I was asked to do a keynote presentation at a financial industry event in Santa Monica, CA recently and in preparation of the event, I looked into the hotel I’d be staying at: the Loews Santa Monica.
Now, let me start by saying I have no beef with Loews. I’ve stayed at many of their hotels and enjoyed many of their movie theaters.
Next, let me tell you the whole point of this blog: stop sucking at your job because if you don’t, it will soon be gone.
The New England Patriots head football coach Bill Belichik is famous for stating to his players “do your job”. His point is obvious, but profound in it’s simplicity. It means if you’re a wide receiver, catch the ball. If you’re a blocker, block. If you’re a tackler, tackle. If you’re a kicker, kick. And do your job well. Not just do it, but do it at a high level.
A football team has many varied players for the many varied tasks, and this holds true for most businesses. Belichik contends a great team will exist if players do their job to the very best of their ability. THEIR job. Not everyone else’s job, just theirs.
So, let’s get back to Loews Santa Monica and some essential points you need to know to complete the story at hand:
1. My keynote required a few props, essentially some foods items you could score from just about any grocery store: celery, carrots, cookies.
2. My flight from ORD to LAX was scheduled to land at 10:25pm
3. My speech was scheduled at 8:00am and the meeting organizers wanted me in the room at 7:00am.
4. I don’t know the area very well and I wasn’t planning on renting a car.
Got all that? Okay good…let’s move on.
Like many well-seasoned travelers, over the years, I’ve developed a keen fondness for the hotel concierge. These purveyors of knowledge have been dishing the goods for centuries; they are the conduit for hotel and it’s guest population. They know the in’s and out’s of their home city and they can hook an out-of-town brother up. I mean, a really good concierge is like a good pair of jeans, they are hard to find, but when you do it just feels so good!
However, I believe technology has put the job of the concierge in real jeopardy.
Need dinner recommendations? Yelp.
Need theatre tickets? Goldstar.
Need directions? Google Maps on my iPhone.
Need a good tailor in a hurry? Ask Siri.
Gone are the days of a concierge calling a restaurant to squeeze a party of four in at 8:00pm on a Saturday. Today, they’ll jump on OpenTable and tell you what’s available. No special service in that.
Back to my presentation…like I stated earlier, I needed some stuff, so I called the Loews Santa Monica, asked for the concierge, told the guy my situation and after a brief moment of contemplation, he said “from LAX have the cab driver take you to Von’s grocery store, it’s only 5-10 minutes away and they’re open until 1:00am.”
SERIOUSLY? That’s the response? That’s the best answer?
EPIC FAILURE. TOTAL BOMB. NO!! NO!! NO!!
If this was one of Coach Bellichik’s players he would have been cut on the spot. Talk about NOT doing your job! Not only did the concierge fail to make me feel welcomed and special, but he made me mad.
I was not asking, nor looking for a freebie or special favor. I was more than willing to pay any costs, up to $100.00 for the simple convenience of it all. I mean, I was traveling cross-country, body clock at post-midnight upon landing, and then getting an early start where I need to be in front of people and do my best. I needed help…I needed the groceries in my room waiting for me upon check-in. I needed a concierge to do what they are supposed to do…hook an out-of-town brother up and make my stay incredible.
Oh, did I mention the fact that a client of mine asked me to find this location for our seven meetings? Yep… seven full blown meetings with literally hundreds of guests that all need rooms, meals, drinks, spa services, $10.99 internet connections and $4.00 bottles of water. This means significant money…think hundreds of thousands.
Let’s play a game, which of the following hotel chains did I not suggest to my client:
If you guessed #4, you guessed right! Hey Loews Santa Monica concierge dude, by failing to do your job, you lost the right to my future business. That tells me it is not technology that’s going to cost you your job, but rather, it’s lack of customers.
People…do your job. If you’ve been asked to give a presentation, do it! This doesn’t mean make slides… this means give a presentation. This doesn’t mean borrow someone else’s deck…it means give a presentation. This doesn’t mean wing it the day of or barely prepare the night before. No, this means DO YOUR JOB.
In case you were wondering, I actually went to Von’s that night, got about 4.5 hours of fitful sleep, arrived to the meeting early and proceeded to crush my keynote. Why?
Because regardless of the situation, it was the reason I was there in the first place. I was there to do one thing: my job.