Being a financial leader means you own the result. There is no room for being a victim or victim thinking when it comes to leading the financial piece. The challenges demand the type of ownership that takes each situation and finds the opportunity in it. Or, in the words of Winston Churchill: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winning at the hospitality financial leadership game is something that requires the correct perspective. To desire perfection in this realm is not wise. To look for and nurture constant improvement and individual effort is the telltale sign of progress. We need to ensure we have a constituent in every area of our business who takes it upon themselves to own the result. They take it upon themselves to own the result because that’s the culture—in a business that relies on multiple levels of communication to produce information that is used to build the entire budget and forecast product. It’s like simultaneously writing a song using a team of players strewn all over the enterprise. What happens over here changes the way things sound over there, and this collaboration only works when the team is patient, attune and fully participating. It’s quite easy to play the victim and not have the timing, missing the opportunity to take the shot. The team effort requires dedication and a committed conductor to keep watch and ensure each person in the ensemble is playing their part.
You will hear the victim’s language loud and clear. The victim will tell you they are too busy, they didn’t get the time, they are short-staffed, they got slammed, they’re swamped, they are underwater, it’s insane, there is too much going on. No matter how they characterize it, they make it sound like some biblical force that has a mission to hold them out of action, to render them helpless. Victim-thinking has them stuck believing the power lies outside of them to take or make the action necessary to get the result. An apparent self-imposed need to get it right stops the victim and precludes them from playing.
You can’t say it any better than David Earle has said it: “A victim evokes sympathy, right? Victims are not responsible, right? Victims have the moral high ground… Someone else is causing the misery, right? Victims can easily justify why they are right. Victims allow themselves to be stuck in the status quo and they excel at seeing the faults in others, ignoring their own responsibility. They love to take others’ inventory of faults and are excellent at blaming. Victims become hypersensitive to real and perceived injustice, where any slight becomes a reason to reject. Victimization is the toxic wind blowing through enterprises, fanning the fires of dysfunction.”
The numbers have a special victim code. The persons who possess the special number-victim code have signed onto the club that reduces their members power by showing them that the real power in their ecosystem belongs to someone else. The person who holds the special number code has treated the victims like always and shortchanged them. Therefore, it’s OK for the victim to miss their turn and not take their own shot. Someone must step in and take their shot for them, and then you hear the victim recite something like this: “See what I mean, they just keep shortchanging me and giving me unrealistic targets and numbers that don’t make any sense. See, I told you it always works this way—tie one hand behind my back and they still expect me to do it.” The victim abdicates their position by missing the opportunity because the whole system is rigged to make them fail. What the victim won’t see is the opportunity they have to take a shot, miss and shoot again. Missing your shot is OK, not taking the shot is the problem. We all miss shots.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” That quote is from [basketball great]Michael Jordan.
Being a financial leadership owner invokes a commitment to the organization and the process. It says I’ll be around and playing even if I miss the game-winning shot. I’ll find a way to always show up and play full out and I know that means sometimes that I’m going to miss my numbers and screw it up. But I know the team has my back because that’s the code I read. It’s a choice based on how I think and how I see my world. The ownership code says I can do this and I’m stepping up and showing up as me, of free will, to claim my spot. I own my spot and the ongoing cost to keep my space is my commitment to play full out. When others miss their shot, I’ll make mine and it will help carry the day. When I miss my shot, the team has my back and we all help each other by staying in the game together. By staying in the game I know I’m owning my result; no one is going to take or make my shot.