Bringing definition to ‘success’.
How do you define your ‘success’?
Is it more about a final destination? Or how you complete the journey?
Although we have a common idea of ‘success’, it can mean different things to different people. In these moments of restriction and uncertainty, many might define success as ‘getting through’, ‘reaching a new destination’ and re-establishing certainty.
As a child, I was fortunate to reach some unforgettable destinations with my father. A doctor by profession, he’d long since found his success, one that gifted him unrestricted opportunity to explore amazing locations for medical conferences—a success he shared with us, as we would always have the pleasure of joining him.
Touched with a little magic, those memories still feel like an escape to a world of fantasy, like the enchanting textures of a children’s book where all your wishes and desires are anticipated, effortlessly catered for, and made to come true. Except these aren’t pages in a book, they’re memories.
The mere thought of visiting hotels has since always excited me, still invoking those butterflies of childhood and a sense of stepping back into the wonderland—a world my father opened the doors to with such intimate warmth, which sparked in me a love of hospitality that endures today.
For African families, any and every occasion is one of vibrant celebration where hosts have as good a time as their guests. There’s something almost innate to our fondness of food, expressiveness of dance and the uninhibited joy of laughter that makes those occasions timeless, and priceless.
Becoming what you always were.
We often try to run to the horizon, chasing a vision of the new ‘self’ we want to be, not realising that the person we should become is already with us. Perhaps just not yet fully realised.
I can still sense vividly the colours, smells and sounds of the jubilant entertainment my father’s guests enjoyed. Often the magic starts backstage. My gratitude will never lessen for my mother, who so warmly nurtured my intrigue, passing onto me the secrets of heartfelt hospitality and hosting.
Always patient, she would let me follow her around the kitchen, smiling, observing and learning. Now, as back then, I think of hosting and hospitality as a privilege as much as it is a profession. I like to think that the near-permanent smile I’d wear back then as I followed my mother around the kitchen, hasn’t faded to this day. It certainly feels as though it hasn’t.
Building a home away from home.
After a few years in school (yes, boarding school!) it was time to embark on a grand journey to the universities of the UK. The thought of leaving my lovely home worried me. Excitement played host to nervous anticipation and a little reluctance in my mind.
I’d had many choices of what to study, with such variety of universities and available options to choose from. My home journey through childhood and adolescence was almost complete. I was on the cusp of choosing my destination, and defining my success—the next stop in the next leg of a bigger journey.
My father, wise as he had always been, said to me:
“Linda my girl, you should do a course in hospitality. You must always remember that when people are far from home, they need a good place to eat and, more importantly, to sleep, with all the comforts of home.”
In that moment, all the nostalgia, all the fairy-tale experiences of hospitality and of my childhood, took flight and soared in my mind. My father’s words struck me with deep significance. So, being the eaglet that I am, I boldly agreed to spread my wings, UK-bound, and embrace the “missing you” journey that lay before me, to study hospitality at Nottingham Trent University.
Finding the theory of my passion.
Four years flew by. A time in which I learnt so much.
I became almost obsessed with my studies, taking them so seriously I was in danger of becoming a model student! My husband still makes fun of my reminiscing those days. During my final year, I discovered Peter and Waterman’s seminal contribution to hospitality management, In Search of Service Excellence. A book that I became hooked by and one I still consider central to how I think about what I do—I even wrote my dissertation based on its core teachings.
For me, the essence of hospitality was and still is quite simple: ‘exceed customer expectations, with goodwill and authenticity’. I sometimes hear the phrase ‘great hospitality’ and I think, to say ‘great’, is redundant—for me, if it’s not ‘great’, it’s not hospitality. After all the years slowly, unknowingly, defining my success and mapping out my journey, I find myself at a new destination. One in which I’ve discovered my own service excellence in supporting and helping hotels to achieve theirs.
Re-finding Your Excellence.
About Partners LBC has become the final destination and home of the life experiences that have brought me here, with a detour or two. Our success is about the hospitality of our partners, as much as my family’s success was about the hospitality of their guests.
This is my excellence.
We have a challenging time ahead. There will be unexpected changes in the next phase of our industry’s journey, with ‘success’ redefined in a changed market landscape. What I know won’t change is the importance and role of the kinds of human relationships that shaped me and got me to where I am today.
If you’re interested in growing kinds of trusted relationships that will steer us through to a brighter destination, we would be very interested in showing you our hospitality and speaking with you about defining your success, and re-finding your excellence.