Friday, August 27, 2010
The part of training that I most enjoy is the training event itself. It has always been a form of performance art. If you are entertained in you will be likely to remember what you learned. I use story telling as a vehicle to impart a message. That’s the fun part. Then there is all the preparation that goes into making a program effective. There is making all the physical arrangements with hotels and conference centers and catering groups. If those experiences go as they should eighty percent of the time I am usually ecstatic. I have never done a public training event that everything has gone as it should have. That’s life.
This past week I had more challenges than normal and I was unhappy with some of the changes that were made at the hotel, without anyone calling and saying, “Hey John………..” While we had a break on Tuesday the catering manager sat down with me and gave me the “It’s my entire fault John.” Speech complete with sack cloth and ashes.
The hotel neglected to tell the restaurant that there would be twenty five people for lunch on Tuesday at 11:30. They only had one server. We didn’t get our food for close to an hour. The hotel usually cuts back on staff when they are below forty percent occupancy. I wouldn’t have had an issue with any of this had someone told me up front. I would have adjusted earlier in the day. And BTW don’t blame it on the new person who’s been out of school for two months. She’s the trainee!
If something goes wrong and it is past fixing I’d like to know what measures are going to be put in place to make sure it’s not going to happen again. If it’s going to happen again then I am going to go elsewhere. I don’t get upset, angry or bent out of shape. I don’t expect to be pampered or waited on. I just expect to get I was told I was going to get.
The catering manager says “What can we do to make this right, John?”
Nothing. What are going to do in the future? I am pretty much a pragmatist.
That’s when the catering managers smiles and says “I know what!!! We’ll send up a big plate of cookies!!!
No you won’t. I was preaching health and well-being as part of the success equation. People in the class who knew me asked what I had done to start getting healthy. I was spreading the Spark in a covert manner. I was telling them about all the epiphanies I’d had in the past nine months or so. A plate of cookies? No thanks. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again.
An hour later there is a rap on the conference room door. I open it and there stands the poor trainee carrying a massive tray, (I’m not exaggerating here.) laden with brownies, cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. I wouldn’t be stretching the truth a bit if I told you that the tray may have weighed more than poor little trainee Kara. She looked at me with one of those “This wasn’t my idea looks,” smiled set the tray down on the table and made a quick exit. Everyone is looking at me and at least I am wise enough to know when I have lost control of a situation. To my credit I didn’t eat any of the goodies. I was tempted, but I didn’t.
So I ramble on to raise this question: Why do people think food solves a problem? Give them a massive sugar rush and they will be okay? Is it any wonder we face an obesity crisis in this country? If things go awry shove a cookie in their mouth and at least the near diabetic coma will mask their frustration?
Thank you Spark. I mean that sincerely. Nine months ago this stuff never would have crossed my mind. Now I’ll take my business elsewhere. A friend who used to work at that venue moved to another venue and she’s already emailed me. Bad news travels fast.
We need to stand up. I have zero credibility with my students if I preach the values of self-worth, the value of deserving success and the importance of who you hang around with and then allow my actions to show the exact opposite. When I endorse a product, a company or a venue whose actions go directly against what I am trying to do, what does that say about me?
You may think I need to chill, but then I have to ask, where do we draw the line? This stuff isn’t easy by a long shot, but when it works and works the way it should work, then it is well worth it. I still do not understand why food is the “great equalizer.”
Have a great day