A friend, who’s a business-owner asked me:
“Jeff, my folks were recently having a good-natured debate about which department, team or individual is more important, i.e., service, sales, ops, credit, etc. What’s your opinion?”
Did you then solve the chicken and the egg dilemma?!
Interesting question. Kinda like asking, “Which is more important in a car, the steering wheel or the brakes?”
Obviously, without sales, there’s nothing to do.
Yet wait, without talented service pros, there might be nothing to sell next time.
Hmm, and those folks in finance, credit and accounting keep track of all those dollars.
And if manufacturing doesn’t make it, it can’t be sold. And if it can’t be sold, it can’t be bought.
Did your receptionist vote? After all, he or she is your first voice to the world, your director of first impressions.
And how ‘bout your role as the owner and the contributions of your leadership team. What if together, you don’t create a culture of trust, value, vision and accountability?
Let me give you another perspective. Years ago, I had the pleasure to consult with the team at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. Their General Manager was Bruce Ulrich, a wonderful guy, who told me something I never forgot.
He said, “Jeff, do you know who some of the most important members of my team are?” I replied, “Who and how come?”
He answered, “My custodial team. Especially, those who clean the bathrooms near our lobby, front desk and restaurants.”
Bruce went on to explain…
“We’re part of O’Hare Airport, so our lobby or first floor, is a busy place. Folks grabbing a quick meal. Relaxing on a layover. Or conducting a meeting. And when they enter those first-floor bathrooms, they’re forming opinions. Not just about the bathroom(s), but the entire hotel. If the sinks, floors or toilets are dirty, they begin to wonder about the cleanliness of our sleeping rooms, the quality of our food, the functionality of our meeting space and our hospitality commitment to our guests.”
Bruce further emphasized, he let his custodial team know the value they brought and the significance they played, not just in the hotel’s “bathroom beauty,” but in the hotel’s performance and profitability.
So I guess, the answer is obvious. Your most important person is…