Making a Difference
January 26, 2010
Leaders at the Blackwell saw an immediate use for the tools and mindsets learned at their 2-day unfreezing retreat. Stefanie Patsiavos, director of sales and catering, and Eric Adelman, general manager, recently shared how these tools have improved operations within their area.
Armed with ideas, issues, and solutions, a cross section of managers, as well as day and evening workers, met to put the newfound skills to work. Using the unfreezing retreat to set the stage, the sessions opened with an overview of different working styles, and a lively discussion of the mood elevator concept.
“We shared the concepts we learned in the retreat in a way that everyone could understand, even if they haven’t attended a retreat,” said Patsiavos.
Smaller groups were formed to share personal feedback and brainstorm ways to work together, and the ideas that were generated are helping. Staff from accounting and front desk operations now meet monthly to talk about behind-the-scenes processes and obstacles that make them more difficult. For example, accounting shared how not checking out a guest correctly slows down the billing process.
“This sharing helps us educate each other about why we do what we do, and how we can do things a little differently to speed things up,” said Patsiavos. “Little adjustments can make a big difference.”
Even something as small as changing a meeting room can help. Catering, the kitchen staff and AV staff meet every day to make sure everyone is on the same page about upcoming events. They moved the meeting out of the catering office to stop distractions like phone calls and e-mail, which has helped everyone to “be here now.” Patsiavos said the meetings are more productive, and there are fewer mistakes because people catch all the details.
The team also noticed changes in each other’s attitudes since focusing on the concepts.
“People are more open than they used to be, and bring solutions, not just problems,” said Adelman. “It’s opening doors that were closed before.”
Based on the positive results he’s noticed, Adelman said the groups will continue to meet, most likely quarterly.
“I’m excited for others to attend a retreat so the changes will make even more of a difference,” he added.
If you have a story about faculty and staff making a difference, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“People are more open than they used to be, and bring solutions, not just problems. It's opening doors that were closed before.”
General manager of The Blackwell