Rats, gems and elephants

I’m not sure if it’s just the time of the year for new beginnings, or if BON Hotels has captured the attention of tons of job-seekers in the hospitality industry. It seems that individuals who made an impression over the course of my own career, whether positive or negative, are now scurrying out of the woodwork and contacting me for work.

A great manager and leader once taught me that people with whom you work will remember two things about you: how you started, and how you finished. It is critically important to make an excellent first impression and to keep your nose clean, especially when you are entering or leaving a job or company. Truth be told, I have also been guilty of stepping on toes, being naïve and arrogant when I should have rather swallowed my pride, learnt a few lessons and nurtured important relationships. The old adage of ‘be careful whom you step on as you are on the way up because you might just meet them on your way down’ couldn’t ring more true.

The reality is that there are so few trained hoteliers still residing in this country. We witnessed a mass exodus a few years ago as the captains of the industry were snapped up by international groups and shipped off to Dubai, the UK and Australia (the UAE in particular targeted top South African chefs and managers). The consequence of this drain on our skills is that we are left with a small, but thankfully good, pool of well-trained hoteliers.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad thing. We at BON Hotels have been forced to actively seek out those with potential and train them up – OUR way. As I mentioned, there are so many great people out there with whom I have worked over the years, good youngsters who are sharp and eager to learn. We will navigate through the steady queue of good people searching for those who fit our BON brand. Remember though, I do have the memory of an elephant.

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