I spent last Thursday hosting several staff training sessions at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. It was incredible! From the housekeepers to the bellman to the sales force, all employees at the property made it obvious why they’re one of the most profitable Hyatts in the country.
About halfway through one of the afternoon sessions, I noticed a man sitting in the front row. Literally, he was sitting IN the front row. The 6 foot 5, suit clad man casually kicked up his legs across a few chairs, smiled, nodded and kept an interested eye on me at all times.
Who is this guy? I wondered.
After we adjourned he approached me and said, “Scott, thanks very much for your presentation! I’ve been hearing great feedback from everybody. I’m Jerry Simmons, the General Manager of this hotel.”
Ohhhhhh…the GM. Wow. Didn’t see that one coming.
“And I’m so glad you talked about approachability to our staff. You see, too many managers think it’s wrong or ‘not cool’ to be approachable. Like they should be isolated from the rest of the staff. But they need to be real. So I think your ideas are just what they needed to hear.”
It turns out Mr. Simmons started his career as a wide receiver for the Steelers, Falcons, Saints, Broncos and Bears in the 60’s and 70’s. Then, after a Hyatt Regency asked him to talk to their employees about leadership, he took on a part time position in the off season in the hotel restaurant. Nine years later he became the General Manager of one of the biggest Hyatts in the country.
What a story. What a guy. What a hotel. Not to mention a shining example of someone who knows how to keep it real. Now I know, you’ve heard the phrase “keep it real” ad nauseum. And it could mean a lot of things to a lot of people.
But to me, keeping it real (being yourself, showing vulnerability, eliminating superficial hierarchy and maintaining congruency in your character) is a direct indicator of one’s approachability.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who do you know that keeps it real?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag