As a hospitality, hotel and higher education leader, I’ve learned that being positive is often all about your perspective and the people around you. What appears at first as a failure may actually be something else altogether, an opportunity to grow in an unanticipated way. While there will inevitably be challenges and tough situations, I’ve found that the following five choices can help you enjoy your job and your team every day.

Happy face mug on the beach

Challenges are Learning Opportunities

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 30 years and have experienced a wide variety of environments and cultures. Being a life-long learner and a student of this fast paced and ever-evolving industry is one of the things that makes my job rewarding and enjoyable. From corporate cultures to university administrations to socioeconomic climates, it’s all constantly changing – which means I’m constantly growing and learning. In our industry we not only have to be thinking about the market today, we must also take into consideration the market three to five years from now. As our team work hard at creating memorable experiences, they must work even harder to understand, assess, and come up with new innovative solutions that will take us far into the future.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

You can always go out there and hire superstars, but without a team that has similar values and positive dispositions, it’s impossible to have a high performing team. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with some amazing people, many of them have become close friends, mentors and advisors. Think about it, we spend more time at work than we do at home. Work with people you enjoy working with, people who help you be the best version of you on a daily basis. Their actions and behaviors reflect their knowledge that every person and position on the team must work together and function well to realize success. The amazing people with whom I have the privilege to work are the reason I jump out of bed every morning.

Keep Your Perspective

There will be times when things aren’t meeting our expectations, and that’s when we will have to put things in perspective. Consider how this moment will feel three or five years from now. I think life works in funny and intentional ways. We will face unexpected and hard situations and in the midst of it, we may struggle and don’t know why, but months or even years down the road it dawns on us that we had to face what we did to help prepare ourselves for this moment. And when this occurs, we are often filled with a deep sense of gratitude and delight. Keep this perspective during our biggest challenges and they will pass. Perspective is powerful… wherever focus goes, energy flows.


What are You Grateful for?

There are many things I’m grateful for in my role, but I’m especially thankful for being able to work on a beautiful university campus (which also happens to be my alma mater) and do what I love to do with and around people who inspire me. Together, we are able to make a difference on a daily basis and impact the lives of our students, staff, faculty and visitors. Quite often it’s as simple as sharing a smile, saying “Hi” or offering to point someone in the right direction. It’s the little things that can make a big difference. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a diverse and energetic team as we support our team members growth and development – often helping them to realize their fullest potential and wildest dreams.

Appreciate the People Who Support You

Hospitality is a team sport. Here we have a cast of so many incredible subject matter experts who not only commit themselves to our mission in their area of responsibility, but they will jump in wherever they are needed to help out. When it comes to hospitality operations, there are many support personnel and teams that operate behind the scenes that are invaluable. Knowing so many people have a vested interest in our success, and appreciating those individual and team contributions, helps me stay positive. Everybody brings a unique, meaningful and necessary input and impact to the team. It’s time to change our expectations for appreciation.

Questions of the week:

  • What do I love most about my job?
  • Who supported me today and how?
  • What did I learn today and how will it help me?

Take the time to honestly and thoughtfully answer these questions. Share your thoughts and ideas with your team and your leaders, your family and your friends.

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Kris Klinger is an accomplished visionary and leader. He lives in Downtown Los Angeles and is a staff and faculty member at the University of Southern California. Kris is passionate about nurturing and supporting strong servant-leader and employee-centric cultures. Cultivating transparency and trust; honest and candid communication; personal and professional development; individual and team empowerment. He is also an author working on his first book.

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