Reconnect with your ‘why’ to find motivation and meaning

by Steven Moore

CEO, Actabl

Steven began his journey with Actabl as CEO of Transcendent which is now a part of the Actabl suite. Steven has also spent time as an investor at PRD Inc, and prior to that, was an associate at Schneider Electric in the Energy and Sustainability Services Group. Steven holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BA from Wheaton College. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

It was always sad for me when I used to see people at other companies dragging into work, counting down the minutes until lunch break, and then staring at the clock until 5 pm when they could leave.

I don’t want people to be workaholics. Work will never be our ultimate fulfillment, but we’re all wired to find meaning in what we do. When we find that, it gives us and those around us energy.

If I as a leader can contribute in some way to people finding purpose and meaning in their work – and it’s not just something they have to get through – that’s really exciting to me.

Learning from the parable of the bricklayers

There’s an old parable where someone walks past three bricklayers. 

The first one says they are laying bricks.

The second says they are building a wall.

The third one says they are constructing a cathedral for the Lord Almighty. 

All three of those people are doing the same thing, but they have very different perspectives.

As we’re thinking about attracting people back to the hotel industry, it’s imperative that we lift our heads up and think about the scale of the impact and ripple effects hospitality has on the world.

Hospitality impacts people from all walks of life 

There are a lot of different reasons people travel, and hotels tend to be at the center of things that make life meaningful. 

That could be fun things such as birthdays or weddings or celebrations. But they also travel for difficult things such as funerals, which are also a meaningful part of the human story.

If you think about every aspect of the hotel operation, you see just how much the little things matter.

Imagine someone is traveling to pitch a new customer and start a business. If it’s hot and the air conditioner is broken, they have to move rooms and don’t sleep well. But if the air conditioner is working, they sleep well and wake up in the morning rested to make a great customer pitch. They start a business that might employ a thousand people. 

Thinking about how the little things in hospitality end up having a big impact is very inspiring for me, and motivates me to engage and serve people in roles at hotels that are often overlooked.

How I think about impact at Actabl

Our mission at Actabl is to empower the people who power hospitality. 

We have around 90,000 monthly active hotel operations users today. Our software not only impacts their lives but impacts their guests.

I often think about the scale of that impact. 

That’s 90,000 people we interact with over the course of a month, but then how many guest nights are those users touching over the course of one year? As you look at the number of hotels, the number of rooms, and average occupancy, that’s hundreds of millions of guest nights.

Finding motivation and meaning as a leader

As a leader, you have to ask yourself: why do you want to be a leader?

If you’re in it for the wrong reasons, you can get burned out quickly because there are a lot of challenges in leadership. And getting burned out doesn’t serve anyone. 

Operate out of your unique gifts 

Everyone has unique gifts, and if you’re in a role where you are able to utilize your unique gifts, it’s very life-giving to you and to the people around you. 

Operating out of your unique gifts creates a virtuous cycle that gives you energy and gives other people energy. 

I’ve seen too many people go into professions because that was the thing to do, or they were in some way pressured into it. 

What if your favorite author was an investment banker?

Think about your favorite author and imagine they were an investment banker instead. 

I’ll bet they would work hard and make good money – but it would be tragic. That book you love that they wrote probably wouldn’t exist. 

The world misses out when people aren’t operating out of their areas of strength and gifting.

The ability to work in hospitality is a gift 

I feel fortunate to be able to do the work we do and don’t want to waste the opportunity we have. 

Human interaction and making people feel welcome when they’re strangers leads to better outcomes across the board, however you measure human flourishing.

You only have one life, and you want to spend it well. If you’re in hospitality, you are spending it well. 

Steven Moore is CEO of Actabl, a hotel operations software company.