While reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, I came across the following quote:
"(T)he key to (achieving desired results) is to put your desired actions as close to the path of least resistance as humanly possible. Identify the activation energy-the time, the choices, the mental and physical effort they require-and then reduce it. If you can cut activation energy (required to achieve those results), even by as little as 20 seconds at a time, it won't be long before you start reaping the benefits."
After reading this, I was reminded of a conversation I had several years ago with the general manager, Scott, of a Comfort Inn in Herndon, VA. He had been receiving mediocre breakfast scores from hotel guests and learned that the critical feedback had to do with several factors, including: visibility/accessibility of the breakfast attendant; tendency to run out of coffee, muffins, and other popular breakfast items; and timeliness of replenishment.
After reviewing the feedback, examining the breakfast process, and identifying potential remedies with his team, Scott made the decision to relocate the food storage and preparation from the Housekeeping area (which was more than 100' away) to a space that was closer to the breakfast room.
How did they do it? That's the best part! Rather than seeing the limitations of the existing square footage as a barrier, they rethought the current use and purpose of the space. They decided to consolidate the seldom used lobby men's and women's restrooms into one unisex restroom. Next, they converted the remaining space into a food storage and preparation area located less than 10' from the breakfast room!
In doing so, each of the primary guest complaints was addressed:
The attendant was now more visible/accessible
Popular breakfast items were now consistently available
And in the rare occurrence an item ran out, it was now replenished in a timely manner
By reducing the activation energy (i.e., physical effort) required by the attendant to properly maintain the hotel's breakfast area, Scott and his team reaped the benefits of reduced guest complaints, increased employee job satisfaction, and higher overall breakfast scores.
How can you reduce the activation energy required of you or other staff members to achieve your own desired results?
About the author
Steve has 20 years of experience between hotel operations, sales and marketing, training and development, and customer service roles working for Marriott International, one of the premiere customer-focused companies in the world.