September was a fantastic month! There are many reasons, but the main one is due to the associates I had the privilege of sitting with and talking to. When I first asked Human Resources for a group of associates to sit down with me to talk, I am sure there was a huge reluctance. “What does she want?” “What is this all about and will I have any repercussions?” “Why me?” I know how intimidating meeting with people we don’t really know can be so all the more reason I am grateful.
So what on earth am I talking about, meeting with associates? I asked every property to provide 4-6 associates who would be willing to meet with me to discuss the “good, bad and ugly” of the property.
This was not to be a complaining session but a genuine, “Let’s talk openly and honestly about things with the common goal of making changes to help improve working within Airline.” That is exactly what has happened! The comments, concerns and discussions all focused on taking the property and Airline to the next level.
I appreciated the honesty, caring and respect everyone showed each other and all other Airline associates. We have been able to make some of the changes immediately, some were already done, some cannot be done but the reasons were shared and some we are looking at how can we implement to be the most effective company. This wouldn’t happen if the suggestions were not sincerely for the betterment of the property and the company. It also could not happen if we did not have the support of the GM’s and our COO’s.
Great changes are happening because of a group of associates who cared and took the risk. Making changes is difficult for several reasons: we feel threatened by the change, it is tough to learn a new way, I like it the way it was, I don’t have the energy to learn something new. All of these reasons we can use to drive us, but is that really what we should be doing?
The moment we stand still as individuals or as a company, we have already lost ground. Change is a fundamental part of growth and growth is really what is needed to reach life or business potential. The changes that were brought forth are not radical changes or suggestions. Their purpose is to help make work better and easier.
Makes sense to me. That is one of my goals, to continually challenge and ask, “Just because we have done this for years, why do we continue to do it this way? Is there a better way?” From our focus groups, I am learning that there are many better ways and for that I am grateful and very excited.
As I mentioned, none of this could happen without the associates, the GM’s , our COO’s and myself all wanting the same common goal: to make Airline Hotels one of the very best companies to work with. Now how exciting is that? I would be thrilled to be able to work for a company that is making huge changes in the hospitality industry, especially when these changes are really being driven by the associates. We already are the leader in so many areas; but why stop here. The future is ours to grasp and create the waves of change. Just as our seasons are in the process of changing, so are we as a company. What a wonderful opportunity!
-Betty Anne Latrace-Henderson
Airline Hotels President