Why do general managers have a hard time with business decisions?

10 March 2022
General Managers in hotels are experts in making decisions for solving immediate problems. For example, something happens that causes pain. If you do not know how to solve the problem, call the general manager to get a lot of good advice on how to solve the problem. General Managers have worked for many years in the industry, so they are masters of problem-solving.
Making instant decisions to solve a small and straightforward problem is easy if you have experience with similar situations before. General managers tend to know-it-all since they have worked in all roles in a hotel. On the other hand, making long-term business decisions moves you to play in another league. Everything changes from short-term to long-term, from urgent to think through, operational to tactical and strategic, and from a hunch or experience-based to facts and data-driven.

Six rules to make better business decisions

Know the facts first and foremost before making a decision

It is difficult to find, retract, and compile data for analysis before deciding. Someone probably needs to spend endless hours to make sense of the data and produce a relevant report to the decision-maker. Therefore, it is tempting to trust your instincts and prior experience to make decisions.

Place attention on results - both short- and long-term

Focus on the business decision that will have the most significant impact. If you assess the expected outcome of the decision, it will also be easier to make the right decision between two or several different choices. An obvious short-term decision might not be the right long-term decision, so it is vital to have both perspectives. It is tempting to think short-term, to get the pain out of the way and continue with other tasks.

Seek other's views

Ask your team members what they think about your decision and if they have other ideas or solutions. Ask colleagues in the industry who might have faced the same choices. Consider asking experts or professional consultants if the decision is complex and you need a piece of advice or a second opinion. It is tempting to skip this step since it will take a little more effort and time, but decisions tend to have long-term effects, so it is worth going the extra mile.

Relax and don't rush decisions

Hotels are high-paced businesses, so there is no time to relax. General managers can solve most problems quickly but need to give business decisions more time. Relax means that you take an extra day and night to think about the decision, especially if the decision significantly impacts team members and financial results.

Focus on what is best for the business

Hotel general managers tend to stay in a hotel for three to four years before they move on in their career to the next hotel. As a result, it is tempting to make a decision that will benefit your career or bonus but is not the best for the business. Please do not fall into this trap because it will be discovered sooner or later and hurt your career.

Course correct if needed, but ensure data is the foundation

Finally, you can change your decisions when discovering new data and insights. It is nothing wrong with making revised decisions as long as you base them on data and insights. The world changes all the time, so what was the right decision yesterday might not be the right decision today. If you have done your homework before making a long-term decision, you might only need to make minor adjustments along the way instead of changing course.

Do not become a slow decision-maker

Following the rules above does not mean becoming a slow decision-maker. On the contrary, the decision process should be fast, without being rushed, and based on facts, proper analysis, and several different views. These six rules make decisions more effective and ensure reaching the expected impact.