June 22nd 2010
Everywhere you go there is divisiveness. “They are not like us”, “they” say, one country vs. another, men vs. women, blues vs. reds, old vs. young, rich vs. poor, tech savvy vs. tech newbie, and… front of the house vs. back of the house.
I’m not a happy camper when I think about the fact that many folks believe their primary mission on the planet is to constantly reinforce (in a negative way) the uniqueness and differences that exist between people. Here is a little “best check yourself” reminder: everybody is different from everybody else.
Everybody in the world (other than you and your BFF’s) talk, think, act, look, eat and sleep different than you and your BFF’s do. Yet, people rail on and on about how so and so doesn’t fit in. Why? It’s not like your words are going to magically change the DNA or background of other people.
Hospitality is a team/tribe game: the front can’t exist without the back; it is impossible for one person to greet, seat, serve, cook, bus, wash, pay bills, and unclog toilets simultaneously. Successful operations close the gap on “different” through their leadership and culture, but it is through individual effort that the “differences gap” begins to close. When you are at work, and being paid to work, it is shared time; not yours, but ours. The harder you work at bridging the “differences” gap the easier (for everybody) the job becomes.
I have worked with brats, bullies, ego maniacs, space rangers, thieves, even broken-crayon (can’t use ‘em) bosses, on every job I had. Here is the kicker, I also worked with superstars, stellar professionals, and more importantly, big hearted, tried their best, hard charging individuals from all walks of life on every job I had. That’s right, the human equivalent of polar opposites at the same time and in the same space. That’s the reality of it, and head butting “different” because it’s different, won’t do you a lick of good.
Figuring out how to do your job in conjunction with people who are different than you are, is a positive transferable (goes with you wherever you go) skill. Yes, there is a difference between us and them, but finding the “commonality” in others is a sign of a true professional and the secret to many teams/tribes success.
Oh, and if you really want to stand out from the crowd, the next time you consider “unleashing” your “anger dog” at work, pause first for a moment and reflect on this: Would I want my girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter, son, brother, father, boyfriend to have to take this smack I’m ‘bout to dish out?
At your hospitality job, if you and your “co-workers” (key term) decide to “change-it-up” with just 10 “common ground” ideas like the one above, sometimes, just sometimes, you get the chance to be “different”… together.