Blur the Edges of Your Skills and Multiply Your Value
Did the title of this article confuse you? Blurring the edges of your skills does not mean to be less sharp. Rather, it means to diversify your skills. Just as corporations have found that diversification has increased their value to customers and shareholders alike, YOU too can diversify to increase your value.
Cross training is usually something we think about companies doing to their employees so that they can utilize them in more areas of the business. Have you considered cross-training YOU? The more knowledgeable you are in multiple areas, the more you set yourself apart from your competition. That counts when looking for a job, a promotion, or a pay raise. It also lessens the likelihood that you will become outdated in your skill set. I meet many individuals who tell me that their skills became outdated. Their perception is that they woke up one day and realized they had become irrelevant in their industry. Upon reflection, many of these individuals tell me that they originally went to school to learn their job and then went to work. They thought they were “done.” They did not continue learning new skills to maintain relevancy as technology, processes, and even our shrinking society gone global became reality. That’s my bigger point – we’re never “done.”
“Done” translates to me as, “I don’t need to learn anything more – I have all the knowledge and skills I will need in my life.” Perhaps I’m a bit prejudiced, since learning is my passion, but I really don’t ever want to be “done.” I will continue to be an adult learner. It’s fulfilling and much more exciting than the alternative. When I think I know it all, it’s time to send me back to the farm and put me out to pasture.
When a student graduates from our program, we all cheer. During the cheering, I typically whisper, “I’ll see you soon.” And, I mean it. Hopefully we have taught not only hospitality skills, but also the desire and need to continue learning; the need to maintain relevancy. Some students enter the program with their career decision already made. Let’s take for example, those who know before they ever begin their degree studies that they will work in a lodging property. Most of them also know that whether the property is a hotel or resort, they will work in sales, convention service, or catering. A few of these students have grumbled when they see what they perceive to be unrelated courses in their degree plan. Why, for example, would a sales person ever need to know Front Office Management? I won’t need to check people in and I surely won’t need to know how to perform a night audit. Never once has a graduate complained about these courses after they get their first job in a lodging property. They realize that most properties cross-train their employees and in many properties, staff members from other departments may be temporarily assigned to another job on property. That other job is often the front desk. These graduates see first-hand that diversifying their skills gets them ahead of their competition.
While cross-training has been a hospitality industry norm for many years, the slow economy has increased that need even more. Hospitality businesses, like businesses in most other industries, have been forced to do more with less. That requires cross training to meet covering the property’s needs. The same is true just about everywhere. So, cross train yourself. Blur the edges of your skills, diversify your talent and never stop learning.