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Hostmanship - A Serial Review #3 - Functional Hostmanship

Hostmanship - A Serial Review #2 - Personal Hostmanship

This is a serial review of the book, Hostmanship - The art of making people feel welcome - by Jan Gunnarsson and Olle BlohmThe first entry introduces the idea of Hostmanship and its dimensions.

This second entry focuses on the first stage of Hostmanship - Personal Hostmanship.

Having read this little book, I am left with the impression that we Americans think of business as primarily a set of tactics, strategies and tasks that we do. We are focused on activities and not so much on the inner conditions of effectiveness. Personal Hostmanship is a way to address that lack of connection to personal excellence.

For Jan Gunnarsson and Olle Blohm, there is a distinction between hostmanship and customer service.

One of the big differences between hostmanship and a "service attitude" is the feeling that stays with you after the guest is gone.

In service, the focus is on the recipient, and we say that as long as the guest is happy you've done a good job.  In hostmanship, the focus is on the provider. Good hostmanship is something you take home, that becomes part of you. It's something that helps you to develop your personality.

This is really counter-intuitive. We have been told that the customer comes first; the customer is always right; be self-sacrificing, etc.  Hostmanship challenges these notions with the simple idea that healthy, balanced, happy people make the best hosts. This means that we each must have an eye to our own "self-care."  Of course, this idea may be a cultural distinctive of Sweden. Here in the US, we tend to think everything IS about us. Of course, this is not what they are saying.  It is about something more personally challenging that just taking care of yourself.

To have the courage to step forward requires confidence, and that can only be attained if you know yourself.  It's also one of the biggest challenges as a host.  You have to understand yourself, who you are, where you come from, your references, values, prejudices and limitations.

Read that last sentence again. That's a tall order, and quite different than simply living a stress-free, pleasure-rich life.  To achieve this level of life is to become a person of wisdom; a person of integrity; a person who is whole, complete and "together."  I'm sure that when the idea of hostmanship was introduced that it appeared to be simply a clever way to talk about customer service.  Instead it is an insightful way for one human being to make a difference in the life of another.

Professional success demands personal success.  No one can simply switch over from an uncertain, destructive personality at home to a thoughtful, caring one on the job.  In other words, the private you must be in sync with the professional you.  This requires a great deal of thought as to where you are in life and that you make the best of your opportunities.  I realize this isn't easy, and it's something you would do first and foremost to better understand yourself rather than your guests.  But personal hostmanship isn't something you can express halfway.  You have to open up and great your guests with your entire person.  It requires that you know yourself and express any uncertainty you are feeling to the organization you work for, so that your colleagues can encourage you. They will thank you when they see the results.

Personal Hostmanship creates an environment where the guest's needs can be met.  But it doesn't stand-alone. It requires the other stages to work.

Tomorrow will look at Functional Hostmanship.

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