Changing Face of the New Hotel General Manager

In the olden days, the General Manager was the friendliest face you saw when checking into a hotel. The host supreme, he was entrusted with the task of interfacing with the guests and making them feel at home. He accommodated your wishes, catered to your demands, and made troubles vanish into thin air. A competent General Manager was worth his weight in gold, and made all the difference between a good and great stay at a hotel!

Today, however, the genial General Manager is fast transforming into a power tool that takes care of various responsibilities, sometimes simultaneously. Gone are the days when he would stand in deference in the hotel lobby. This Jack-of-all-trades now has his fingers deeply and firmly embedded in not one but many pies and is adept at juggling his many roles with a quiet exterior and charming panache.

So what exactly does the new age General Manager do?

The short answer to that is ‘Almost everything!’

It’s true. From tasting food and ensuring top-notch room service to assuming a leadership role and guiding the team towards the company’s goal, the General Manager’s responsibilities are varied in nature and not restricted to any one division of the hotel.

Here’s a more detailed description of what is expected of a General Manager. In addition to overseeing day-to-day options, he’s in charge of…

  1. Building a vibrant organization
  2. Creating a distinctive work environment
  3. Establishing priorities and setting the goals of the company
  4. Spearheading innovative and strategic thinking
  5. Managing human resources and mapping their productivity
  6. Driving the team towards success by setting a personal example
  7. Maintaining the highest standards across all operations

There’s no denying that a General Manager has a lot on his plate. Each responsibility has to be executed with perfection and mistakes are not tolerated kindly in the hospitality industry. Accustomed to fighting fires every day, the General Manager goes around troubleshooting a wide range of problems without batting an eyelid. Safe to say, this job is not everyone’s cup of tea.

What characteristics are desirable in a General Manager?

The General Manager is one of the most respectable, demanding, and exacting positions in the industry. Not everybody can do justice to this role. It takes a person with considerable ingenuity to step into those shoes. Here are some of the traits you should look for in a prospective General Manager.

The Ability to Multi-task

This one makes it to the top of my list for obvious reasons. The typical workday of a General Manager is extremely complex since they are required to oversee so many things and. With equal alertness and perspicacity, they have to supervise guest relations, housekeeping, front desk, finances, F&B set up, compliance, employee evaluation, and any events that may be happening in the hotel. Unless he has excellent time management skills and organizational talents, a General Manager will never be able to rise up to the occasion and keep things together.

Professional Troubleshooting

Most people who land up at a hotel for a lazy getaway are completely oblivious of the chaos playing out behind the scenes. All they see is a haven of peace, luxury, and indulgence functioning like well-oiled machinery, while attends rush to fulfill any wish or demand they may have.

All this is possible, in large part, to the General Manager and his common sense, quick thinking, and the creative and practical solutions he comes up with for every day problems that crop up. Anything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it’s the General Manager’s decisiveness that allows him to avert disasters and keep things working like clockwork in the hotel.

Adaptability & the Desire to Learn

The hospitality sector is one of the fastest evolving sectors in the world. Technology, policies, government legislation, and local politics all contribute towards the changing of times, and it falls upon the General Manager to foresee these changes and prepare for them.

In my experience, the best General Managers are those who welcome the new. Instead of being frightened, they’re curious about the developments taking place in the industry. They’re well-informed and, despite their hectic schedule, they find a way to stay abreast of industry news and trends. By doing so, they ensure that no latest innovation gets by them. They apply their knowledge to work so that their hotel moves with the times and adapts continually.

Teaching & Mentoring

We’ve already established that a General Manager should constantly be amassing knowledge related to the industry and his position. But it’s also important that he passes on what he’s learned to his team, so that they’re equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to work efficiently and independently. Few things are more frustrating and draining for him than to micromanage all the tasks that fall in his lap. For the hotel to function optimally, the staff has to display initiative. This can only happen if they’ve been mentored properly and taught how to be resourceful and quick-witted.

Like I mentioned earlier, a good General Manager is a valuable asset to any hotel and selecting the right one is no mean task. Given the complex nature of the position, I would always recommend that you ‘grow’ your own executives. This allows you to select from within the ranks and prepare somebody who’s familiar with the working of your hotel for the managerial role.

However, that may not always be possible, and you may have to fall back on traditional ways of searching for someone competent to take over the role of a General Manager.

When doing so, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Always bring in someone who knows the business, the industry, and the people involved. Unless you’ve got a very small establishment, the General Manager will not be able to learn everything fast enough to carry out his responsibilities competently.
  • Look beyond the management training courses, seminars, or workshops the candidate may mention on his resume. In my experience, these programs tend to emphasize too much on the importance of formal quantitative tools, which, though relevant, are hardly integral to the job at hand.
  • Scan the potential candidate for the qualities we talked about earlier. They’re just as important as the qualifications and experience the prospect brings to the table.

