Saturday, 28 October 2017

Are you happy to delegate?

Recently, I have been playing with various clients around the theme of delegation. My main reason for getting up in the mornings involves developing leaders and managers to be their best versions of themselves so the get the best possible outcomes from their people, for their business - so delegation is kind of topical, because it's what effective managers "do".

However, in my experience, it is easier said than done and I will admit to finding it a pretty significant challenge to do myself. This challenge presents itself in many ways for different people - and it does all boil down in the end to our individual self concept and latent fears about not being in control, consequences of mistakes or failure, not trusting ourselves to trust others and a personal cocktail of stuff that gets in the being aware of some of those limitations is  helpful, but may not always be necessary.

I think that we could make it easier by recognising that delegation - like so many management and leadership concepts - is contextual. It depends strongly on what it is that needs to be delegated, by who, to who and with what constraints and resources.

You can't take a photograph of delegation or, as Colin Blundell, my first and much loved NLP and Enneagram Teacher would say "you can't put it in a wheelbarrow". Therefore it is an abstract concept and worthy of a bit of deconstruction and identification of some of the moving parts to make it work for me.

Firstly it is important to understand that you can delegate the responsibility for a task or project, but that is not the same as accountability. As the manager, you retain the accountability but lots of people might be responsible. In fact, with responsibility, the more it can be shared, the better in many situations.

Secondly, I find the Nine Levels of Delegation a timeless gift from Sir Tim Brighouse, who as part of a stellar education contribution was Schools Commissioner for London 2002 - 2007.

Image result for sir tim brighouseHis premise is to consider delegation as a series of choices - or in my mind, strength of flavours.

My process when delegating is to ladder up and down these 9 choices until I find the one that is comfortable for the situation, and then share this with the person, or people, to whom I am giving responsibility:

1. Look into this problem. Give me all the facts. I will decide what to do. 

2. Let me know the options available, with the pros and cons of each. I will decide what to select. 

3. Let me know the criteria for your recommendation, which alternatives you have identified and which one appears best to you, with any risk identified. I will make the decision. 

4. Recommend a course of action for my approval. 

5. Let me know what you intend to do. Delay action until I approve. 

6. Let me know what you intend to do. Do it unless I say not to. 

7. Take action. Let me know what you did. Let me know how it turns out. 

8. Take action. Communicate with me only if action is unsuccessful. 

9. Take action. No further communication with me is necessary.

Having agreed this, as another of my heroes, Will Schutz would say as a basic tenet of The Human Element "everyone is responsible and no-one is to blame" - but that's for another blog...

So think about it - how happy are you to delegate now?

Monday, 16 October 2017

My Blog: Leadership or Management?

My Blog: Leadership or Management?: It's an important question, so pause for a moment to consider the difference and how you would answer. I spend a large proportion...

Leadership or Management?

It's an important question, so pause for a moment to consider the difference and how you would answer.

I spend a large proportion of my working life with my coaching and training sleeves rolled up on the truly joyful practical task of developing individual leaders, leadership teams and organisation leadership strategies. I have also devoted years of my academic life researching leader and leadership development, finally creating a PhD thesis on the subject and I LOVE it! If there was such a tribe as the Leadership Nerds, I'd be wanting to lead it!

However, I also spend time training managers and engaged in management development and I love that too, but I see them as completely different and separate skill sets.

Currently, I think that the management concept is getting a bit bullied and beaten up by the leadership ideology and don't understand the need to keep comparing and contrasting them in the simplistic way portrayed by those clever info graphics where the main message is that leadership is good and management (or the boss) is either less desirable or down right bad.

Image result for animal farm four legs good two legs badI saw one the other day where it described the leader as inspiring and the boss as inspiring fear - really?!

To me, that's just similar to an Orwellian framing of one of Snowball's Seven Commandments of Animalism "four legs good, two legs bad" that the sheep are encouraged to bleat throughout Animal Farm.

At best, most seem to imply that leadership is a higher form than management. Better, more desirable and that leadership is some sort of outcome from developing managers. I strongly disagree and here are my reasons why:

In our increasingly uncertain and complex world, commercial enterprise needs managing more than ever and businesses of all shapes and sizes tend to employ managers for 2 very simple reasons:

1) To protect the assets
2) To balance the income and expenditure

Of course both these important activities are contextual and have varying levels of appropriateness, but stripped down to its vest and pants - that's the job most of us in the management profession are paid to do. And if you are a manager and you aren't aware of this, then go (PDQ) and check your job description because sure as eggs are eggs, (to continue the farm theme)  whoever is paying you will have that notion lodged firmly in their expectation set.

If you aren't fulfilling those two functions adequately in a hospitality business, which is where most of my beans get counted, then it is irrelevant if you are the most personally aware, emotionally intelligent person on the planet with the coveted leadership ability to display your vulnerability to all - you'll soon be leading the way to the unemployment queue if you aren't fulfilling the basic management requirements of your role.

So I feel a need to establish some clarity on this because management is an important profession and managers need to be paying attention to their professional practice in just the same way as practitioners in other professional groups do - or should be doing.

