Wednesday, September 23, 2015

“Tools of a Leader: Hire an Attitude”

When my Executive Assistant met this young man, he was waiting tables at a local casual restaurant. She and her husband noticed something different immediately.  It wasn’t just his engaging smile, pleasant conversation or attention to the details of serving their meals, it was his positive attitude.

She encouraged him to apply for a position at one of our local hotels.  The General Manager of the hotel hired him because of his attitude and taught him to be a front desk associate.  Two years later, he was honored at the hotel brand’s national conference as an Associate of the Year for the entire brand, which numbered some 500+ properties nationwide.  “Hire an attitude and teach them the business.”  It’s value statement #3 for Hotel Equities.

I’ve experienced similar stories time and again throughout my career.  Find a person with a positive attitude who has a servant heart, enjoys working with people and wants to make a difference, and chances are you have found someone who will be successful in our industry. 

We can teach that person to work the mechanics of the front desk, how to sell rooms, or even manage a hotel.  And we’ll gain an outstanding associate who will take excellent care of our guests.

Attitude doesn’t register on a resume, but it shines in a face-to-face interview.

A positive attitude is one of the most important keys to success. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “Minds are like parachutes; they only work when they are open”.

Fred Cerrone

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tools of a Leader: Casting a Vision

The Hotel Equities’ Vision Statement clearly proclaims, “Excellence in Hospitality” at the top of our corporate Commitment Card, now carried by more than 1,500 associates. 

As leaders, after we identify a worthy vision, we must cast the vision for our teams.  We must also articulate the vision, repeatedly, so that our associates know where we are going and what we have to accomplish.  We must make the vision compelling enough so that it becomes a call to action. 

Do you recite your firm’s vision to your team on a regular basis? If not, “vision leakage” will occur and your team will not function at its optimum capacity.

Be bold…..share the vision…..give direction….help connect the dots for your team.   Don’t let your team wander and lose focus.  Be the leader you are called to be. 

Encourage your team and remind them of the progress they are making to achieve their goals. 

Fred Cerrone
Chairman & CEO
Hotel Equities

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tools of a Leader: Brainstorming

One of my all-time favorite leadership tools is brainstorming.  Defined, it is a process for generating ideas and solutions through intensive and, often, freewheeling group discussion.  The process begins with the participants feeling free to express their thoughts without reprisal. 

Assembling the thoughts and ideas of creative and engaged people who have a stake in the success of an organization can be a powerful and rewarding experience.  Every participant is encouraged to suggest as many ideas as possible, no matter how improbable or outlandish.  Analysis, discussion and critique follow after the brainstorming is completed.  Then the leader must guide the group to next steps.   
We brainstormed in one breakout session during our recent company conference.  Small groups of seasoned general managers and directors of sales shared ideas for projects in which our hotels can engage and give back to their communities.  They identified nearly 100.  After the session, the leaders compiled a master list entitled Community Service Opportunity Ideas and distributed it as a valuable resource for all of our hotels.
Brainstorming gives everyone an opportunity to contribute and the group benefits from the collective wisdom.  If you haven’t used this tool lately, I highly recommend it.

Fred Cerrone

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tools of a Leader: Discipline

One of my mentors, John Maxwell, put it this way, “Discipline is doing what you really don’t want to do, so that you can do what you really want to do.  It’s paying the price in the little things, so that you can buy the bigger thing.” 

When I went back to school to earn a master’s degree at the age of 62, it was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done.  I did it because I wanted to set a good example for my grandchildren and associates, and I wanted to keep my mind disciplined and sharp.  The sacrifices made and the time invested have paid dividends beyond my expectations.

To be successful as a leader requires discipline in many areas. One that always brings good results is spending quality time with new hires.  Setting clear expectations and giving proper training to associates when they first come on board pays tremendous benefits as these rookies grow and mature into top talent and highly effective team members.

A living example of discipline in action is my grandson, Eli White.  Years of disciplined, focused practice from little league through high school, led to a college scholarship and a current role as the starting shortstop on the Clemson University baseball team.  To keep his spot and to prepare for the next opportunity, his discipline continues with daily workouts and practice, in addition to college classes.