Finally, when you find the right candidate and welcome him onboard, allow him /her at least three to six months to collect information, build a network, establish relationships, and set the direction for the team. Do not assign pet projects or specific tasks in this duration. It will be counterproductive and divert attention from his main goals of driving the team to success.A good General Manager is integral to the smooth functioning of a hotel. He works behind the scene to offer a pleasant and hassle-free experience to guests and patrons. On his discretion stands the reputation of the hotel and on his efficiency depends all other divisions. So make sure you invest time and effort in selecting the right candidate for the job, for he’s the one who will lead the establishment to its ultimate vision.

7 Remarkable Ways to Improve Your ROI Using DISC Training

What is DISC? DISC is a tool used to help you understand human behavior more clearly. If we want to be more effective in the workplace, then we need to have an awareness of the different personality styles that exist within our team. Our normal expectation as a leader, is that everyone thinks, acts and responds the same way we do; which is not the case. There are four different personality styles, and DISC helps a leader learn to communicate with each one according to THEIR needs.

More and more businesses are realizing the benefits of ‘communication and personality styles’ training amongst their leaders and their teams. We’ve discovered that by understanding the different personalities, you can retain good talent and help improve their productivity; resulting in a positive work environment, with less turn over and peak performers helping reach company goals. In order to achieve this, you must start by leading yourself first and then learning how to lead others. That’s why DISC is a perfect fit for the business world.

Here are 7 Remarkable Ways to Improve Your ROI Using DISC Training:

    1. Time saver. It could take years to try and figure out how to motivate each person on your team, how to interact best with your boss or how to communicate with new clients. Understanding the model of human behavior, helps take the guess work out when dealing with people, and saves years of headaches trying to figure it all out and increases your productivity meanwhile.
    1. Hire the right people for the right position from the beginning. 80% of high turnover is due to poor hiring decisions, and the cost of replacing an employee is an estimated 1/5 of their salary. Hiring the wrong person can cost you more than high turn over though. It can cause a disturbance in culture, decreased work production and potential customer loss. With DISC, you’ll be more accurate in your employee placement and learn if the job candidate is the right “FIT”. DISC will help you match job requirements to an individual’s personality, learn their strengths as indicated in their personality assessment, learn what motivates each person as indicated in their personality assessment and learn how they will connect with and add value to the existing team.
    1. Lower turn over rates. Research has shown that motivated employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization. When you have people in the right position and you know how to make them feel valued in a way that THEY need to feel valued, you can maintain good talent instead of lose them to a company who understands this.
    1. Develop a more engaged and cohesive team. What if you had X-ray glasses and could see your team’s strengths, needs and interaction dynamics? What if you could reduce conflict? Improve co-operation? Reduce turnover? Boost morale? DISC assessments and team charts give you the tools to do just that. You can help your team learn the strengths of each member, understand TEAM dynamics, discover each team member’s personality traits, build better communication and learn what motivates each team member. The more engaged your teams are with one another, the more dedicated to your organization they’ll become.
    1. Improve the quality and efficiency of the work within your team. DISC helps managers determine strengths and weaknesses of each individual on their team, and gives them options on how to help their employees improve. It also assists you in determining the training needs each employee has. We are all wired differently, therefore, we learn differently. If you try to train every employee the same way, you will be holding many of them back from understanding and implementing their job duties. When you understand their training needs, you can help improve the quality and efficiency of their work.
    1. Improve poor behavior quicker. Your progressive disciplinary procedure should stay the same for everyone, however, the disciplinary conversations you have with each employee changes according to their personality style. DISC enables you to coach people up and keep them motivated. Studies have proven that motivated employees call in fewer sick days, have less insurance claims, less employee theft, fewer wasted hours and less HR issues.
  1. Develop future leaders of your company. When you understand the people you’re managing, you can help improve their personal performance and then develop a strategic plan to point them towards a leadership role. The more they see you invest in their future, the more committed they’ll be to invest in your company’s future as well.

Bottom line… DISC takes ALL the guesswork out when dealing with people.

Weekly Challenge:

Take a personality assessment and learn how YOU prefer to connect & communicate with others and how you are most likely to get motivated to achieve more.

Discover the Six Critical Attributes of A Difference Maker

It was Steve Jobs who famously said: “We are here to put a dent in the Universe.” To make sure, that when we leave, our dent will still be there with our unique name on it is a somewhat of a big challenge. It’s an even bigger challenge to do what we need to do to put the dent there in the first place. This is what being a difference maker is about.

