Monday, 3 June 2013

Understanding the Anatomy of an Organisation!

Once we are out of the somewhat carefree college and university days we end up spending a major chunk of our lives in professional organizations, quite until it is time to hang up our boots and retire to a slow-paced, less hectic twilight years.

Hence it is essential to understand what are these buildings all about where we spend anywhere between 10-12 hours of our waking time and 5-6 days of our week (depending on which part of the world you work in).

As we all know, the buildings are much more than edifices of mortar, glass and steel, in so many cases, designed by award-winning companies. They are actually living things that breathe, inhale and exhale energy and embody characteristics and emotions mirroring all of us who come in and work here. What essentially forms the baseline of these buildings is three important constituent elements – the livewire organizations, the complex set of colleagues we work with and ‘WE’ ourselves who bring in our unique disposition to the matrix, sometimes maddening but always mindful of all these elements.

And hotels are a world into themselves – being so hugely people-centric, both on the inside and out. It is a people business like no other, such that for it to be a successful and harmonious venture there must be thoroughly trained and rightly attuned ladies and gentlemen serving discerning ladies and gentlemen (borrowing from and re-phrasing Ritz Carlton Hotel Company’s Rule of Business).

Livewire Organisations

Therefore, it becomes imperative to understand what kind of organizations would we like to work in - a progressive organization where we can achieve more or would we rather stay put in a mediocre one, striving to improve it? One that buzzes with happy employees and happier guests! Or one where the only thing that attracts the guests is the off-season discounts.

We all have worked in both kinds of organisations. There, really, is no ideal organisation and every place has its mixed dynamics as much as there are a mesh of people who work there and bring in their set of values, drives and energies adding to or depleting the corporate culture.

I used to lament about the deep-rooted politics, credit-stealing, clique driven and yes-man culture in one of my previous hotels. And now when my niece talks of her experience with a Swiss MNC or a progressively Indian Legal Services / Development sector and my husband brings his woes from the Consumer Durables line of business, I notice that things are not very different. And that the more the companies may be different in their areas and appeal, the more they are the same in their cultural dynamics. In the hospitality industry, the issue is compounded by the power of ten. After all, it is a business of the people, by the people, for the people; to shamelessly borrow from one of Abraham Lincoln’s famous thoughts.

I am sure, most of us want to work with wonderfully progressive organisations with utopian work environments without realising that each of us are essential cogs in the corporate wheel. We as micro components and as a whole make the hotel what it is – whether in tandem or in conflict with the hotel’s parent philosophy.

My experience says that we need to do a lot of internalization and introspection in order to make our organisations optimum places to be in. So, the buck must stop with us and not the Hotel owner, Corporate Training Manager, the General Manager or our Department Head.

Colleagues and the Culture they help Create

This brings us to the second component – our colleagues. How do we feel about the effect of our Co-Workers? It is, indeed, a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings depending on the personal and professional characteristics of the person in question.

There are great and efficient workers with questionable personal attributes.

There are excellent people with poor set of work related skills.

There are pathetic workers with deplorable personas, AND

There are wonderful, top notch colleagues with exemplary attitudes.

No organisation is immune to this awesomely complex and intriguing foursome of categories.

Our response to them, our kinetics of equations at work and the interconnected web of relationships therein is a result of the chain of reactions set off by each of these conductors. Isn't it???

We ourselves – The Power of One

This finally brings us to the most important component. We, ourselves!

What single-most important quality should underline the personality that defines our professional identity and that would help us row our career boat in smooth waters avoiding choppy waves? 

Here's my pick - It is definitely, Passion, Zeal, Enthusiasm, fire in the belly........or any other name that you may call it by.

Passion for one’s work ensures that the tiller paves smoothly all the paths that lead to his work or Goal. Be it, then, the path of wisdom or desire or honesty or punctuality or efficiency or being not just able to lead but also always blend well with the team.

And because one has the passion, it certainly means that one has made sure that the essential requisites that arm him well for the road ahead - such as education or experience - are well honed.

Likewise, while passion can make people feel flighty, it still is going to ensure that for the success to be achieved again and again, shades of wisdom are roundly and squarely employed.

Finally, if it weren't for passion, then serendipity, creative genius, excellence, going beyond the brief and the marvel in the mundane would well be lost.

And keeping all the three cogs of the big wheel well oiled and continuously serviced will ensure a smooth and long professional ride in a self-promoted conducive work environment; colour, caste, creed, character, cultural mooring notwithstanding.

Yet, having said all this, when the going gets really tough (and absolutely against your grain) then the tough get going (to find another place under the sun)! Perhaps that beach resort in Belize, a luxury Spa in Phuket, the mountain top hotel in Swiss Alps, a Palace in India or a Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. A quick word of caution here – the essence of the hotel organization will be no different whether you are in an exotic land or by the banks of an azure sea. Remember what Abraham Lincoln said, albeit in a different context!

PS - Image courtesy - Google Images

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