Lead Stories

Saving A ‘Slice’ Of Time

Hoteliers Need To Make Meetings More Efficient By Remembering Amazon’s Two Pizza Rule

By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky | March 1, 2022

Hotels are confronting a lot of problems right now and on top of labor shortages affecting the frontline you don’t need to add to that more churn at the managerial level. Especially now with teams remaining lean, one key vacancy can leave no apparent successor and throw a big wrench in normal operations.

Obviously, there are lots of contributing factors for why employees leave—not something that can be tackled in a brief article. The focus here is one of increasing productivity by making team meetings more efficient to in turn motivate through self-actualization.

Hotel operations are ritually endowed with lots of meetings to summarize the current state of affairs and make decisions by committee. All was well and good more or less until we had to do it all by video. Whichever application you’re using, non-stop videoconferencing is a morale killer. It induces eye burn that can cause headaches and reduces sound latency which elongates the total time spent.

Whether remote work goes by the wayside or not, the lean teams likely are not. This means that managers need to be exceedingly scrupulous with how they spend their time, especially when too many meetings can prevent any real work from actually getting completed.

As one potential solution to this, let’s take a note from Amazon, specifically the company’s two pizza rule. As a rule of thumb, no meeting should include any more individual managers than what two pizzas can feed. This also means that the longer the meeting, the more slices a single attendee requires, thus necessitating fewer participants for those drawn-out planning sessions.

Protect your managers’ time; it’s your most valuable resource. You do this by limiting the number of meetings that one must attend and also compressing the meeting agenda.

Here are some more tips to build upon this ‘two pizza rule:’

  • Be meticulous in asking why each person must attend a given meeting;
  • Allow managers to opt-out for as simple a reason as they don’t feel it’s necessary for them;
  • Have an assigned agenda creator and if there’s no agenda then there’s no meeting;
  • Have an assigned minutes taker to distribute notes to everyone afterwards;
  • Prepare notes for managers to review ahead of time so that they need not be covered again during the meeting;
  • To eliminate eye burn from video calls, make it acceptable to dial in via voice only;
  • Structure meetings at regular times to decrease time spent arranging for a meeting time.

There’s a lot more here that can be done, but what we stress is that in a hotel environment where lean teams are the way of the future, you have to derive a new process to protect your human capital. Know the difference between work and output, where the goal should be to increase the latter without stressing your managers out by increasing the overall workload. For this, the ‘two pizza rule’ courtesy of Jeff Bezos is one way to heighten productivity for the year ahead.

Larry and Adam Mogelonsky

Together, Adam and Larry Mogelonsky represent one of the world’s most published writing teams in hospitality, with over a decade’s worth of material online. As the partners of Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd., a Toronto-based consulting practice, Larry focuses on asset management, sales and operations while Adam specializes in hotel technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Their work includes seven books: “In Vino Veritas: A Guide for Hoteliers and Restaurateurs to Sell More Wine” (2022), “More Hotel Mogel” (2020), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012). You can reach them at adam@hotelmogel.com to discuss hotel business challenges or to book speaking engagements.

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