I came up with 6 attributes that characterise a Difference Maker in this 21st century.

  • Difference Makers are big picture people. This doesn’t mean that they have to do big things because sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. Big picture people are open to seeing the world in all its facets. They don’t sweat the small stuff; they don’t get stuck in being judgmental or moralistic; they value and appreciate diversity. They think globally, while acting locally. They have a panoramic view of whatever it is they are contemplating or taking action on. They live, breathe, think and act in a wholistic way.
  • Difference Makers are inclusive. They don’t create barriers through which people have to jump if they want to interact or work with them. Instead they are open to all people of good will. They value the diversity inherent in being inclusive. They value connectedness.
  • Difference Makers have a multi-disciplinary approach in their thinking and their action. They don’t operate out of one theoretical, ideological or professional mindset. They recognise that truth cannot have boundaries placed around it, nor does it have any closure. They have an ability to hold, contain and synthesise many different ideas from many different disciplines and philosophies in a way that creates new meanings.
  • Difference Makers are reflective by nature. They value the exploration of experience, the looking back at it either alone or with others.They see value in the contemplation, that stills the noise in their world and allows them to discover deeper meaning and purpose. They are not, in essence, however, contemplative, but rather action oriented. Their reflection is dynamic and alive and guides their future action. They are problem posers, not just problem solvers.
  • Difference Makers embrace, rather than be threatened by, a worldview characterised by uncertainty, unpredictability, ambivalence and paradox. They accept this is reality without being completely comfortable with it. They have developed the self-mastery to live creatively in the tension, straddle the ambivalence and grow stronger. They lead with acquired wisdom, not merely strategy.
  • Difference Makers acknowledge, work with and honour complexity. Again they see it as inherent to their world today. They do not try to control and escape it by reducing everything to its lowest denominator whereby in the process they remove the essence. Instead they draw on all the other qualities of Difference Makers above to creatively and innovatively create new solutions.

Is Coaching Worth the Investment?

In a world where time is money, managers need people who can take action immediately. They search for employees who already have the skills, competency and capability to work with little supervision. Combined with ever changing businesses and technology, companies claim there is no time to train and coach people effectively. Instead they chant do it now!

However, the idea of do it faster, smarter, and better is in conflict with a society that is constantly transforming. The skills of today are not the skills of tomorrow. A person can be obsolete in 6-12 months if unable to embrace change.

That said, one of the greatest assets of a leader is the ability to adapt to change. Why? The easier the leader transforms the quicker the rest of the enterprise will follow. When leadership transforms, they become a great support structure and reinforcement for a new corporate culture, that in turn affects staff and managers alike.

Yet, for some reason, there are leaders who resist the idea of mentoring people, complaining that it takes too much time to coach. These managers expect their employees to be motivated to do things they may not know how to do or take on responsibilities outside of their job description.

I’d like to share my personal experience with coaching people. Having lost both parents in one day, I learned leadership through the fire. In the face of a tumultuous situation, many things had to be accomplished. As the oldest of four children, I had to take charge of the family. My first mission was to ensure emotional safety for my brother, 19 and sisters 16 and 12, respectively.

I took my brother to another state to attend college. That left my sisters and I to accomplish many complicated tasks. I knew they had no idea how to help so I coached them to learn to help. To start, I’d ask them to do simple tasks that they were not qualified to do. When they failed, instead of giving them the answer, I asked questions. I would ask them: “What’s another way to ask for what you want? Just because someone tells you no doesn’t mean no. You may have asked the wrong way.” In a short time, they developed new problem solving skills. With those skills in place, I was able to make more complicated requests and, to my surprise, they volunteered for even greater tasks.

Using the leadership skills I developed during my parents’ death, I led companies as an executive, employing the same style. When I hired a new person, I would ask them to do something they did not know how to do. In one case, the gentleman spent 20 minutes attempting to convince me that I overestimated him. He assured me he was not qualified to handle the project. I assured him there was no pressure and I was available to work closely with him. As he took on the project, to his surprise, he was very capable and was given responsibility for the remainder of the initiative.

When I listen to seasoned executives, nearly all of them think the same: it is better to hire someone who possesses company values, instead of the “right” skills. Those executives say skills and competencies can be learned. When you combine that with my experience, you increase the value of staff and management when you coach them up. You empower them to learn skills and competencies they would not ordinarily learn. At the same time, as a leader, you are able to strategically delegate new assignments to them and lighten your load so that you, as the leader, can take on new responsibilities.

