A client’s staff is usually suspicious when a consultant arrives and calls for a meeting. Some staff members been known to undermine the consultant as they are leery, dubious and threatened. That first staff gathering determines the working relationship between consultant and staff. Asking the right type of questions during that initial contact with a confused and skeptical staff is critical. The door to candor must be immediately opened. One way is for the consultant to ask contemplative questions. Involving the staff to take responsibility in needed improvements encourages them to seize ownership and feel part of the solution. Here are some sample introspective questions.
- What’s the culture here?
Culture is just a word that means “How things get done around here”
- What are your hotel’s strengths?
Where are you better than your competition?
- What are the hotel’s opportunities – any weaknesses?
If your owner could write a check to improve things where would you spend it?
- What besides capital is holding us back from improving them?
Name an obstacle standing in your way? Is it Operations? Marketing? Human Resources? Product Quality?
- Who has experience with a hotel turnaround?
We often hear from client’s staff – “Here we go again”. So, who’s been through this before? What happened? What worked – What did not?
- Why am I (consultant) here?
Has the client shared the reason(s) why a consultant was engaged? Am I the one who will fix things?
- What will success look like?
When we accomplish what needs to be done what will it look like? How will we know we accomplished what we set out to do?