Has your team connection ever felt like a 3-star hotel?

Has your team connection or communication felt like a 3-star hotel? Let’s explore the importance of strong connections in the workplace.

When we go through the motions in our relationships at work, it’s like putting ourselves in the 3-star hotel category. It becomes a bland experience, easily forgettable, often uncomfortable, and something we hope to move on from as quickly as possible.

Can you remember the last hotel experience you’ve had that was rated three stars or below. How different was it from an amazing 5-star experience?

A Fiji parable of regret

I vividly remember leaving my big corporate job in 2015. Determined to give my husband and 2-year-old daughter an unforgettable Fiji holiday, I visited a local travel agent. She wooed me with glossy brochures and the promise of paradise. One property, in particular, captivated my attention, and I made a snap decision to book a non-refundable holiday to this resort without properly consulting my husband or researching the property.

As the time came for us to fly into Nandi, then take a separate flight to the island, and finally a lengthy bus ride, I was filled with a horrible case of post-purchase dissonance. Review after terrible review surfaced during my research. When we arrived at the underwhelming hotel, our experience matched the negative reviews.

The entry into our run-down room revealed a view of an overgrown golf course, as far away from the pool as possible. And when we finally reached the pool, it resembled the public pools of the 80s. The only attempt at an upgrade was a water slide winding down the hill, but midway through the slide, you would abruptly come to a halt, awkwardly shuffling and pushing your way to the bottom. It was the worst.

The fancy villas and pools I had seen in the brochure were located on the waterfront side of the resort, in an adults-only section. We were shamed away with our little girl. It was the very worst.

Suffice it to say, my usually calm husband and I had the biggest argument we’ve ever had.

The 5-star experience: The power of deep connections

Contrast that with a moment of absolute joy in a five-star hotel experience. A colleague of mine shared his encounter with a resort during a conference in Papua New Guinea. It gave him a renewed sense of what a five-star experience should be.

It wasn’t just the beautiful environment with pristine grounds, rooms, and pools; it was the attention to detail, the wow moments. The front desk knew his name before he even spoke. The staff member polishing the windows on his way to breakfast knew his name. Anything he asked for was provided without question or excuses.

He was so captivated by the experience that he made it his mission to share it with everyone. He’s even taking a team there for another conference, using it as a case study for what a true five-star experience entails. Wow.

What’s Disrupting 5-Star Organisations or Teams? The Role of Connection today

My story is possibly a more common tale for organisations right now. Many organisations or teams that once operated at a high-performing five-star level in terms of communication, collaboration, and innovation have been disrupted or challenged. There’s no doubt that the modern workplace has undergone significant changes in the last few years.

In some organisations, the equivalent of “overgrown golf courses” or “shabby looking pools” has gradually emerged over time. Day by day, the workplace loses its shine as a great place to work and its ability to retain and attract key staff. Before you know it, it’s become a 3-star establishment in every aspect.

Let’s explore some reasons why:

The place of work has changed: Adjusting to remote and hybrid work

According to a 2022 survey by PWC[1], 96% of knowledge-based workers are now working from home or in hybrid setups. This is a significant increase compared to the 5% who worked from home before the pandemic. The rise of hybrid work has opened up flexible and regional employment options, which means we need to work harder to retain our teams and keep them focused.

The rhythms of work have changed: Adapting to new ways of collaboration

Not only has the physical location of work changed, but the rhythm of work has also shifted. The hours we keep, the ways we meet, and the ways we communicate have all evolved, especially with the emergence of a new generation in the workforce. It’s crucial to assess whether we’re in step with the new rhythm or out of sync.

Ways we connect: Navigating the digital communication landscape

Since the pandemic, there has been a 30% increase in the use of digital channels [2]for communication, creating a plethora of ways to connect with people and customers. Perhaps you can relate to the challenge of keeping track of messages across different platforms. Working harder to ensure clear communication, engagement, and avoiding miscommunication has become essential.

These are just a few examples of the challenges that many organisations are currently experiencing in maintaining strong relationships. Assessing the strength of your team’s connections and relationships is crucial for achieving high performance.

Does your team have a 3 or 5-star relationship and connection?

Can you relate to this story? Are there areas or pockets within your business or team that have become a little shabby? In our previous newsletter, we discussed the importance of “teaming up” as a critical aspect of influence. We lead and collaborate more effectively when we establish better connections.

In the next newsletter, we will explore the strategies employed by 5-star high-performing teams and leaders to foster deep connections that yield excellent results.

And PS. I’ll let you reflect on the question, was it the hotel’s fault or MY fault for our “Fiji-gate” experience. I’ll take a cold hard look at my decision-making abilities and lack of detail. Next time I’ll just order the cocktails and let someone else organise the holiday. 😉

About Kirryn Zerna

Kirryn Zerna is passionate about rehumanising connection in the digital age to cultivate high performance, revitalise culture and help put people’s passion into action. She would love to help you imagine and create a remarkable and unforgettable experience for your business or leadership event.

[1] PWC 2022, ‘Balancing Act | The New Equation in hybrid working’ PricewaterhouseCoopers March 2022

[2] Statista 2022: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1201336/covid-use-adoption-communication-channels/