How to Have a Positive Reaction to Change in the Workplace

Change is all around us. It is happening to both you and I as I am writing this article. In the words of Charles Darwin, it is not the fittest that survive but those creatures that are most adaptable to change. When change occurs in our lives it can be a daunting experience. The truth that many people are afraid to face is that change can be scary. Imagine you just graduated and entered a new career. Suddenly you find yourself in an unknown environment – new faces, new concepts and new ways of doing things. It can be overwhelming.

You need not fear this. What you can do is to embrace change wholeheartedly. It is all in your subconscious mind. You may realize it but your mind loves changes. Change may look fearsome but it is also an exciting thing. Instead of trying to resist it – try to look at change as an opportunity to rediscover something new.

Chinese philosopher and author of the Art of War – Sun Tzu said: Opportunities multiply as they are seized. This is exactly what happens when you embrace change. Here are some tips you can apply to respond to change positively.

1. When you start seeing change happening in your workplace- gather as much information as you can about the change.

2. Engage in introspection as to how these changes is going to affect you in the workplace. You may have to work with a new boss, or your company has been taken over by a new management and there is planning a major re-shuffle.

3. See how you can fit in to the changing environment. Instead of simply accepting change – think of how you can contribute to the change. Perhaps your management team wants some ideas of how they can implement the changes objectively. Give them some suggestions on how this can be done. They will appreciate you more as you are seen to be accepting the changes and giving the impression on how you can adapt with them.

4. Act it out – imagine how the change will affect you and act accordingly. It might look a bit tedious in the beginning but when you keep trying you certainly will become better at it.

On a final note – the only other certainty in our live is the uncertainty that life provides. Remember the changes that you face are the excitement that gives you the edge to survive. When you

Applying Cognitive Diversity to Problem-Solving Processes

Andrew Parkin, former Director General of the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, states that problem-solving skills are increasingly important for success in this dynamic, chaotic technological-based economy of the 21st century. As we move to more complex workplace problem-solving roles, we must learn to think outside the box and not jump to the first answer to any problem. One of the greatest challenges in problem-solving is resisting the temptation to accept the first answer to a problem. Once you have an answer, you stop searching for more possibilities. Complex situations call for deeper analysis. Given the complexity of workplace problems, teams find better solutions when they draw on different perspectives and standard problem-solving tools.

Cognitive diversity is the understanding of different perspectives, techniques and methods individuals use to categorize, predict and find solutions to problems. Applying cognitive diversity problem-solving tools, teams and individuals have a better chance of finding creative outcomes that help them to visualize, mobilize, and actualize effective change results.

Since the 1980’s, change is not an event any longer; it is a way of life as our technologies, communications processes, multiculturalism, along with our economic and highly competitive marketplace requires that we tap into diverse cognitive perceptions to increase our approaches for dealing with change. By making more connections, identifying more nuances and possibilities, teams and companies stand a better chance at responding to the complex and highly ambiguous challenges of the 21st century.

At the heart of change lies the change problem; that is, some future state is to be realized, some current state is to be left behind, and some structured, organized process for getting from the one to the other is to be identified. Change can be made easier with the following insights, strategies and tools:

Change Leadership – Work has become more cognitive and less physical while at the same time requiring employees to adapt to change constantly, which can cause stress and anxiety. When organizations must change the way they do things due to external forces in the market place, changes in regulations, or consumer demands, leaders will have to recognize and confront their staffs’ resistance to change. Leaders can minimize the resistance and stress by speaking of the change and how it aligns to the organization’s vision and mission; by presenting the benefits of the change to each employee; and by engaging and informing employees of the change in advance.

Creative Problem-Solving Tools – Since change is a constant and leaders have to create new beginnings, visions, directions or goals, it is important to use creative thinking tools such as: creating a problem statement, brainstorming outcomes, flushing out obstacles, using force-field analysis methods to weigh the pros and cons, creating action items, as well as producing a specific plan that can be monitored, evaluated and revised.

While walking the professional tightrope, stay empowered during change processes by drawing on diverse perspectives and creative problem-solving tools. Successful change processes include: Visualization, Mobilization, and Actualization.

How To Be Better At Leading Change

70% of all change initiatives fail.

That’s a pretty startling statistic. Especially when you consider how important change is. I mean, we all acknowledge this, right? There aren’t many organizations out there saying, “You know what we need to do? We need to maintain the status quo, and we need to do it now!”

Every breakthrough involves change. Every innovation involves change. Every new product, policy, or service that moves you ahead of the competition involves change.

So change is vitally important-and yet 70% of change initiatives fail.

Why is that?

It’s because the people leading change don’t play the long game.

