In a recent episode of That Bad Review, I had the opportunity to interview Timo Lorenzen. Timo’s humble beginnings started in Berlin, where he worked multiple jobs within the city’s hotel industry. After seizing a rare opportunity in 2009, he left for Sydney to pursue a career prospect at Toga/TFE Hotels. Fast forward a few years he is now the cluster hotel manager for Meriton Suites, where he oversees multiple properties across Sydney, and champions for positive change in staff development.
Within the hospitality industry, there are invisible people – the ones who silently help uphold the running of the ship. Customers can go about their day unaware of the dedicated workers behind the scenes, the people Timo strives to invest in.
Before our interview, I came across a short, very humbling, five-minute video featuring Timo called Dig A Little Deeper. It was his keynote speech at Ignite Sydney, 2018. Here he explains his bid to find the hidden talent within his workforce. Seeking out the diamonds that may not know their extraordinary potential, who with a little coaching and opportunity can flourish and thrive within the industry.
In our conversation, I wanted him to expand on this. “I’ve met so many people throughout the years who are talented, who are even highly educated, being in roles that are entry level, not earning any money,” he says. Timo gives an example of the housekeeping department. An innocuous role that just so happens to be filled with extremely academic individuals spanning a varied spectrum, from qualified doctors to CNN journalists.
Timo openly admits that he is a privileged white male from a first world country, so all doors are open for him, something that unfortunately isn’t the case for many others in the industry. There are those who have faced significant challenges in life, including family tragedies, economic positioning or just being from the wrong country. “I don’t think it’s right that we hold back the challenge, I think it’s important to spot the right people and help them develop into their lives.” So, how do we go about helping our workforce to blossom?
It’s important to spot the spark within people and to do this, you need to ask questions and to listen. Timo believes in keeping an open relationship with his staff and encourages dialogue and discussion, “everyone wants to be seen, everyone wants to be heard.”
Managers must open their ears and take stock of what is important to their staff as individuals. What are their aspirations, their goals? From there you can guide them into a positive direction and offer resources such as reading materials, management programs and courses for them to pursue.
Within each staff member, there is a nugget of untapped potential. It’s about finding these gems and providing opportunities in order to uphold a diverse and ever-evolving industry.
To hear the full conversation click here.