is, your ability to provide a level playing field will be the number one attraction for your best future employees.
There’s an old phrase that says “Those that deny history are condemned to repeat it”. If your corporate history includes this mindless frustration, heeding these words might be one of the most beneficial opportunities to leapfrog the competition your company encounters.
You can make it happen!