To put it another way, they declare victory too soon. Here’s why.

Change is difficult. There’s no getting around that. Change can be messy and uncertain-especially when you’re right in the middle of it. As Harvard professor and author of The Change Masters Rosabeth Moss Kanter puts it, “Everything can look like a failure in the middle.”

In fact, the middle part of change-the messy, uncertain part-can be so painful that we declare victory the instant we’re through it. It’s as if, as soon as we start to see light at the end of the tunnel, we wipe our brow, give each other a high five, and say, “Whew! That’s done!”

But it’s not done. Yes, you’ve made it through the messy part, but you haven’t anchored the change. It’s not yet a part of the culture. It hasn’t “stuck.”

You played the short game.

The truth is, change is a long game. The average successful corporate change initiative is a seven-year process-of which years three, four, and five are the messy part. But notice that there are still two years of anchoring left before the change sticks, before it becomes part of the culture.

It’s the part after the messy part that determines whether or not your change initiative will last.

So what, as a leader, do you do during this part?

You reinforce the change.

You actively look for any and every positive outcome that is a result of the change, and you become relentless about communicating these outcomes to the team. You have to be the one connecting the dots of success back to the change because, left to their own, your team members will not make the connection.

Only by reinforcing the change can you anchor the change, and only by anchoring the change can you make the change truly stick.

And once you do this, you’ll be in that exclusive club of leaders whose change initiatives succeed.

7 Dynamic Project Management Methodologies for Marketing Professionals

From time to time, the marketing industry has grown tougher, and success is something that is hard to come by, which every marketer aims for. To differentiate and stand-out amongst their competitors in the rapidly changing world of marketing, marketers are learning project management skills to keep control of each project they undertake.

Project management and marketing

Effective Management has become a necessity for Marketing Professionals to run a business smoothly. These skills will help marketers reach their target audience which in turn will lead to increased profits and result in consistent success. They work closely with the marketing team to implement strategies, designs, and initiatives to manage work. The team is always welcomed to contribute ideas, and these ideas are implemented by the team lead to observe its potential.

Tasks of a Marketing, Project Manager

Their key responsibility is to oversee the use of various marketing techniques to promote the company. He/she is also assigned to the duties of handling a single product or the whole team of the company. The methods they incorporate include online campaigns, brochures, press release, and other editorial material which will help in promoting the brand and spread awareness.

7 best practices that Market Professionals incorporate in their day to day activities are –

1. Defining project requirements

Managing marketing campaigns is never considered as an easy task as it involves too many tangible aspects of the project. Firstly, he/she (project manager) has to be precise as to what the customer is expecting from the company’s marketing campaign. The simplest way to gain knowledge of the requirement is to think from the audience point of view. Secondly, they are required to choose the highest priority assignment strategically and should start defining its background. The important aspect to note is that every venture may need different requirements to help brainstorm ideas for the particular task; hence the list of requirements should be created based on;

a. Project Automation – The process is important to avoid overburdened manual work which will help in filtering out the productive and non-productive tasks.

b. Elimination – The elimination method will help in sorting out the less important work from the scheduled working list which will benefit from catering excess time to execute more plans.

c. Maintenance – The maintenance method will help the authorities to apply minimal time to long-term projects to ensure they provide maximum output.

2. High scope of communication

Effective communication should exist amongst team members to build a strong community and help the team feel confident while working on a particular task to outperform expectations. It is quite tough for people to get started if there is no scope for open discussions. Open communication is helpful to shape and define company goals. Managers are required to use the right tools to streamline internal communications. For example, ProofHub, Skype, and HipChat are the tools commonly used to help improving peer to peer communication to voice their messages on related topics.

3. Interlink marketing projects to marketing strategy

Team leads should develop marketing strategies to ensure that the products or services meet the customer needs. The key benefits of developing effective marketing strategies are to drive upsells, increase brand loyalty and generate new business. They will face situations where the team is mangled in the complexity of low impact projects and are likely to spend too much time which will ultimately kill the company’s marketing performance. To avoid such circumstances, they should link the marketing projects to marketing strategy to maintain agility and autonomy. The key element of successful marketing strategy is to help them to categorize potential customers into groups based on their needs. To accomplish this feat, the project manager has to set a marketing strategy, draw a marketing plan and evaluate the success of the strategy implemented.

4. Define marketing goals for project growth

Planning a marketing process can generate a lot of ideas that seem ideal for marketing a product or service. There are some basic marketing goals that a person in charge must concentrate on to tackle projects based on their impact, like – how to bring in more traffic, methods to generate more email subscribers, and techniques to increase customers. These aspects can be met when the venture manager defines the goals clearly to the team to allow them to focus on the projects that have a huge impact on the business.