I am so proud of Eli for both his baseball and classroom achievements. I am equally proud of each of our hotel team members who utilize their training and skills to take great care of our guests. A winning formula for success in almost any venture is the utilization of gifts and talents to accomplish worthwhile things by making a difference in the lives of others.

Fred Cerrone

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tools of a Leader: The Power of Teamwork

It’s March Madness again in the world of college sports.  Have you completed your basketball bracket?   Will your teams play in the Final Four?

Winning games is all about teamwork.  You’ve probably seen the word TEAM spelled out as an acronym:




I often use sports analogies in teaching situations because most people can relate to them quickly.  They understand the concept that a winning team is one that fully utilizes the gifts and talents of each team member in a unified fashion for a common good.  When that happens, everyone benefits. 

If a highly-talented team underachieves, it is usually due to poor team chemistry.  We call it “team chemistry” but what it really amounts to is the under-utilization of everyone’s gifts.  Instead, one, two or more players may selfishly choose to demonstrate their gifts and talents for personal gain rather than playing for the benefit of the overall team.  Coaches must often remind their players of the power of the team concept. 

As a leader, it is important that you teach your associates to fully comprehend and employ the power of the teamwork.

I hope you win your pool!

Fred Cerrone

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tools of a Leader: Integrity

Hotel Equities’ Value Statement #10 reads: “Having integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.”  In order to lead, you must not only earn the respect of your followers, but you must lead with honesty and authenticity to build a strong level of trust.

Consider the recent example of the little league baseball team stripped of its U.S. World Series Championship title because the coaches brought in players from outside the district’s official boundaries.  The hard-working boys played by the rules and won the tournament, only to be disqualified because of the lack of integrity of the adult leaders.
Integrity in the workplace is just as important as it is on the playing field.  A leader in the hospitality industry demonstrates his/her integrity during interactions with peers, colleagues and subordinates, as well as with the general public.

Whether it is the housekeeper vacuuming under the bed daily, even when she can’t see any dust or the General Manager paying for snacks from his/her pocket and not petty cash, leading by example sets the foundation for appropriate and honest workplace behavior.

As a leader, you earn the trust of your followers through your demonstrations of integrity.  Your team must trust you before they will follow you.  Your followers will know if you have done the right thing, even though they were not looking.

Albert Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

Fred Cerrone

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Do you love what you do?

I love what I do!

I always look forward to the start of the year as we cast a vision and set goals and strategies in preparation for the exciting months ahead.  It’s a time of great expectation for our team.

My career in hospitality spans more than four decades. The hotel industry has given me an opportunity to do something significant with my life and, hopefully, make a difference.

From desk clerk to general manager to CEO, my career has provided me with unique opportunities to influence the people whom I have encountered: guests, associates, vendors and owners.  Our associates are especially important to me. I consider them teammates and a key ingredient in our team’s success.

As the company’s Chairman and CEO, I’m also the Head Coach of more than 1,000 team members at our fast-growing company.  We’re proud of the fact that we hire selectively, provide great tools and training, and put our team members to work in excellent facilities that are located strategically throughout the country.  As a result of our core values and practices, such as our general managers holding daily team huddles in which they review our value statements, our company culture is the envy of the industry. Each associate plays an important role in our success.

As we continue to grow Hotel Equities, we are looking to add new team members, with great attitudes and who want to participate in an exciting career journey.  We want associates who are committed to excellence and want to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those they come in contact with as a result of their daily interactions.  We want team players who are excited to come to work every day because, like me, they love what they do.

If you know someone who would enjoy becoming a part of something new and exciting, have them contact us at:


Fred Cerrone

Welcome to Fred Cerrone's Blog

Welcome to “Stuff Worth Sharing”! It is our hope that this blog will help you to know more about our Founder & Chairman, Fred Cerrone, as well as gain some insight into his vision and dreams for Hotel Equities. We welcome your feedback as well as any topics that you would like Fred to cover. Thanks for all you do to help make Hotel Equities a success!

Read More