Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Are You Responsible For?

This weekend, we stayed at a Hilton Property in New Jersey. As we were having breakfast at the restaurant, we experienced lots of hustle bustle, sensed tension between the staff and the restaurant manager, and the manager was running here and here, talking quickly and abruptly to staff and guests.

Her intent from what I could sense was to be efficient, get the guests in, feed 'em and get 'em out. While the food was fine and prices reasonable, we left not feeling good. Somehow it dampened the experience, not just related to the restaurant for the overall experience. As we were leaving the restaurant, I overhead her on the phone saying she was responsible for the restaurant.

As I reflected on her self-view of her role, I wondered how she would have managed herself and her team had she seen her role as not only being responsible for the restaurant but also being responsible for and contributing to the overall guests experience, as being part of a larger system delivering on the Hilton's brand promise. Clearly while she was in management, it became apparent she saw her role in a very narrow way, as if the restaurant was somehow apart from rest of the system.

I then recalled hearing of an incident from the 1960's where President Kennedy was visiting a NASA facility. During this visit when he met a janitor and he asked him what he did. The janitor proudly replied, "I am putting a man on the moon". The janitor clearly saw the bigger picture and his role as part of a much larger mission.

As many of us move through our days, I am left wondering, what would we do differently, how would we fulfill our roles and carry out our responsibilities if we better understood and saw ourselves not just as our individual roles but as being part of something much larger? In other words, as individuals, what do we see as our responsibilities?


Tony Rossell said...

Vinay -- Good points. There is power in a commonly shared vision. Tony

Vinay Kumar said...

Thanks Tony.