Author Archive for: ‘Leslie Phillips, Chief Executive Officer’

Conflict Competence

Can you be kind, positive and gracious, and have conflict or need to share difficult feedback? Dealing with conflict in a constructive fashion is a form of kindness — to the parties involved, to the team, and to the organization. But, research shows that 95% of the workforce (that means each one of us) avoid difficult conversations. And…every avoided conversation costs 8 hours of productivity. Yikes, how do we do better? Conflict Competence is a skill to be developed. A growth mindset means believing you can improve your abilities. If you feel you “aren’t good” at difficult, honest, direct conversations – try again, you will get better at it. Talk to someone you admire in this regard.  And, empower your team to do the same.

We all struggle with conflict, but the path to becoming conflict competent is to first adopt the right mindset, learn the skills and practice. With the right support system, a company can shift from a costly culture of avoidance to a prosperous culture of quick course-correction.

Leslie Phillips
CEO

 

Brand Intelligence

We talk a lot about “brand” at MG. Lately, we’ve put even more focus on what that means because it’s way more than chef dude or interesting composed salads or signs on kraft paper. Yes, those are things we hope people recognize us for, but it’s way more. This article – What does your corporate brand stand for – reinforces why this is so important. Our brand is what we stand for and how others perceive we are doing with that (our reputation!). It’s critical that a company know their “brand core”:  what do we promise and how do we express that?

We have ten core values, but they are all summed up in our overarching goal:  to make a difference every day. From how we appreciate people to how we love food and our planet…this will never go out of style.

Leslie Phillips
CEO

Be Curious

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
CEO

What’s Your Question?

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
CEO

The Feels

Lately across the MG globe, we have been taking extra steps to educate about the power of emotional intelligence (EQ).  Seems it’s on a lot of people’s minds as we see, hear, and experience ourselves…strong emotions.  This article provides yet another angle on how important EQ is:

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?”

Is your road blocked?

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
CEO

Culture & Danny Meyer’s 51% Rule

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?

Lean in on being human

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.

Where’s your focus?

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!

Ask Yourself

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?

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