'The need to do things and do them right have to come from within'

Binny Sebastian

General Manager, Meghauli Serai, Taj Safari Hotel & Head of Operations, CG Hospitality

With over 23 years of experience in operations both in domestic and global markets, Binny Sebastian, General Manager of Meghauli Serai, a Taj Safari Hotel and Head of Operations of CG Hospitality is an award-winning hospitality professional and a certified hotel administrator.

The hospitality sector looks glamorous from the outside but it is a very challenging job, shares Sebastian, adding that to succeed in this field one has to be dynamic and result-oriented. “One also needs to be adept in crisis management because you are dealing with various types of customers with different needs on a daily basis and you could encounter a difficult person at any moment,” he states.

Over the years, he has led teams in different hospitality properties with an exemplary record in turnaround performance. Sebastian is also recognised for his superior interpersonal skills and ability to solve multiple and complex technical, human resources, S&M and operational challenges.

He says, “I am passionate about perfection and truly believe in leading by example and have a high drive for operational efficiency ensuring optimal productivity and profitability.” A hands-on approach to manage every aspect of the hotel operations by building a team geared towards success is what he strives for. Besides work, he loves listening to motivational speakers.

In this edition of Business 360, Sebastian speaks about the five major things that have impacted his work and life.


Follow your gut instinct

I have made two big decisions in life, one at the personal and the other at the professional level, and I feel that they were the best decisions I have made so far. The decision to marry a girl of my father’s choice was a life-changing one. It is not that I am from a conservative family and I had to do what my parents asked me to. I was working in the British Virgin Islands and my father called me one day informing that there was a proposal for marriage. I accepted the proposal without even meeting or seeing the person I was going to get married to. The only thing that came to my mind was that this could be the best gift I could ever give my parents and on September 7 this year we celebrated our 20th marriage anniversary. We have three kids now and my better half has been a pillar of support for me through these years. On the professional front, the decision to join the hospitality industry even though I was initially interested in joining the army could not have been any better. I always had the knack to join the army as I have always been pretty organised since my childhood in everything I do. But now I am happy and content that I chose hospitality. I think I am happy that I found my calling. I believe that at times we overthink things and tend to make silly or bad decisions. There are times when you just need to follow your gut instinct and everything will fall into place.


I am my own inspiration

It has been a long time but I still vividly remember a conversation I once had with one of my previous managers. The conversation was about our careers and the goals we had set for ourselves and he had advised me never to run behind money. I recall him telling me to do things in such a way that money comes following you. What it basically meant was that knowledge and skills are the elements that help you be the person you are. Ever since that conversation I have always focused on how to excel in what I do. If one does their work with passion, then success is but just an outcome.

In all these years of work in various senior positions, I have also learnt that the leader must be the driving force behind the team and one needs to be authentic too. I have met many inspiring people along the way but I have realised that I am my own inspiration. The need to do things and do them right have to come from within. It helps me to push myself to do better and be a refined version of myself.


Patience is key

In any sector that you work patience is the key and moreover in the hospitality business. Like I mentioned earlier we meet different types of guests with various demands and we have to have the patience to hear them out so that their needs are fulfilled. I am grateful that patience is something I have in abundance.

At times we do face difficult situations whether it be in the professional or the personal front. I would advise people to stay calm and understand the situation first. One needs to also be transparent when dealing with the other person. I have been successful in my career because of the patience I have to handle any situation. But again, I wouldn’t say I am successful because I have achieved my goal. Success does not mean only personal growth. I feel I have been a success as I have been able to transform many lives through my guidance and working as a mentor. For me, success is how much I have learnt from my experiences and have the number of mistakes I make dropped. Most importantly, success for me is how truthful I am to myself so that I can sleep well at night.


Observe and learn

We tend to make decisions based on the situation that we are confronted with at that moment and this actually happens on a daily basis. Joining the hospitality industry was the best decision in my professional life. Here, I would also like to mention that I like to keep things simple and straight. Integrity is a big part of my life and who I am. I also believe that the management style, experience and talent vary in people but all have something to offer if one pays attention. Observing people and their habits has always been sort of a hobby for me. I can say for sure that everyone has something to offer if you are looking to learn from them.


Women are more inclusive as leaders

I have experienced that women as leaders value work-life balance and they care about their team and also their wellbeing. They are more inclusive and show empathy. They make wise and bold decisions, encourage free thinking and focus on teamwork. In fact, their team becomes their family. They are flexible and can multitask and they dream big which are fantastic qualities. They also have the ability to recognise emotions within themselves and in others and can relate to creating great places to
work in.

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Business 360 is a magazine that delivers on quality business news content, profiles of entrepreneurs and leaders, features on issues that matter, articles that assess and analyze policy and delivery mechanisms in the world of trade and commerce

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