Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Definition from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary: work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.

Definition from cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.

What does the term "teamwork" really mean and how does it affect the hospitality industry?

Rather than having a guest speaker discuss "Excel in the Real World," we had a follow up session on characteristics of employees in the management/executive branch of a hotel company. After our discussion yesterday on the desirable worker traits, we approached real life scenarios in which we had to apply these traits. Despite the general agreement of what characteristics are favorable, when they were applied, many people had different opinions on which approach was best. For the purpose of learning to work together, the professors narrowed the characteristics down to four categories: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating.

  • Directors are people who provide specific instructions and closely supervise others to see that the task is accomplished; are highly directive/committed but not very supportive/confident.
  • Coaches are people who continue direct but also explains decisions, solicits suggestions, and supports progress; are highly directive/supportive, but not very committed/confident.
  • Supporters are leaders who support everyone's efforts towards success and shares responsibility for decision-making with them; are highly supportive/confident but not very directive/supportive.
  • Delegates are leaders who turn over responsibility for making decisions and solving problems to other subordinates; are highly committed/confident but not very supportive/directive.
In order to see how effective these traits are, we watched 2 video clips selected from a hotel reality show. Both these clips revolved around one central conflict -- the VIP information does not match the actual guests. As a result, the hotel has humiliated itself and lost some of its premium customers.

Case has it that it was not the first time something like this occurred, therefore the executive manager landed herself into a lot of trouble. Angered and impatient, she called 2 meetings with her assistant management team to scold them for not doing their jobs properly. Rather than proposing a solution to the problem, her rudeness and emotion did not help the situation at all, only strengthening the tension and building disagreeable feelings among her management team.

We analyzed the two scenes from the hotel reality show by having some students act as characters involved in the issue. From this, we learned as a class what kinds of group behaviors are acceptable and how to use teamwork to achieve our goals.

Most of the lessons we learn from our professors can be applied to different fields outside of hotels and hospitality. This lesson, above all others, is a true life lesson that we can all benefit from. A person may travel across the ocean, work in a completely new industry, or meet people who are completely different from oneself, but teamwork is universal.

Now some updates on the CHESS report, our group has started our actual report writing and has completed all of the graph/chart making. Although Professor Mark has not taught us how to make the payoff matrix, I started out and completed half of it by finding the percentage of no-shows for each specific number. I'm not exactly sure what the payoff matrix is for besides being used in forecasting to predict how many rooms the hotel should overbook by, but I am sure that the professor will teach us tomorrow.

* Snapshot of my computer screen after we finished running our final
CHESS game. Our goal was to reach a $70,000 profit

average and we made it by $123!


  1. Yueming,

    I’m not sure I agree with the designations and limitations your professors came up with in the fours types of leaders.

    Although I’m willing to work in a subordinate position, I’ve found, and most of my employers over the years agree, that when I’m running the show things work more efficiently and they make a larger profit. It’s one of the reasons that I was in such high demand. I used to manage billion dollar projects and I always made money for the people I worked for.

    I’ve found that a collaborative approach works well where the people working for me, from the lowest employee to my highest management associate, understands that we’re all working as a team. I always treat them as equals even though we ALL know that they’re not. Part of that comes from insisting that we all address each other on a first name basis. It reminds us of where we came from. Today I may be the boss but tomorrow I may work for you.

    I always seek the input of those working for me. Just because the new guy is just starting out, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any good ideas. Also, this encourages everyone to become a part of the solution and to take an ownership position in the enterprise.

    There will always be a need to terminate employees for cause but in the long run when employees know that minor mistakes will be tolerated as long as they’re learned from and not repeated, they’re a happier group and often more productive.

    When mistakes are made, a calm and polite investigation of why the mistake was made and an effort to determine a preventative solution can be more effective than flying off the handle using stern looks, loud voices and abusive language.

    Even though my policy is to bring everyone into the fold, it’s always crystal clear to everyone that the final decision is mine. In my position I have to look at the whole picture whereas the individual employees and even the mid level managers are only seeing that part of the picture that they’re involved with.

    In the military being the stern taskmaster may work where you demand blind obedience but in the real world it can be a much more useful approach if you try to work as a team. Every team has a leader, though, and there’s no democracy on my team.

    And, in the long run, it’s my career on the line. I can’t ever point my finger at a subordinate and blame that person for that problem. I’m in charge and if a mistake happens then I have to accept the blame for it. It’s a landlubber’s version of the captain going down with his ship.

  2. Don, this was a long one and it was a good one. I think that I will just "ditto" on this post.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District