Speech for Spring Semester 2011 Graduation, Blue Mountains Hotel School - Tianjin Campus, Nankai University College of Tourism and Service Management

Vice Chancellor, Nankai University - Madame Jiao
Principal, Nankai University - College of Tourism and Service Management - Mr. Bai
Vice Principal, Nankai University - College of Tourism and Service Management - Mr. Liu

Distinguished guests, graduands, parents and friends, ladies and gentlemen,

I bring greetings and congratulations from my two fellow directors, Max Player and Fritz Gubbler from Australia who are unable to attend today.

Congratulations graduates. Congratulations on passing the rigorous exams and studying demands of this course. Congratulations on your determination to complete this challenging course. Congratulations on choosing an exciting industry.

You have completed your studies. You have completed your learning at this college, but I would remind you that you are only starting to learn. What you should have learnt at this college is how much there is to learn. The day you stop learning is the day you stop breathing.

You are not only starting a lifelong career, you must now really start learning, and you must really start achieving. You are entering the real world of life where you are on your own, where you have to compete to work, where there is no room for mediocrity.

I am the father of three sons who have all graduated with university  qualifications. Whenever I talk to a hotel school graduation like today, I think of advice I have given my sons when they started their careers – and I keep repeating it to them.

You will all be starting your new jobs next week, critical jobs which will set you on your future career. I want to give you Ten Commandments of Success, commandments I repeatedly give to my sons, commandments I repeatedly remind myself, commandments that have helped me with my career.

I started my hotel career in 1975 - 35 years ago, before any of you were born. I was privileged to work for the Peninsula Group in Hong Kong, which I think, even today, is one of the most prestigious and successful hotel groups in Asia. I started as a financial controller of two hotels and I personally had very few assets – one suit and a pair of new shoes.

And now, after 30 years, I am President and owner of an international hotel group with over 60 hotels and projects. Something I never even dreamed about when I was your age.

My commandments of success are:


Commandment No. 1 – Achieving
Never underestimate what you can achieve. If you have the will and belief and are prepared to work hard, you will always be a success. I was told many times that I would not succeed in building a global management company, and secretly I almost believed these negative people, especially during the economic crisis, especially during the riots, during personal financial difficulties.

However, success is your success and not what others may judge as your success. To achieve you must try and not to have tried is a failure.

Commandment No. 2 – Fairness
As Bill Gates, founder and owner of Microsoft said: “The world is not fair so get used to it.” Do not expect special treatment, do not be disappointed if friend do not support you, do not be disappointed if you do not get the breaks you think you deserve. Do not get angry. Be determined and get even.

Commandment No. 3 – Solution
Always be the solution and not the problem. My biggest challenge is to train and develop my Senior Executives – to train them to be the solution and not the problem. So many times they explain the problem to me but do not present the solution. Any executive who is a solution to my business will get guaranteed promotion.

If the General Manager is the solution, the hotel owners will pay bonuses. As a hotelier, you must be the solution to your guests. Then they will return.           I avoid executives who cannot present solutions and I will eventually replace them. I employ people to be solutions. Owners employ management companies to be solutions. If we cause more problems than we solve, then our career will be very short.

Commandment No. 4 – Money
Do not take a job for money. You will always be disappointed. Take a job for opportunity, for experience, for the future. Money follows success. Money is not necessarily success. Do not take the small job in a big city; rather take a big job in a small city.

Take the opportunity to prove yourself. Take the job with an exciting boss who will teach you, who will train you, who will support you. This is how you will get ahead and really develop your career.

Commandment No. 5 – Your Boss
Make your boss look good. Make him a success and you will be part of that success. Make him a failure and you will get blamed. Always respect your boss; if you do not, you are not respecting yourself. If you don’t respect you boss or your company, leave immediately.

Commandment No. 6 – Never give up
Never ever give up. If you have not finished your assignment, do not go home. Many a night I have worked all night. In fact, I was writing this speech at 4 in the morning. Be determined to succeed – this is a key element of success.

Determination is more important than making the correct decision.  Throughout the global financial crisis, I’ve had many challenges. I’ve had many people tell me to give up. I’ve had many people say we cannot make it. I became even more determined to succeed.

Commandment No. 7 – Be positive
Always work with positive people. It makes life so much easier. Negative people attract negative results. This does not mean you ignore problems and major challenges. They are there and they must be positively handled.

But do not see everything as positive; otherwise you will miss the problems. And if you miss the problem, you will miss the solution. And it will be too late when you eventually identify the problem.

Commandment No. 8 – Change
Change is the biggest challenge. Change is ongoing. You must change if you want a different result. There is one main element which is the center of all change; which is the easiest element to change – and that is you yourself.

The most difficult to change is other people. The easiest thing to change is you yourself. Most people are a huge failure in self-change. When you own a  business, you have to change yourself if your business is not working.          Otherwise, you will fail. And when you fail, you will not only lose your job but you will also lose all your assets.

Most people change their job rather than change themselves. In 40 years, I have only worked for 5 companies. I have never resigned out of threat or out of being unhappy or disappointed. I have only resigned for opportunity

And I have also on one occasion resigned and taken a lower paying job which eventually lead me to financial success beyond my wildest dreams.

Commandment No. 9 – Risks and Attitude
Take on any job offered to you by your boss. Try something different. Show your capability. Show you are willing to learn and try. These are simple risks.

Show the right attitude. This is the key element I use as a basis to employ my executives. Be humble, not boastful. Do understand, not selfish. Be proud, not arrogant. Be positive not sad. Be friendly and you will never be lonely. Be happy but be professional. Be responsible and show leadership. You will always get a better view from the front.

Commandment No. 10 – Passion
If you have no passion, you have no life. If you have no passion, you have no success. Passion coupled with hard work will guarantee success

These are the ten commandments of success in life and career:
Achieving – Fairness – Solution – Money – Boss – Never give up – Be positive – Change – Risks and Attitude – Passion.

Graduates, welcome to the exciting world of life. Follow your dream but do not dream of following. Thinking is the solution to all challenges and opportunities. Thinking is free but the financial rewards are incredible. Money is not wealth. Ideas; Passion; Professionalism; Leadership; Dreams; Confidence… these create wealth.

To be given wealth and money is a death sentence. To be given opportunities, ideas, a future, encouragement and confidence are the true gifts of success and wealth.

Graduates, your opportunity has arrived. Seize that opportunity. Never regret. Only learn. To make mistake once is learning. To make the same mistake twice is disappointing. To make the same mistake three time is failure – but never be afraid of making mistakes

I have loved my exciting hotel and business career. My only regret is not to be sitting in your seat today so I can have this exciting time again. I look forward to meeting you all in your future career. I have a job for you now but only if you display those ten commandments of success.

Congratulations and Good Luck.

 

Gavin M. Faull
 

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