It would be great if human beings could replicate the reliable performance of fine German engineering. We don’t and it is the human condition that gives us our charm, charisma and unpredictable behaviour. What separates man from machine is the interesting ingredient called emotion. It gives some the art of empathy and others the desire to do battle. As employers, it can be a gamble to discover the difference because interviews alone are merely beauty parades. What matters most is track record.
Loving Your Customer?
In his book ‘Can You Manage?’ Ivor Kenny asks an important question. “Why do some businesses give the impression that they hate the customer? Is it because they are in the wrong job?”
Arrogance, being argumentative, ignorance, rudeness, lethargy and more can easily be dismissed as “What a dreadful place!” That’s too shallow. These are symptoms and often, symptoms are a consequence of culture and that comes from the top. The clichéd answer is “motivation’ our people need to be motivated” a common call I hear every week. It’s incorrect. Motivation is an outcome and anyone offering ‘motivational workshops’ will have the same lifespan and impact as a dazzling firework. They will rise quickly, erupt in rich happy colours, make wild satisfied noise – and fade into oblivion, quickly forgotten.
Motivation comes from deep inside and to understand that is to immediately make progress. Respect, freedom and professional development are the key traits of the many successful students we meet daily. Money, surprisingly, is rarely mentioned.
But first, how well do you understand Generation Y? If you don’t, you must. You are already employing them.
The generation of people born during the 1980s and early 1990s. The name is based on Generation X, the generation that preceded them.
Members of Generation Y are often referred to as “echo boomers” because they are the children of parents born during the baby boom (the “baby boomers”). Because children born during this time period have had constant access to technology (computers, mobile phones) in their youth, they have required many employers to update their hiring strategy in order to incorporate updated forms of technology.
People born in Generation Y have had access to growing technology such as internet and video games so they are optimal for computer based occupations.
Generation Y has seen the world grow so much in their lifetime that they don't even realize what it was like in the past.
In comparison to Generation X, members of Generation Y are more technologically savvy due to growing up within the Information Age and are prone to use media in everyday life.
(Source: The Businessdirectory.com)
Many leaders have evolved into positions of power, that’s not always good. That power was sometimes based on a logic of “I can trust him” rather than “She is the right leader “. The culture, opportunity and behaviour follows.
Worse still is the leader who pays lip service to empowerment and, in a very good mood yells “You are just the best team ever” followed a week later by an unpredictable volcanic public eruption liberally sprinkled with threats about their future prospects.
It is a recipe for mistrust and that breeds poisonous dark corners.
Good leaders are listeners and good communicators but, most of all, they are strong, tough and fair.
Lip service does not empower, freedom does.
Good people want to be free and they also want to be respected. Free to test themselves, be themselves but mostly, to do what is right. Conformity can be a coffin, just like a lack of respect.
It means taking risks and biting your tongue. It means creating a fail safe environment, an environment where it is safe to fail. It means mentoring and minding. It means encouraging and allowing creativity. It means starting with trust until proven otherwise.
Generation Y are curious, ambitious, challenging and fearless. They want to learn. They want to understand. It’s no coincidence that the best businesses invest in training, teaching, learning and development.
It’s no coincidence that struggling businesses don’t.
You have only one product in your Pub, Hotel, Restaurant or Hospitality business. No, it’s not food, beverage or beds, its people. You have your customers and you have your staff. Everything else is simply what you provide.
Your brand, is simply how your people make me think about you when I’m not there.
How you empower your people determines that.
When you do, they will surprise you because good people get better with less order and more freedom.
The Best of the Best
Let me leave you by quoting 2 of the interviewees in my latest book ‘Dancing at the Fountain – In conversation with world leading hoteliers’
First, Luc Delafosse, MD, The Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, California, who said: “Are you effective or simply efficient?”
Second, Bernard Murphy, MD, the Gleneagles Hotel & Estate, Scotland,
“Are you doing something for me? Or, are you doing something to me?”
Just like your staff, you too have a choice. One is control and ‘follow orders’, the second is freedom to do what’s right. Only you can decide (then they will too)
Conor Kenny is the founder and principal of conorkenny.com Ireland and the UK's leading learning and professional development company for the hotel and hospitality industry.
He is the author of 'Sales Tales - True stories of how great sales happen' (2014) and 'Dancing at the Fountain - In conversation with world leading hoteliers' (2015)