(Speech given to graduating students, hotel school, 2021)
By Giovanni Angelini
It is indeed a great honor to be given the opportunity to address this special group.
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 organisation, which is making its own district impact on the Hospitality field, is the testimony of the learning you have acquired.
You have chosen an exciting, and at the same time, a most demanding industry and 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, and almost every country in the world is promoting travel and tourism; some countries more than the others, but each aiming to increase their tourism dollars.
This will continue in the future, and while we will have ups and downs, in the long term there will be more ups.
Ours is a people-focused business. A demanding business that must consistently provide great experiences for our customers, and we must accept that the customers always have a choice.
It is also a business full of changes and challenges. A business that is extremely sensitive to worldwide events and to uncontrollable variables, in particular economic and geopolitical conflicts, natural disasters, epidemic-pandemic, and, more seriously, terrorist activities. We have witnessed a lot of evidence of this.
Hotel is a fragmented, perishable, and very competitive business. A business that requires strong, visionary, and innovative leaders who are able to create trust, respect, and alignment.
A type of business where everyone copies everyone and the creation of a strong competitive advantage is simply a must.
An industry that has to embrace and promote corporate responsibilities, including the care for the local community, being environmentally sustainable, and active in the preservation of the natural and cultural attractions.
A strong reputation, branding, clever marketing, a healthy business mix, and quality consistency in management and in guest service, are essential to the success of a hospitality organisation.
So is the security and safety, the location, the price point, the flexibility, the value for money perception, a positive team culture, and naturally the employees and customers satisfaction.
For success in any form, however, it is generally agreed that there are no substitutes for hard work, discipline and team building. And I could list many 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 the 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 behaviour which made 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 must have a dream of what you want to achieve and what you want to become. Dreams are strong 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 without 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, you must set priorities in life and do not reverse them. 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 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.
Always remember that 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 organisation every person is important.
It doesn’t matter what position you hold, you are still part of the organisation and the organisation needs your participation.
Leadership is not about exercising power as much as it is about contributing. This will happen when we realise 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 for doing 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 humour every day. This will help you to keep issues in perspective.
Eighth, you must know what you are really good at. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you must focus on areas where your 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, always plan to win. Winning is not about making the other person lose. It is about stretching yourself to your limits.
Once stretched, you will realise the true extent of your potential.
As you step out into a new world of challenges, I wish all of you the best in your career and in your lives.
Good luck, and make your parents proud.
You also can be a successful leader.