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What are Proactive Hospitality Companies Working On?

Part 3 in the Leading into the Future series

Since 2018 we have been traveling the world, by plane and by zoom, working on development of leadership and leadership team effectiveness. From Pakistan to the Philippines and from Washington State to Washington DC, we continue to find organizations dealing with similar leadership and organizational breakdowns, no matter the industry.

We want to introduce these breakdowns (issues, speedbumps, blockers—the things that hold leaders back) to you because often, as leaders, we just don’t see them. Yet to overcome and persevere, we must not only see them, but grow our leadership muscles to overcome them and thrive! 

Here’s the thing: while many hospitality teams have come together stronger than ever in the pandemic, they are still somewhat resigned and burned out. They are hoping that their industry and clients will return to “normal.” They are fearful of the business that is coming and having to do it all again, just in a different way. We are all hoping that our teams will have the energy and passion to push through.

We want to be sure that our clients are not going into these upcoming seasons only relying on hope. Even before “The Great Resignation” we had “The Worldwide Crisis of Employee Engagement.” It was already time for businesses to realign, to rediscover, and to reinvest in their people and organizations.

Google Maps as a leadership tool

A key to building strong organizational leadership is to know where you are, where you are going, and how to manage breakdowns that will inevitably happen to your plan. Think of Google Maps as a leadership tool. Google Maps needs to know exactly where you are and exactly where you want to go. When you start driving, Google Maps is constantly tracking your progress. What happens when you miss a turn, or get a flat tire (what we call a breakdown)? Google helps you recalibrate and recenter. You get back on track to your desired destination.

Specifically, what are our proactive hospitality clients doing?

They are working to define their reality of strengths, opportunities, and aspirations. What internally and externally is blocking their way? They are adding to their leadership toolbox. 

They are actively planning, assessing, and recalibrating toward their desired outcome. These leaders and teams are dealing with the same blocks as you and your organization. One of the keys is having awareness that typical organizational blocks do exist and are identified. All business leaders deal with each of the below issues at some point. With this knowledge, you can open up and observe which of these might be affecting you and your organization.

Do not stay stagnant. Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be. Open up, come together as a team, define your strengths, find and manage current or potential breakdowns, develop new leadership tools, and develop your leadership muscle.

The enemies of learning: Which of these might be holding your leadership back?

  • Our inability to admit that we don’t know
  • The desire for clarity all the time
  • Lack of priority for learning–“I don’t have time”
  • An inability to unlearn
  • Ignoring the emotional dimension of learning
  • Confusing learning with acquiring information
  • Not giving permission to others to teach us
  • Lack of trust

Key organizational breakdowns: Which of these might be holding you back?

  • Ownership is not clear on what they really want.
  • Ownership doesn’t talk to their teams and therefore they don’t know if the team desires and shares a promise to a particular future.
  • They don’t know if they have the “right people in the right seats” to get them there.
  • They don’t have a clear planning and meeting cadence to define the future and assess if they are on or off track.
  • They have fuzzy expectations and then are disappointed when these expectations fall short.
  • The leader runs their own planning session because “nobody knows the company as well as I do.” 
  • The organization is unaware of its blind spots because the environment is not safe to discuss them. They hope the issues will magically get better.
  • They make excuses for underperformers instead of letting them go.
  • Leaders micromanage and frustrate versus delegate and lead.
  • Leaders are fuzzy around commitments and standards for accountability.
  • Their management toolbox becomes stagnant, empty, and ineffective.
  • There is a lack of commitment to learning. We must learn or be passed by—learn from our mistakes, successes, and experiences, and learn from others in the world, particularly from those who have risked and have experience in success and failure.

What happens when leadership teams address these issues and build their leadership toolbox? By focusing on questions such as these, teams become proactive, focused, lean, and accountable. They become more satisfied and more engaged. Their entire organization gets to work accomplishing “The Most Important Objectives” which will help them survive and thrive.

How are you as an owner, leader, or leadership team addressing these issues so that you have a plan to be proactive, reenergized, and strategic in becoming best-in-class?

Hope is not a strategy. The best predictor of your future behaviors and results are your past behaviors and results. Get curious and have trusting conversations with yourself and your team. Find a coach to push your thought process and be a thought partner with you. Only then can you take new actions toward the results that you say you want.

Choose your future. Love your choice. You are choosing either way. 

Greg Karl

Founder | Step Change Leader

Greg Karl is founder of Step Change Leader, a generative business advisory, leadership & organizational development firm.  Step Change Leader helps owners and teams discover and generate a future that provides value, satisfaction and meaning.  He is also on the Certified Catering Consultants team.