Architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase, Form follows function. His protégé, the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright, advanced the concept, as he designed what he referred to as organic architecture in harmony with humans and the environment.
When you really think about it, it’s difficult to identify anything useful that does not affirm the importance of functionality. After all, what good would an exquisitely beautiful screwdriver be if it did not fit a single screw in your toolbox?
In regard to business, the same thing is true. You might have spared no expense in setting up a gorgeous, expansive office with a breathtaking view of amazing sunsets. However, if the sun shines so blindingly bright and uncomfortably hot through your window that you cannot conduct meetings at your conference table during the daylight hours, if you don’t have adequate outlets and a way to connect your computer to the internet, and if the tools you use everyday are not readily accessible to you, the beauty of the sunsets quickly would lose its top-priority position in your workspace. Functionality is not something you ever can afford to disregard or undervalue. Simply put, functionality is a mandate.
Method actors understand this concept as much as anyone else, and more than most. Marlon Brando, for example, stepped into each role he played by becoming, so to speak, the character he was channeling. Rather than acting like the person he was representing, he actually immersed himself into the individual’s personhood. The thoughts, interactions, reactions, and responses he displayed were not his own, but those of the character he played. In essence, he functioned as his character. How do you think that worked for him? Well, if you are old enough to have been a Brando fan, did you ever doubt that he WAS, indeed, the godfather?
Perhaps what I’m talking about sounds elusive or simply too far out to you. If so, please hang in with me a bit longer, and I think you soon will grasp where I’m going with this!
Consider functionality in regard to your day-to-day work as a travel advisor…
An old boss of my always used to say, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” Actually, I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that. So let’s take a moment to think about it. Why would we continue doing anything we’ve already learned is not working?
What in your business is really working well and what isn’t? What do you really need? What does real functionality in your day-to-day work feel like? What does it look like?
When I first started my travel agency, I asked myself all of these questions, plus many, many more. And what I’ve learned over the years is that nobody, and I do mean, NOBODY has all the answers. There is NO silver bullet. And, in spite of how smooth and pretty and slick some things may appear to be, there simply is NO shortcut from where you are to where you want to be.
What I Know
What I can tell you, from my own personal and professional experience; from my own trials, failures, and successes; and from taking everything in my business apart—piece by piece, analyzing each step, and putting it all back together again in a more functional, efficient, and sustainable way—is this:
-NOBODY gets it right 100 percent of the time.
Have you ever met a human being who hasn’t made mistakes?
-Anyone who never, ever says, “I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you on that,” is talking BS!
Is there anybody on the face of the planet who knows everything there is to know about the travel industry, or about anything else, for that matter?
-Failure is an essentially important factor in success.
Otherwise, how would we ever learn, grow, or improve?
-Anything that’s all form (pretty and visually appealing with limited or no answers or real solutions), hype (empty promises without numbers to back them up), and hyperbole (smooth talking, rather than good listening and the ability to solve real problems) and provides no evidence of functionality has not earned your trust and does not deserve your attention.
Has buying into something that sounds too good to be true ever worked for you in the past?
-Never underestimate the true value of strong business relationships. Whether with your clients or your suppliers, the value proposition of relationships is incalculable.
Did you know that a seemingly insignificant resource—the customer intake form—could prove to be the single most important tool you have in your toolbox to help ensure you get to know and are able to build strong relationships with your clients? And are you aware that sharing the resulting client profile with your suppliers will enhance your supplier relationships, as well, because having that information helps them better do their job?
Another thing I know, for sure, is that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
As I’ve said before, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! And getting it right requires time, effort, diligence, and REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Sometimes, we simply have to stop, take a breath, and remind ourselves not to expect to eat that elephant in one sitting.
We must remember to put one foot in front of the other—to take one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to get discouraged, to buy into negative self-talk, and to start believing you simply cannot get there from here. But think about it… If you want to get from point A, to point B, isn’t facing the direction of B and literally putting one foot in from of the other a sure-fire method of eventually getting there? Absolutely! So let’s take tiny steps, one at a time!
Making a small change might appear to be inconsequential, but small, simple changes accumulate and morph into large things that can change your life!
The quality of your life depends on the quality of your choices. Being attentive to the choices you make every day means thinking things through before acting, considering pros, cons, ramifications and benefits; and choosing quality over quantity every time.
Kalidasa wrote a well-known Sanskrit proverb that support the quality of our choices, actions, and habits: Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today, well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.
Don’t worry about yesterday. Simply focus on one or two tiny things you can improve today. Then, do it again, tomorrow and the day after. Form the habit of improving something every single day. It’s like cleaning out a drawer each day, and eventually realizing that you’ve successfully organized every drawer in your house! Remember that, to eat that elephant, you have to take one bite at a time.
Picture yourself functionalizing a tiny detail of your business every single day. In only one workweek, you will have improved and functionalized five things in your business! That is significant. And when you stick with it—day after day, week after week—it will make a huge difference in your business.
Thank you for staying with me until the end of this piece. I hope it will help jumpstart actions you’d like to take to confront the challenges you face, to improve the functionality of your business, and even to enhance the quality of your life.
And if you need a partner to help ensure the functionality, efficiency, and optimal productivity of all your processes, resources, tools, and systems, reach out to us at Travel Industry Solutions! Our solutions are proven effective, and that’s no BS!