Speech Given to Graduating Hotel School Students
This message is for the graduating students:
Many of you are on the threshold of entering the hospitality industry, and no doubt you are set on the pathway leading to success.
Your graduation from a reputable school, which is making its own distinct impact on the hospitality field, is testimony of the learning you have acquired.
You have chosen an exciting, and at the same time, a most demanding industry and for this I want to compliment you for this choice.
This is an industry that requires serious commitment, long hours and hard work. An industry that also provides satisfaction, rewards and enormous potential.
I believe you are aware that the travel and tourism industry is the second largest employer in the world, it provides jobs for approximately 230 million people for 8.3% of the world’s total employment.
Those are very impressive statistics and are proof of the extraordinary opportunities for the industry and for all of us.
Almost every country in the world is promoting travel and tourism, some countries more than the others, but all of them are aiming at increasing their tourism dollars.
This will continue in the future, of course we will have ups and downs but in the long term more ups.
People need and want to travel. If we look at the international arena we will see North America, Europe and Japan continuing to provide the largest share of the growth in Tourism, however, we have to be well prepared for the potential from the emerging markets: China, India & the Middle East.
China is expected to make a major impact on our industry. It is estimated that by the year 2015 more than 100 million Chinese nationals will travel out of China each year. Those are big numbers, for which we have to be prepared.
China has a great appetite for overseas trips and has taken over from Japan as a tourism power.
Ours is a people’s business, a demanding business that must consistently provide great experience to our customers and we must accept the fact that the customers always have a choice.
Also, a business full of changes and challenges, a business that is extremely sensitive to worldwide events, in particular economic and political conflicts, and more seriously terrorism activities. We have witnessed a lot of evidence on this.
An industry, like all others, that must be profitable. It is important for you to remember that in order for our business to prosper, we must be profitable and successful.
Success comes in many forms and has a different meaning for different people.
For success in any form, it is generally agreed that there is no substitute to hard work, discipline and team building. I could list other qualities and characteristics, which are required from a professional.
Graduation is not the end but the beginning of learning and change. I have found that people who succeed most in their careers are those who can constantly transform themselves, those who constantly improve themselves.
Based on my own experience, I would like to share with you my own 10 patterns of behavior on how to make continuous transformation and improvements possible. I hope you find them useful. They have worked for me and I believe that they will work for most of you.
First, You have got to have a dream of what you want to achieve and what you want to become. Dreams are very powerful internal motivators. Great achievements are created twice – first in the mind and then in concrete forms.
I cannot think of a single transformation or achievement, individual or social that did not begin with a dream. Dreams not only help us in seeing things before they happen, but they also give us the passion and energy to make them happen.
Second, Stay on course, even if you stumble. When everything seems to go wrong, don’t give up but let misfortune transform you into something stronger. The difference between great achievement and failure is not intelligence but perseverance.
Third, Do not be afraid to admit your shortcomings. While it is important to project what we are good at, we must be equally candid about areas we need to improve. The important thing is not to hide behind a false front. People will respect us for our honesty, if not for our wisdom.
Fourth, Think about what you will take on next, rather than about what you may be letting go. If we linger too long on past success, we will miss out on the opportunities that are ahead of us. A successful formula yesterday will not guarantee success tomorrow.
We must learn to look at change as an exciting adventure, rather than a disruption. New avenues for learning always lie just beyond the shade of our comfort zone.
Fifth, Contribute in every situation and don’t be lazy. The only way to keep learning is by contributing. In an organization every person is important. It doesn’t matter what position you hold, you are still part of the organization and the organization needs your participation.
Leadership is not about exercising power as much as it is about contributing. This will happen when we realize that leadership is not a privilege but a responsibility.
Sixth, Pursue excellence in whatever you do, excellence cannot be forced through a process nor guaranteed by a certificate. It comes from a consuming passion to do one’s best. It needs an eye for the smallest details. Excellence is a habit, not an act.
Seventh, While you must take your career very seriously, do not take yourself too seriously. You have to laugh and find humor everyday. This will help you keep issues in perspective.
Eighth, We must know what we are really good at. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, we must focus on areas where our talents truly lie. Exceptional performance usually comes from doing what comes naturally to us.
Ninth, Always welcome feedback even if it comes in the form of criticism. We must learn to take criticism constructively because it will show us what more we can learn.
Tenth, (And last one), always plan to win. Winning is not about making the other person lose. It is about stretching yourself to your own limits. Once so stretched, you will realize the true extend of your potential.
As you step out into a new world of challenges, me and my wife here present, are wishing all of you the best in your career and in your lives. Good Luck and make your parents proud.