News Archive Search
Resilience in the Face of Bombs and Bullets
I am resilient; Resilient is an adjective that means to be able to bounce back from setbacks and to be elastic. Resilient is being stretched, squashed, and bent out of shape but being able to quickly regain your original shape or form.
-What does resilience mean to me as General Manager of Avari Towers, Karachi's leading hotel, and as the leader of 370 resilient team members?
Resilience to me is the splendid sight of all my 370 team members turning up for duty each day, on time, even when bombs and bullets are flying all around us, not only to earn a day's pay, but also to earn the trust and confidence of our local and foreign guests, especially during times of high tension in this city of 20,000,000 souls, where law and order often breaks down, and with it the city's entire transport system.
Today for example there is no gas for vehicles, CNG stations are closed, and motorcycle pillion riding is banned for security reasons, so many just walk to work, often for many miles.
-How do we foster resilience in the workplace here at Avari Towers?
I meet with four staff members in my office each day at 4.00pm, (4@4) to talk to them about our current business situation, the current security situation, and to listen to any problems they might have at home or at work.
I also tell them that in order to keep earning they must keep learning, and that the best way to get more money is to get promoted, but in order to do that they must be resilient, even if stretched, squashed, and bent out of shape by colleagues, and or their immediate superiors, or by personal and or family matters.
I also thank them for their personal contributions to our success as the leading hotel in the city, no matter how small or insignificant they think those contributions might be. After hearing that most quickly regain their original shape or form.
-What does a resilient leader look like.................in Pakistan?
Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, Gandhi, Winston Churchill, The Queen Of England, The King of Thailand, Aung San Su Kyi, the list of resilient leaders over the past hundred years would be endless.
However, here in Pakistan we recently saw a brave young girl shot in the head by Taliban thugs just for wanting to go to school.
So to me, and to many millions of people around the world, Malala perfectly depicts what a resilient leader looks like, because one day she will return to Pakistan after treatment, despite the threats and danger, and one day she may even lead this struggling democracy towards peace and freedom from fear.
-How does resilient staff behave at Avari Towers?
Resilient staff members here at Avari Towers are the ones who accept their skills and performance shortcomings, and instead of resigning and seeking greener pastures and perhaps higher salaries elsewhere, they decide to stay on and improve their skills, their performances and their futures with us, because they all know that we genuinely care about them, not only as producers of work, but also as sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, all of whom carry great financial burdens in terms of their support of large extended families within their local communities whom otherwise would have nothing, as there is no social welfare system or support in this country, which means if you have no job, you go hungry, literally.
-What kind of technology supports resilience here at Avari Towers?
I am sure there will be many interesting answers from readers all around the world to the question about the kind of technology that supports resilience, however, in our own case here at Avari Towers, our resilience is spurred on every single morning right after the daily HOD morning briefing, at which time we log on to ehotelier and beam it right on the screen to check out the latest hospitality trends, and for some, the latest job opportunities.
This brief daily glimpse into the wide world of hospitality allows everyone to see that there is light at what often seems like a long dark tunnel here, when the lights do in fact go out for as much as 12 hours each day due to widespread load shedding power cuts, but never our hope for a better way to be of service to local and foreign guests, and to our communities whom we also serve with great pride and gusto.
-What strategies will support an economically resilient industry in Pakistan?
As John Lennon famously sang; All we are saying is give peace a chance. So when peace does come eventually to neighboring Afghanistan, and when the bullets and drones stop flying above our heads, and when all the nasty sectarian and political divisiveness in this country stops, and when all political parties finally come together for the benefit of a unified Pakistan, then our immediate strategic priority must be to bring back the foreign investors and the foreign tourists to this wonderfully rich and diverse country, at which time the hotels will fill again, along with the pockets and purses of our wonderfully resilient staff, all of whom pray daily for.............a chance for peace.
-Any other related points of interest?
At this very special time of the year, I would like to ask all of my industry colleagues around the world who may be out of a job, not to despair, and to try to always remain resilient for the sake of your family, because there is a job out there with your name on it, and its waiting for you, all you need to do is to keep looking, and you can do that by logging on to ehotelier each and every day.
And if there is no chance for earning on any given day, then just keep on learning, good advice I hope for a happy, prosperous, and above all peaceful end this to this tumultuous year, and for the beginning of a new year full of hope and opportunities, courtesy of your favorite hospitality website.
Yo Ho ho from Gordon James Gorman, a resilient and happy hotelier.
General Manager Avari Towers, since 2007
About the Author
Gordon James Gorman is the General Manager of Avari Towers Karachi, Pakistan, and will complete five years of service to his colleagues, guests and owners in the summer of 2012.
Visit our sponsors