5. Access resources and tackle projects
A manager should ensure that the resources allocated are sufficiently handled and executed. One should not take up the option of cutting down resources set up for future projects when a sudden change occurs in the ongoing project. The scope for flexibility should always be present to make sure that the project runs smoothly as planned and lastly, one also should consider the availability of resources before executing the task to accomplish quality standards when it comes to delivering objectives. Important aspects to look into before executing the venture are –

a. Create a checklist of prioritized objectives.

b. Assign projects carefully, along with the tools and budget required.

c. Resource allocation to create value for clients, employees, and agency.

d. Appoint task managers for Smart thinking and strategy.

6. Process Work Breakdown

When working on a big project, the momentum might be slightly fading away as the project progresses. Hence, the assigned manager has to break down projects into small tasks to manage the project in whole to avoid unnecessary obstacles. Tasks are to be classified into individual works that meet the desired deadlines. There are certain things to keep a note of when breaking down the projects and they are –

a. Getting insights as to who is doing what.

b. Listing downtime estimates of the tasks allotted

c. Generate a workflow calendar

7. Implementing collaboration tools

As advanced technology is gaining importance, the complexity in handling projects increases, making collaborative tools the need of the hour at workplaces to support virtual teams. Team members are to be pre-occupied at every stage of the project. To reduce the need for constant meetings, online collaboration tools are being used to share ideas and edit documents. Software like (ProofHub) will easily run multiple activities, manage volumes of data, track process delays and make documentation accessible to the right team members. Whether allocating project resources, updating tasks, or handling any of the dozens of small issues that will arise as you progress forward, the campaign needs to be kept organized and every detail tracked. That’s where project management does marketers a favor: everything stays within the system, automatically saved and organized.

Ryan Grant has written articles based on subjects which mainly focus on,Project Management, IT Service Management, Quality Management and DevOps. He is valued for possessing experience which enables him to work alongside with small business owners, helping them to plan, implement and review their growth strategies. He handles one discrete project (small business) at a time, until our clients have reached their goals.

Change One Thing To Produce Better Results Under Pressure

John Hypothetical has a big exam coming up, and there’s a lot riding on the outcome. He prepares well for the exam, but he’s understandably nervous. When the big day arrives, he can feel his heart beating fast. Despite all his preparation, John chokes.

Emily Imaginary has the same big exam coming up, with the same consequences riding on the outcome. She also prepares well and is also understandably nervous. When the big day arrives, she can feel her heart beating fast. But unlike John, Emily aces the exam.

Now, quick quiz: In this scenario, who would you rather be: John or Emily?

When you’re in a high-pressure situation, with a lot riding on the outcome, you want to be like Emily, don’t you? You want to ace the exam.

So what was the difference? With all other things being equal, why did Emily succeed while John failed?

It’s because Emily saw the exam as a challenge, while John saw the exam as a threat.

This one shift – choosing to see your pressure situation as a challenge rather than a threat – can mean the difference between prevailing and choking.

“That’s all well and good, Bill,” you say, “but how do you just choose challenge over threat? There’s gotta be more to it than that.”

Not really. But there are two things you can do that will help you make this shift.

1. Prepare. Really prepare.
In order to see a high-pressure situation as a challenge rather than as a threat, you have to know, deep down inside, that you’re up for the challenge. You have to be 100% certain that “you’ve got this!” And you don’t get there without preparation. Some might even call it overpreparation. It’s why Roger Federer hits thousands of backhands on the practice court; so he can hit that one perfect backhand on match point. Preparation gives you confidence. And when you’re confident, it’s really hard to see your adversary (the big test, the big presentation, the big meeting) as a threat.

2. Change the way you react to your body.
Pressure situations generate physical manifestations. The shallow breathing, the sweaty palms, the proverbial “butterflies in the stomach.” In our opening example, John Hypothetical will experience these feelings and think, “Oh, wow. Look how nervous I am! My hands are literally shaking. This is terrible! I just want it to be over!” Emily Imaginary, on the other hand, experiences the same feelings and thinks, “This is my body ramping up for the challenge! I can feel the energy, the excitement! My body is doing what it’s supposed to do, and I’m ready! I’ve got this!”

In high-pressure situations, see your body as a friend, not an enemy! #pressure #leadership #highperformance #ProducingUnderPressure #stress”

Pressure situations, inherently, are neither a challenge nor a threat. They just are. So it’s not about the situation; it’s about your mental game as you approach the situation. By preparing thoroughly, and interpreting your body’s signals as positives, you will start to see your high-pressure situations as challenges rather than threats.

