If – A lesson for hospitality and security as we approach the silly season


This time of year, the silly season, is always a challenge for hospitality professionals, security and support teams. Normally sane people change their behaviour having drunk, danced and goodness knows what else at their office christmas party and become unruly, rude and harder to deal with.

With that in mind I thought in today’s team brief could use the words of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘IF’ to prepare ourselves for the onslaught.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. Kipling’s works of fiction include The Jungle Book, The Just so stories . He wrote IF in 1895 as a piece of parental advice for his son John and took his inspiration from Leander Starr Jameson a military man who fought in the Boar war and was greatly admired by Kipling.

If we break down the poem we can see how apt is is for our teams today and over the next month.

If you can keep your head when all about you.
 Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
 But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

  • Keep calm and in control
  • Show patience some guests/customers may be encomical with the truth especially when they try  to blag last minute rooms or tables or argue cancellation fees
  • Service is always challenging at this time of year and expectations run high. People’s experience may not be as they expected this may be as much to do with the company they are in as the food and service itself. Negative online reviews have shown a spike in pervious years at this time.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

  • Be creative but keep it real and achievable at a time when your occupancy and bookings will quadruple.
  • Pay attention, STOP. By all means think and plan but do not get lost in the thinking. Take action
  • Some of your ideas will be shot down  sometimes for political reasons – or someone trying to score points rather than the content, remain positive.
  • Sometimes your plans and ideas will win sometimes they will fail. Be consistent, don’t become arrogant or bitter.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
 And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
 And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
 To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
 Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

  • Take chances and fight for what you believe in, hang in there even if you want to give up and walk away

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
 Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
 If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
 With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
 And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

  • Be humble, be adaptable and treat everyone as a VIP.
  • Even when you are tired, with sore feet and bad back keep going.
  • They person/guest/customer in front of you maybe the 1000th you have looked after over this period but it may be their first visit. “Make their day”
  • If you can do all of this you will be a champion.

After this is period is over, rest, relax, take a breath and start again.

Mary Jane Flanagan of mjinspire Ltd  develops teams within hospitality, security and support services to ensure excellent leadership, customer service and teamwork. Visit www.mjinspire.com for more information

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