Author Archive for: ‘Leslie Phillips, Chief Executive Officer’
As the holidays approach, friends begin to share pictures of their young children with Santa. These pictures are often touching and humorous, all at the same time. Their faces. Some scared, some excited, some curious. Children are curious. They ask a lot of questions like, “how does Santa fly around the world delivering all those presents with just a sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer?”
“Questions ‘ignite curiosity” (see my last post). And this article echoes that point.
When our curiosity is triggered, we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias (looking for information that supports our beliefs rather than for evidence suggesting we are wrong) and to stereotyping people.
The research maintains that if you start your day asking yourself, what is one topic I am curious about today vs. what is one thing I’ll complete today…you will be more innovative. So go ahead, be curious. Challenge YOUR status quo and invite your team to do the same.
Leslie Phillips, ESQ
We are taught at a very young age that having the right answers is really, really important. Since 1984, Alex Trebek (of Jeopardy!) has entertained millions of viewers who love hearing him ask questions for which there is a right answer. But life and work? Not so much. Both are full of….gray. Possible solutions, different approaches, and very little pure right or wrong.
So then, how do we let loose of having to have the answers? We ask questions.
Questions “ignite curiosity, which comes before solutions…The rehashing of old ideas produces stability at first and stagnation in the end.”
Use questions to share ideas and values. Questions like: what makes this important to you, what would you like to do about that, how can I help you?
Yes, leaders help solve problems. But more importantly, leaders explore possibilities.
Leslie Phillips, ESQ
In the past, it was thought that people with higher IQ would outperform people with lower IQ…(but), research showed that people with higher IQ outperformed people with lower IQ only about 20% of the time, while people with lower IQ outperformed people with higher IQ 70% of the time…Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s emotions and the emotions of others and to manage those emotions to achieve more effective results. You could simply ask yourself, “In a moment of high or negative emotion, do I have my feelings or do they have me?”
End of summer, start of school. What’s one thing that changes almost overnight? You got it, traffic.
Add to that a 15% increase in spending on asphalt pavement (compared to last year) under the recent federal budget agreement, and you may have really bad traffic and even a few roadblocks.
As we “open for business” everywhere across the MG globe, there is an almost endless list of repairs, improvements, fixes, needs — from staffing to signage. It’s not just this year, it’s every year. Remember to breathe (and deeply 3 times). Slow down to speed up. Strive to be the calmest, clearest, kindest voice and head in the kitchen. And, take a moment to examine your roadblocks. They may be exactly what you need.
“Difficulty doesn’t have to be a roadblock. It may just be an opportunity to find a better way to go.”
Mimi Weaver (Owner, GraceMoves)
Leslie Phillips, ESQ
Many of us read Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, some years ago when we featured it in MG Book Club and discussed it at meetings around that time.
He and Union Square Hospitality Group (or “USHG,” his company), continue to be a source for best practices, habits, philosophies for our industry. From this recent article: Danny Meyer’s Recipes for Success:
USHG language has evolved over the years as a collection of management aphorisms Meyer created in Setting the Table. The “51 percent rule” describes the personality-based hiring principle Meyer conceived by instinct. Potential employees are awarded a “hospitality quotient” score based on traits such as optimism, warmth, and empathy. When evaluating potential hires, 51 percent of the weighting is given to emotional intelligence, and 49 percent to technical skills. There’s extra percentage points on the emotional side that can’t be taught…
The article goes on to describe how they hire for these skills, incorporate them into their onboarding process, and continually train around them. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
In our business, it’s not enough to prepare and serve fabulous food. Hospitality is about how we make people feel while they are enjoying the fabulous food. It’s about the whole experience. In other words, our soft skills must be equal to our technical skills: “as artificial intelligence makes further inroads into your daily work these uniquely human skills are what will differentiate your team members from the bots… If we are to successfully co-exist with increasingly sophisticated technology, we need to amp up our humanity.”
Ways to do this? Be as focused on how something went well as you are on what was achieved. Acknowledge set-backs and encourage those close to it that, yes, this is a tough time – but we will get through it! Recognize soft skills in action, and specifically (great job handling that frustrating situation calmly and with kindness!).
In the end, it’s making real connections with one another that makes us all feel better.
Switching up the order of MG core value number 5: Be positive, be gracious, be kind. Don’t ask me to pick which behavior is most important…can’t do it! But this article (Choose your focus because your eyes control your tongue) zeros in on being positive. What does that really mean? Here are some points to consider…
It’s not enough to accentuate the positive. You have to eliminate the negative.
Walk around looking for mistakes and all you talk about is mistakes.
Repeated complaining hard-wires the brain to do more complaining. The more negative you are, the more negative you become.
Steps to help?
1. Focus on solutions when problems emerge.
2. Focus on strengths. High performance comes from leveraging strengths not fixing (all) weaknesses.
3. Focus on the future. Remember the future is built today.
4. Focus on gratitude.
5. Focus on progress. Energy increases with forward movement, as long as you don’t complain that it’s not enough!
The busyness of the fall is swiftly followed by the buzz of the holidays.
But take a moment to reflect on how you and your team are functioning.
Is your team running on all cylinders? Are you operating with minimal chaos (and drama)? How is everyone’s attitude? How is yours?
If you have someone whose work is not up to snuff, ask yourself: are they not right for the position or not ready?
There is a difference. And if they are not ready – you MUST ask yourself: do I have the time and resources to develop them?
If you have someone who is regressing, ask yourself: do they know what I expect of them?
Or, have they lost interest because they’re under challenged?
If you have someone whose work is great, but they resist feedback or have a crusty attitude, ask yourself: do I have the courage to talk with them about their attitude?
Humans are (still) social creatures wired to connect. It’s true.
And since in addition to loving food, we love people and serving others, we will always keep the conversation going about how to have a better conversation: one that leaves you and the other person feeling inspired, engaged, and basically — really good.
Watch this short TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
(It’s not just about eye contact…as she says: there’s no reason to show you are paying attention…if, in fact…you are paying attention!)
1. Don’t multi-task (physically or mentally). Be present.
2. Don’t pontificate: if you want to state opinions without discussion, write a blog! Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open-ended questions: what was that like, how did that feel, what do you think.
4. Go with the flow – meaning, let thoughts come as you are listening but let them go. Don’t check out of listening because you’re cueing up that random thought or story you want to share.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and boring.
8. Stay out of the weeds. That detail you are trying to remember (exact year or place) really isn’t that important to others.
9. Listen. This is the most important skill humans can develop. No man ever listened himself out of a job (quoting Calvin Coolidge).
10. Be brief.
Do all of these and be prepared to be amazed.
For a company that is wild about wildly important goals…say what?!?
You need a goal (or two, but not more than 3!) and it needs to be measurable. The process of identifying and agreeing upon a goal (what can be even better, cleaner, tastier, safer) brings focus…to everyone. And, by the way…”focus” is the single word to which both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates attribute their success — not determination, not smarts, not courage, not creativity — but focus.
BUT, to achieve your goal? Spend your time focusing on your “systems”.
“If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day…When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time. None of this is to say that goals are useless…goals are good for planning your progress, while systems are good for actually making progress.”
So, you have a goal…pulse-check…what are your systems for achieving it and maintaining the desired result? Focus, focus and refocus on that.