Tag Archives: Excellence

The Waiters who Own Hotels

Some of the life’s most crucial wisdom is conveyed in Jeffrey Archer’s epic 1979 novel Kane and Abel. I could see it in an entirely new light as i continue the rigorous MBA with some of the best and the brightest in India.

Abel Rosnovski, an orphaned Polish immigrant in America, started off as a waiter in New York’s Hotel Plaza while taking night classes at Columbia. Davis Leroy, owner of the Richmond group of hotels, impressed by his work, appointed him manager of his flagship hotel. Abel converts the ill-managed hotel to a profit-making one. During the Great Depression, Davis, unable to find a financial backer for the hotel, committed suicide leaving the Richmond Group to Abel. Kane & Cabot was the bank that hadn’t supported Davis. That moment on, Abel took Kane to be his arch enemy and plotted his crushing downfall.

There are countless rags-to-riches transformation stories. And before we get lost in the plot.. (and the analytically inclined readers have pointed out some ‘inferential fallacies’).. THE LESSON:

Abel went on to become one of the richest men in America BECAUSE he was an outstanding waiter !

The people who succeed have a compelling need, and are relentlessly driven, to perform a task well. And this they do no matter what the task is or how mundane it may be.  It is that passion for excellence they bring with them that radically transforms any work they take up to something much greater.

walt disneyPlumbers who become contractors had, at some point in their lives, a burning desire to repair a valve better and more accurately than anyone else. Waiters who end up creating million $ hospitality chains were once exceptionally good waiters loved by every one whom they served.

On a more corporate-practicality note, what you do beyond your job description (JD) is what is going to fetch you the most credit and appreciation. The job is just there. Go beyond. Stretch yourself and your assigned functional responsibilities.

All too often, we have fantastic candidates chasing larger-than-life jobs (Band Manager! Front-end Investment Banker! Sky-diving Instructor! iPhone designer!).

Instead, strive to become The Professionals’ Professional who makes even the most mundane jobs look hyper-glamorous.

So what if you don’t feel that killer enthusiasm to drive that nail straighter and faster than everyone else ?


The one thing that you always go the extra mile to do better than those around you.

The one thing that gets you angry when you see someone ruining it.

The one thing you could have done more justice to than the incompetent ass who got that chance.

And, when the cosmos conspires to give you that opportunity, grab it with both hands and put up the greatest goddamn show the world will ever see !