Coach Lombardi’s 3 Leadership Lessons for Success

Coach Vince Lombardi was an American football player, one of Fordham’s football team’s “Seven Blocks of Granite”, head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s leading the team to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years and “winning the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons.”

Many experts consider Coach Lombardi “to be the greatest coach in football history, and he is more significantly recognized as one of the greatest coaches and teachers in the history of any American sport.”

The Lombardi’s were devoted Catholics and attended Mass every Sunday. Vince was the oldest of their five children, an altar boy in their Catholic Church, and his parents expected more from him.

The Lombardi children, outside their neighborhood, were subjected to “ethnic discrimination” against Italian immigrants that was pervasive in the culture at that time.

David Maraniss wrote in When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. “Harry Lombardi preached his triangle of success to his children-sense of duty, respect for authority and strong mental discipline.”

The virtue of hard work:

At a young age, Vince, began working for his father Harry in the family butcher shop. Vince carried extremely heavy sides of meat and cut up the carcasses. He did not like doing this. Carrying around the heavy sides of meat shaped his muscles which came in handy for his athletics.

Vince’s father encouraged his interest in football and love of sports. He played in “sandlot football games” at age 12. At the age of 15 in 1928, Vince had decided to become a priest and enrolled at the Cathedral College of Immaculate Conception. At school, Vince played center on the basketball team and outfielder and catcher on the baseball team. He also continued playing football in pick-up games.

He decided two years later not to become a priest and transferred to St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn where he won a scholarship. He starred as fullback on the football team. Vince was “described as aggressive and powerful” playing “every minute of every game”. At school the other students liked him and his coaches and teachers respected him and “helped him win a football scholarship to Fordham University.”

Fordham University “Seven Blocks of Granite”:

After graduating high school, Vince Lombardi attended Fordham University in 1933 on a football scholarship. Vince Lombardi was 5 feet 8, 185 pounds and stocky.

Lombardi and his teammates were on the verge of their best season ever. Their offensive line quickly gained a reputation of being impenetrable, yet they needed a memorable nickname to rival Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen. Someone mentioned that they were solid as “Seven Blocks of Granite” and the name stuck.

The team didn’t win the championship that year, but the nickname of Seven Blocks of Granite ushered that team into college football immortality.

Vince Lombardi graduated Fordham University in 1937 with a business degree, magna cum laude. He then attended law school in the evenings for a semester and worked at a finance company during the day. Then for a year, Vince worked as a chemist. He was uninspired and thought about teaching and coaching. He missed being around young people.

Teaching & Coaching at St. Celia High School:

Vince Lombardi received a phone call and was offered a teaching and assistant football coaching position at St. Celia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He accepted the position and taught physics, Latin, Chemistry, physical education, coached basketball, and was assistant coach for football. Vince Lombardi later said “these eight years were some of the best years of his life.” In 1940 Vince Lombardi married his sweetheart Marie Planitz and they had two children, Vince, Jr. and Susan.

Coach Lombardi “was a strict disciplinarian”, expecting his rules to be obeyed. He intensely studied each sport he taught to his students, “breaking it down to systematic and logical portions” that his students could understand. Lombardi demanded perfection.

Coach Lombardi Rule: “Don’t just work harder than the next guy. Work harder than everybody else.”

Coach Lombardi said, “Football is like life-it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

Assistant Football Coach at Fordham University:

In 1947, Vince Lombardi came back to Fordham University, his alma mater, to join the coaching staff for two years.

Coach Lombardi was a “tireless coach” on the field. His practice sessions were “grueling and demanding”. He expected “absolute dedication from his players”. He would run the same play over and over, ‘barking out’ – “Run it again” whenever a mistake was made. He “expected perfection”.

Coach Lombardi Rule: ‘Chase perfection’. “If you settle for nothing less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.”

Assistant Coach at West Point for Coach Red Blaik:

In 1949, he became the assistant coach at the United States Academy at West Point to learn from the legendary coach Colonel Red Blaik. During this time he “identified and developed.. the hallmark of his great teams.. simplicity and execution.”

At West Point Coach Lombardi strictly enforced curfew on the road. It was later called “Lombardi time”. His players had to arrive 10 minutes early. When a player “came in minutes late” he fined them. While traveling his players wore team blazers and ties. Coach said he wanted them to represent the team well.

Assistant Coach for New York Giants: Lombardi was then hired for the next 5 years as an assistant coach “in the NFL for the New York Giants”. The Giants with Lombardi’s help won “five winning seasons, culminating with the league championship in 1956.” While with the Giants, Coach Lombardi had to take on a second job to support his family.

