Just over a year ago the Maple Tree Inn experienced a change in management companies, now Waterford Hotels & Inns. When I started at the Maple Tree Inn I added the job to my LinkedIn profile, but didn’t fill in any of the details about the job until recently, when I added Transition Leader. That is what I have been doing for the past year or so, transitioning with the owners, hotel, employees, guests, and vendors.
Change, no matter how small, is never easy. It is our nature to find comfort in the familiar. Never the less, change is inevitable and most often, when we look back, we think; “that was good”.
When I first arrived to take my position as General Manager, the hotel had one bird named Maple. Secretly I was thrilled, I had wanted a bird for years and had always succumbed to the desire our family had for a cat. Having to care for Maple seemed like the best of both worlds, bird by day, cat by night.
Maple was, like the rest of us, facing change. She was angry, confused; and as a result couldn’t see, at that moment, things were getting better. How do you make changes and do it in a way so that everyone is ready and can embrace the change? Where do you start?
I did have a vision, one that started with the owners; Bay Area community leaders, with a desire for their hotel to be a cornerstone of Sunnyvale; top in rankings with the community, guests and employees. A product they could be proud of and a legacy that could be passed on for generations.
When I was asked how I was going to make the shift that needed to happen, I responded “from the inside out”, which seemed a bit flip. On reflection I realized that there was no real formula. In the beginning it was a bit of “one foot in front of the other”, always with the desired outcome in mind.
I started listening to my guests and watched to see how they were making out in the hotel. Many things came out of this, but one main thing was that everyone seemed to love Maple, and wanted more than anything for her to have a mate. As it turned out someone’s’ cousin had three birds and wanted to give away one because they were not getting along. This of course speaks directly to “just because you get another pet, it doesn’t mean they are going to get along”. I did the research on how to integrate the birds and decided to get a new cage with a divider so Maple could, at the very least have a neighbor if the union didn’t work out as her long lost love.
When Romeo arrived he was loud, skinny, and big eyed like a Margaret Keane painting. Did I mention loud? He had never been handled and I’m not sure if I mentioned his lung capacity was capable of breaking an eardrum. I was positive, at that moment; it wasn’t going to work out, but that was eight months ago and true to his name he has charmed us all. All except Maple, who enjoys his neighborly ways and is happy to have the divider to keep him in his own playground.
Recently one of my staff asked me what I learned from Romeo. After a moment I answered, “Patience is what I learned”. Just because I had a plan and direction I needed to be fluid, able to respond in real time and adjust accordingly. Romeo couldn’t be bought with a promise. I had to be consistent, stand my ground yet be flexible, work with him everyday to show him what was expected, and be aware of his capacity and ability to move forward.
My work with Romeo is a nice metaphor showing what I need to do as a leader tasked with transitioning the Maple Tree Inn to the next level. Proudly we have received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor, and moved our ranking from 15 to 8 in the last year.
As for Romeo, he is happily learning to perch on my hand (without taking a chunk out of my finger) and tweets a “cat call” when someone of interest passes by.
I am co-hosting a workshop and would love to see you there, here are the details.
Step Into Your Power
Embody Personal Strength and Wholeness
Rejuvenating Pool Side Network Event and Workshop
Are you successful, good at what you do, yet still feel limited or unsatisfied?
When we only focus on our strengths, we get more of the same result.
Would you like to capitalize on your inherent abilities and live the life you are meant to live?
Join us for a glimpse of the possibilities that can lead you to:
Work Less, Make Easier Transitions
Achieve Powerful Outcomes
Saturday, June 8, 2013
10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Maple Tree Inn, 711 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA
Hosted by Certified Integral Coaching Team
Barbara Pressman ~ www.barbarapressman.com
Nadine Watson ~ www.sagacycoaching.com
Where together we identify your unique qualities to support stepping into new possibilities. You experience excellence in your endeavors and joy in life.*
Register at: http://powerstep.eventbrite.com
Includes: Keynote, Fun and Interactive Workshop
Lite Fare and Free Gift Bag Cost: $32 Advance / $35 Door
Step into your Power and take the steps to help you get to where you want to go!
*Discover Integral Coaching
Paying attention to what happens around us, or what the universe is offering is not always easy.
Separately, and in different formats I have repeatedly heard in the past week the same message.
In the moments of first meeting you can see the now, the past, and the future of the relationship. All is present in that moment, you just need to be open to receiving the information.
How open are you?
Just signed up for Spotify- Let’s start this shit up.
No matter the direction I turn, the stone I uncover, the tree I climb, I end up at me.
One day my Dad sent me to the corner store with a penny. I grew up with corner stores, which appeared every few blocks. Ours was two blocks away, which meant I needed to cross two streets; one, which was a quiet intersection, and the other which required more finesse.
Looking to expand my universe, craving for independence, I asked to go to the store on my own, I was very young and my Dad although not completely sure whether to send me, caved in under my insistence. He handed over the penny, repeated instructions several times, me repeating back what I was to get in exchange for that penny. Could I remember he asked, I responded with a resounding, yes!
Until I got older, those corner stores were mysterious and frightening places. Although small they were gigantic to me, and the clerks/owners were always a bit intimidating. At our corner store, the cash register was at the back, which meant that between the door and the register there were isles filled with lots of neat things, from food to sundries.
With this new responsibility and first adventure, I set off from home vowing not to forget what trade I was to make at the store, for my penny. Our blocks were not long and if my Dad stood out on the sidewalk, he could watch me the entire time until I entered the store, I am not sure that he did. Today, we barely let our 12 year olds out of sight for fear they will disappear, but there I was at half that age making my first solo trip to the corner store.
Puffed with pride at with the gigantic responsibility I was given, I chanted my purchase to myself as I left home. This worked wonderfully until the middle of the second block, when, for some distraction, I completely forgot what the penny was for. I reasoned however, that the storeowner would be able to help, because, how many things could cost one penny? So I continued on.
The young travel at top speed with boundless energy until they have a destination, then suddenly, things move at a snails’ pace. I was no different, compounded with the anxiety when I arrived, I wove in and out of each aisle searching for something that might jog my memory and remind me what I had to buy. Reaching the storeowner, it became clear that he could not help me. This was my big opportunity to show my Dad how responsible I was, so with the coaxing of the storeowner a purchase was made.
Now on my trip home I was consumed with the dread that not only had I forgotten what to buy, but had spent the penny on bubblegum. I knew my Dad would not have given me a penny to buy gum but the pressure to succeed blurred my reasoning mind into a decision against my better judgment.
The trip took longer then it should have and although I was nervous, my Dad was anxious when I arrived. My instincts were correct and bubblegum was not what the penny was for, and as my Dad lit his cigarette on the electric element of the stove leaving half the tobacco from the tip behind, he clearly displayed his anger. Penny matches, not gum should have traveled home, in my pocket, from the corner store.
When people are seen, they show themselves.