Posts tagged #management

First Impressions and the Cover of the Book: Why Balance is Key

Sometimes a book’s cover really is what the book is all about. Other times, however, the first impression cannot possibly be the only one, as people often grow and improve themselves over time.
— Samantha Corral

As soon as I turned the last page of Mary Shelley’s legendary tale of Frankenstein, my staring contest with the computer screen began.  It was a simple assignment that required students to choose between two age-old sayings, in reference to Shelley’s book - “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “the first impression is the last impression." At the time, I could not choose. Instead, I delicately danced around the question and pirouetted into a Switzerland-esque stance on the matter – “why can’t we just have it all” was essentially my thesis. Despite failing to answer the question directly, I got an A- on the assignment and a vote of confidence scribbled in college-professor red suggesting: “You’ll figure it out one day.”

Fast forward to present day, AYS Samantha and my “why can’t we just have it all” stance has become the building block of my professional career in the hospitality industry.  Across all of our markets, At Your Service employs thousands of people, each different and special in their own ways.  Some people are masters at the art of fine dining and humble service, while others make up for their lesser experience with flawless presentation and eager attitude. This lends to what I believe Shelley was trying to accomplish through Frankenstein – she wanted to make readers feel the conflict that is spawned from subscribing to one mindset over the other. Her intentions, I believe, were to prove that balance is key. Sometime's a book's cover really is what the book is all about. Other times, however,  the first impression cannot possibly be the only one, as people often grow and improve themselves over time. Some staff join our team, seasoned as can be on day one. They are what their covers said they would be. Others, over time, are trained to join the ranks of these AYS lifers as their skill level graduates to match the excellent presentation and good attitude that they had from the beginning. And for that, we are thankful to have the first impression not be the only one. Neither type leaves us exactly how they started and both are necessary to who we are as a company.

Much like Mary Shelley’s man made of many parts, At Your Service operates only due to all of the different gears that compose it’s nearly thirty years of success. And through these different gears, we are able to take pride in the service we bring to your table. Turns out, not only can you really just have it all – you need to. So, with that, I counter my college professor’s red pen vote of confidence that I will “figure it out one day.” Because, turns out, I already had.

Cheers, Samantha

Posted on February 12, 2015 .

Appreciation: A New Yorker's Guide to Meaning It


There is a subtle, but noticeable, difference between giving thanks and being appreciative.  Likely, the differences between the two acts of kindness have become blurred, as daily grown-up-things have become the focus.  A simple thank you has a certain emotional detachment and it almost serves as proof that you were raised with manners.  It’s a conversational norm and polite gesture for the seemingly routine.  Being appreciative, however, has an intrinsic element that showcases honesty and humility.  Granted, each day does not present itself an opportunity for you to be truly appreciative. However, when these moments happen, it’s likely to be memorable for everyone involved. 

My colleague, Jennifer Baker, and I, arranged a staff meet-and-greet for our New York City staff this past week.  It was originally designed to be a relaxing night-out for everyone to swap war-stories, laugh and, most importantly, allow Jennifer and I to say “thanks” for our staff’s hard work during our busy season.  The plan was to get a couple of appetizers and set up a little table in a far corner of a T.G.I.F. Friday’s.  In the days leading up to the At Your Service NYC staff party, however, it became evident that Jen and I were going to have the opportunity to do so much more than just say thank you - we were embarking on one of those memorable moments when we were going to be able to make our team feel appreciated.  No pressure.

On the day of the meet-and-greet, Jen and I put on our “hostess” hats and walked over to the restaurant after work. The night happened so naturally. Jen and I saw first hand the feeling of family that has been created amongst our team.  We were proud of everyone’s positivity and obvious camaraderie.  We saw that the pulse that flows through our AYS family is stitched together with pride and dedication and were able to show them how appreciative we were of this.  And that night, our team made us feel appreciated too. 

They love their job and they are the reason we love ours.

Want to love your job or work with people who do? Work with us or apply to work for At Your Service Staffing here.

Gratefully At Your Service,

Samantha Corral

Posted on January 30, 2015 .

The Importance of Empowering Your Team

The to do list is dead. Gone are the days when managers are providing office team members with step by step instruction on how to accomplish a project. As managers continue to take on multiple roles and increased responsibility, it is more necessary than ever that they have a strong team of individuals with which they can trust major projects. Managers risk becoming ineffective when they cannot give their team freedom to accomplish projects without also controlling how they go about doing so.

The most effective managers today are those that believe in empowerment – those that can couple the objective they assign their team with freedom on how to reach it will be most effective in accomplishing their department’s tasks. These team members have been recruited, interviewed and trained to do the very projects that are put in front of them. The process is both expensive and extensive. Therefore, it is a waste of both the manager’s time and the company’s resources to provide specific instructions by which to complete a project each time a team member is asked to do so. In order to avoid this type of waste, managers must empower their teams to develop a process all their own.

Not only is empowerment of team members an effective way to avoid waste, it is also a great way to foster community. When team members are entrusted with a project, they begin to feel a stronger tie to the company. These team members who are empowered to create their own process in order to achieve an assigned objective are the most likely to eventually become managers themselves. With empowerment comes a sense of ownership. With ownership comes loyalty. These team members accepted the offer to join the company because they wanted to make a difference there; they wanted to be a part of the process. In order to retain and foster this type of talent, a manager must give their team the power to make decisions.

So, next time you see a manager at your office compiling a to do list on what needs to be accomplished and how to go about doing so, suggest to them that they instead educate their team on what needs to be accomplished and give them the space to do so on their own. Let them take it and run. Because, without giving them that power, how will you know what they are able to do? And without having that power, how will they show you?

How do you empower your team?

Posted on August 4, 2014 .