Head Coach Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin: Coach Lombardi, 45 years old, became the new head coach for the next five years for the Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers were a losing team when new head Coach Lombardi was hired.

David Maraniss in his book, “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” explained when Coach Lombardi “walked into training camp in the summer of 1961. He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentleman,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, this is a football.”

Coach Lombardi “started from the very beginning” methodically covering the fundamentals throughout training camp. The Green Bay Packers team “would become the best in the league at the tasks everyone took for granted.” The Green Bay packers, six months later, “beat the New York Giants 37-0 to win the NFL Championship.”

Coach Lombardi fought prejudice his whole life as an Italian and did not tolerate prejudice in his players or in the restaurants or facilities he took his players too. Many times, he was overlooked for a coaching job because he was Italian.

Vince Lombardi, Jr. says, “My father was not only a great football coach; he was also a great leader. It was his leadership-his ability to motivate his players, to inspire them to surpass their own perceived physical and mental capability, and his incredible will to win that brought national renown to the man, his methods and his players.”

Zig Ziglar, motivational expert, retold the following story: It was a hot and steamy day. Practice was not going well for Coach Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. He chose “one of his big guards” to chew out for “failure to “put out”.

Coach Lombardi said, “Son, you are a lousy football player. You’re not blocking, you’re not tackling, you’re not putting out. As a matter of fact, it’s all over for today. Go take a shower.”

Dropping his head, the big guard, “walked into the dressing room” and sat in front of his locker remaining in his uniform for forty-five minutes with his head bowed, quietly sobbing. When Lombardi walked in and saw his football player, he did an about face. Walking over Coach “put his arm around his players’ shoulder” and said, “Son, I told you the truth. You are a lousy football player. You’re not blocking, you’re not tackling, you’re not putting out. However, in all fairness to you. I should have finished the story. Inside of you, Son, there is a great football player and I’m going to stick by your side until the great football player inside of you has a chance to come out and assert himself.”

Coach Lombardi’s words and actions helped Jerry Kramer’s talent to grow and flourish to become a great football player. Coach as promised stuck by Jerry’s side inspiring and motivating him to be a great football player.

Jerry Kramer “went on to become one of the all-time greats in football” and was voted the all-time guard in the first 50 years of professional football.”

Coach Vince Lombardi said to his players, “With every fiber of my body, I’ve got to make you the best football player that I can make you. And you’ve got to give everything that is in you. You’ve got to keep yourself in prime physical condition, because fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Shelby Skrhak said, “Lombardi made men of his players. In doing this, he promised to be relentless.”

Zig Ziglar said that, “Coach Lombardi saw things in his men that they seldom saw in themselves. He had the ability to inspire his men to use the talent they had.” Coach Lombardi lead his Green Bay Packers to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years and they won “the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons.”

Coach Vince Lombardi’s Rule On Character: Coach Lombardi believed a person’s character is made up of small, everyday decisions to do the right thing, as well as larger prevailing traits, such as respect, humility and responsibility.

Coach Lombardi told management student at Fordham in 1967 that, “Character is just another word for having a perfectly disciplined and educated will. A person can make his own character by blending these elements with an intense desire to achieve excellence. Everyone is different in what I will call magnitude, but the capacity to achieve character is still the same.”

Lombardi Rule: “Write your character. Improvements in moral character are our own responsibility. Bad habits are eliminated not by others, but by ourselves.”

Coach Lombardi developed his players’ character by “teaching them discipline and giving them self-confidence to achieve more than they thought possible.”

Coach Lombardi “knew his players’ psychology. He developed people, not players.”

Head Coach of the Washington Redskins:

When Coach Lombardi became the new head coach of the Washington Redskins he was asked by reporters how he was going to handle Sonny Jurgensen, the talented but undisciplined quarterback?

Lombardi “called Sonny to his side, put his arm around him and said, “Gentlemen, this is the greatest quarterback to ever step on a football field.”

Coach Lombardi gave Sonny Jurgensen something to live up too!

Zig Ziglar said, “Is it any wonder that Jurgensen had his best year ever. Lombardi saw the good in others, treated them like he saw them, and helped develop the “good” that was inside of them.”

Coach Lombardi had a way of looking at his players, seeing their talents, and knew what to do to develop those talents. He believed in the “old fashioned values of discipline, obedience, loyalty, character, and teamwork.”

What are 3 of Coach Lombardi’s leadership lessons for success?

1) A leaders first priority is to develop their people.

2) Leaders do this by teaching them discipline, and

3) by teaching them character.

As a leader in your business or organization make it your first priority to develop your team members by teaching them discipline and teaching them character just like Coach Vince Lombardi did!