I remember with crystal clarity the moment when my dream began to become a general manager of a hotel – it was my 1st day on the job as Banquet Supervisor at the Hyatt Kingsgate in Sydney in the early 1980s, and I was standing in the middle of the Ballroom as we prepared for a Dinner for 600 in my grey pin stripped suit thrilled with the buzz, the team work, the rush and the fun – I fell in love!
Through almost three decades — which consisted of managing and working almost every department in various hotels as well as restaurants — I have been honing my craft as a general manager. On occasion I find myself reflecting on that day that I decided to become a GM and wondering, “Am I the general manager that I first aspired to be?”
The general manager of today is much different than the general manager of the past. We typically have fewer mid-level managers for support, and technology and the demands of global business make the role of the GM much more challenging today than ever before. The bar is now higher. I firmly believe hospitality management is a dynamic craft that needs to be honed and requires continuous development in order for the manager to be effective and relevant.
I can honestly say that my concept of what a general manager was 30 years ago and what it is today are only vaguely similar. I am conscious as I walk through my own property that there are staff members who may look at me and at some point may make a decision that they, too, want to be a general manager someday. Cognizant of my role in that regard, it is incumbent on me to always present the highest level of excellence, knowledge and vision in order to be the example for future general managers.
What is the answer? Yes I believe so – that being said I strive to become a better General Manager day after day conscious always of leaving a legacy and helping others on their own journies.