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Managing people is easy and difficult. The easy part is knowing what to do; the difficult part is getting people to do it.
However, if you involve your people, invest in your people and listen to your people, you will make rapid progress and quickly lead your market. After all, hospitality more than any other business, is all about people, your people.

 In From The Cold

A tough market requires new thinking. Quite simply, the ‘old way’ will not be the new. New thinking requires new ideas and no Leader will ever have a monoploly on good ideas. The first golden rule is to involve your people. They are a rich source of ideas and solutions. They need to be managed from within and they need to play their part as well as know their part. Begin by putting together a team that will help you navigate the challenging seas. If the old way was to exclude, the new way is to include. Smart organisations already know this.

 What’s The Plan?

A football team would not enter a cup final without a plan. An Army most certainly would not go to war without being ready and that age old institution, the boy scouts, were ahead of us all when they developed their motto – “Be Prepared”
In other words, develop a strategy. That strategy is simply a plan, a plan that reflects the new order and a plan that is created by and with your people. If they help create it, they will help deliver it. The opposite is a recipe for failure.


If you tell me something, it is likely I will forget. If you show me and demonstrate, I’ll probably remember. If you involve me, I’ll understand. Many make the mistake of assuming I’ll remember just because you told me. Smart Publicans realise that by involving your people they will understand the common cause and the greater good. If they don’t understand, are you involving them?

 Starting Point

The starting point is to talk one on one with your team. Before that, carefully craft your key questions. In other words, what do you want to know? Create a very safe environment (you are The Big Boss after all) and encourage them to give you their honest view and appraisal – no matter how unpleasant. Then listen and then listen with even more care. Get it right and you will unlock the problems. Get it wrong and you will end up with a team full of fear and “Yes Sir” answers.
The trick is to encourage criticism and remember the old saying “Most of us would rather be damned by praise than saved by criticism”

What’s It Like Out There?

Once you assemble your team and once you have gathered up information about the gaps, problems, issues and opportunities it’s time to look outside and see what is happening. Markets are changing and so too are customers. The first principle to accept, understand and embrace is “the market will decide”. Your plan and people need to discuss this and understand the new conditions, landscape and dynamics. But, a tough market that forces change is not necessarily a bad thing. Where there is recession there is opportunity.

 A New Vision

The Ford Focus has been around quite a few years. However, the current incarnation bears little resemblance to the original model. Just like Madonna (the singer!) The Focus has completely overhauled and reinvented itself. You may need to do that too but you can only achieve so much alone.

What is Vision?

In our little company we set out to answer this question. We got together and this is what we wrote;
Vision is an idyllic place.
In the beginning it has no boundaries, no rules, it is unclaimed territory, it is new, it is pure and it has yet to be created. The picture can be dreamy but some dreams come true.
True leaders follow their dreams. Some succeed, some keep trying.
If we have a dream we must at least aim for it. If we miss we can start again. Far better then to aim high than aim too low, hit our target and not even realize it.
Think big, then think bigger and reach beyond the stars.

Our Mission

By now your team will be knitting together. More importantly, they will feel involved, interested and a part of your business.
It’s time to get them to do a little more work. Start by getting them to answer these key questions;
How can the business perform better than the competition in those markets?
How do we get there, what are the obstacles and how do we overcome them? In other words, our new road map.
What is the best way to organize our people and our resources?
What kind of engine is needed to overcome obstacles and get things done?
The answers will begin to formulate your new way forward. Put simply,
‘Strategy is the step by step removal of removable constraints. Competitive strategy means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value’

Just One Percent

When you work hard being 1% better in 100’s of different ways you become better than your competition, in hundreds of ways. In other words, you and your people need to think, brainstorm and execute lots and lots of little ways to make your customers smile. Sometimes they are simply called ‘magic moments’


The way to get strategy executed is not by telling people what to do. They will resist. You will get buy in by sharing the strategy in a way that everyone can understands , and that they see how their jobs relate to it. When people lose sight of their work they become insecure, they face humiliation when asked to do what they are not capable of doing and then turn to politics Have a vision party. Look at past present and future. Your people will relate to images.


Strategy needs to be communicated to your people. Traditionally the manager’s role was planning peoples’ work. People increasingly must plan their own work and make their own decisions. This is about self motivation and empowerment for your team. They must create their own departmental vision, mission, targets, goals, measures, reviews Lots of thought should be around getting these teams to innovate and innovate for their own futures

Half Measures?

Half measures are no good, you need full measures. It is impossible to measure anything without the tools. Those tools are targets, objectives and goals. Get your team to set their own targets, that’s the route to an equitable deal.


Success is shared by many. When success comes it is imperative that it is recognised, rewarded and shared. Nothing will demotivate faster than the ‘reward thiefs’ – people who take the credit without the work!

Built To Last

We can all learn from Jim Collins author of ‘Built to last’, he answers the following question -What do the truly great managers of our world believe in?
1. Managers believe that people are innately good. Without this core belief and faith in people, great management is not possible.
2. Managers believe they do not work on their people, they work with them; they enable and empower them.
3. Managers believe that all people have strengths which can be made stronger, and that their weaknesses can be compensated for to become irrelevant.
5. When it comes to training, the great managers do not believe they train people, they believe they train skills and offer additional knowledge.
6. Managers believe they coach and mentor people, and they love doing so — not “like,” love.
7. Managers believe that the people they manage are more than capable of creating a better future. They hold great faith and trust in the four-fold human capacities of physical ability, intellect, emotion, and spirit.
8. Managers believe in the power of positive, affirmative thinking, and they have a low tolerance for negativity. They are confident and eternal optimists.
9. Managers believe it is their job to remove barriers and obstacles so people can attain the level of greatness they are destined for. They believe that “can’t” is a temporary state of affairs, and that everything is only impossible until the first person does it.
10. Managers believe that their legacy will be in the other people they have helped to achieve worthwhile and meaningful goals. They believe that success is measured in people who thrive and prosper.

It’s All About People

The world of hospitality is truly all about people. Great businesses’ are built by people, nothing else. The real question to think on is this – Is your Pub all about people? – Your people?
Grace Gallagher is a Partner at Hospitality Industry Advisors, Conor Kenny & Associates. For more details on Grace or for an informal chat about how to get the most of your people log on to or call Grace on 01-6633 685

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