Management practice is something to be proud of and the role has a clear set of responsibilities that define it.  Leadership also has defining and desired role characteristics but they are different, separate skill, knowledge and behaviour outputs. Just like tomatoes and oranges. They are both fruits, but you would only put one of them in your fruit salad.

Or - to return to the farm theme - don't keep cows if you want to sell eggs.

"Manager" is an organisational title that, by definition comes with a responsibility for managing certain specified things and certain specified people, or groups of people within your span of control. These "things" are your responsibilities and the people are your direct reports. They are contractually obligated to their employing organisation and its management in whatever form that contract exists. There is usually a reporting line and organisation structure. To not do as you ask as their manager, within reason, is to risk frustrating their contractual obligations. Simple as that.

 Managing well requires skills in planning, organising, directing, controlling and a whole load of un-sexy every-day stuff to maintain the status-quo, topped off with a layer of need to innovate, manage change, solve problems, think creatively and yada yada yada....

To sub-grade these skills is to do all managers an injustice. Management, managers, bosses - call them what you will - are vital for your business. These skills can, and should be, developed, trained, taught and then transferred and practiced proudly.

In contrast, a leader has followers and the key difference is that following is a voluntary activity. It involves discretionary effort and hospitality businesses rely heavily on the discretionary effort of its lovely people. If you are unconvinced about this, consider how much of your operational success is achieved by people doing what they are paid to do?  I bet your best Trip Advisor comments are as a result of people doing more than they are paid to do - going the extra mile, being super helpful, going out of their way and employing more than a smidgeon of discretionary effort.

Another word for it is engagement. As an attitude and precursor to behaviour, you can't buy it, you can't contract it and it's darn near impossible to train  so you need great leadership to inspire great followership.

Leaders are not born and can be made (hoorah). There's a process involved and certain key behaviours that can be learned and developed. But it's the clear separation or skill sets that matters and in my opinion, belief and experience, it is a balance and synthesis of the two practices that gets the best results - and it's not rocket science!

In my beloved hotel and hospitality sector, the two roles of manager and leader are so intertwined and vital that it is sometimes a challenge to separate them. However, they are different and I think it is important that they are nurtured and developed as discrete and equally important skill sets.

There is a distinct difference between management development and leader development - and there should be. Furthermore, developers like me should jolly well know the difference and be able to articulate it clearly. How else can we be trusted to develop the right things in the right people in the right way and at the right time?

I'm not publishing a "down with leadership" idea here - but more of an "up with management" one, because I think it might be necessary to right the current balance. 

Am I the only one?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mentoring and the Master Innholders.

So towards the end of 2016, we had a meeting with the some of the marvelous MIALD Alumni, generously supported by the Apex City of London with Aliaks Jos and Oliver Raggett.

We chose Mentoring because it is topical as we are trying to successfully grow our mentoring network within the Master Innholders' family.

The grand plan is to build a cascade from "top down" with Master Innholders mentoring St. Julian's Scholars and then St.Julian's Scholars mentoring the MIALD Alumni once their programme finishes.

The outgoing MIALD cohort also buddies up with the new cohort each year, so currently the much-missed folk from Cohort 5 are doing sterling work with supporting The Sixy Ones in Cohort 6 who have just started their programme for the year.

On April 20th at the St. Julian's Scholars' Spring Meeting, we will be discussing the process of creating a more formalised Mentoring programme between them and the MIALD graduates. (I rather like MI-Mentor as a potential name for it!)

So the purpose of this particular blog is to share everything that we did on that day in the Autumn in the hope that it will provide a good framework for the future. It might also just be useful for people who are considering mentoring in general...

Shopping List for the Day
As a starting point, we got together and pooled ideas for what we wanted to know about mentoring. Huddled in familiar fashion around various flipcharts, the outputs included:

  • What it is exactly - and how to be involved
  • How to do it and be successful
  • Formal versus informal 
  • Benchmarking - so what does good look like?
  • How to choose the best fit
  • What are the boundaries and how to set them?
  • How to define the purpose
  • How to find a mentor
  • How to squeeze the juice from the process and get the maximum benefit.
From the shopping list we created a menu for our day including:
  • What is mentoring?- and what it isn't
  • Why do it and what benefits are there to be gained?
  • How to do it really well
  • Being a successful mentor and mentee
The origin of mentoring is from Homer's Odyssey which tells the tale of Odysseus, King of Ithaca who sets off to fight in the Trojan Wars and entrusts the care of his entire household, including his son Telemachus, to Mentor. So from this story, the word has evolved to mean trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person.

For further definitions we can use:

Mentoring is a supportive learning relationship between a caring individual who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with another individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange, to enrich their professional journey. Suzanne Faure

Mentoring involves primarily listening with empathy, sharing experience (usually mutually), professional friendship, developing insight through reflection, being a sounding board, encouraging. David Clutterbuck

or closer to home... A powerful process in which a more skilled and experienced person serving as a role model advises and encourage a less skilled and less experienced person. The purpose is to help the mentee realise their full potential and achieve their career aspirations.
Harry Murray in The Caterer, August 19 2016; p26.

So it is helpful to consider that there are different forms of mentoring and that it can be formal or informal. 

Either can work and be extremely effective - it is important to be clear about the purpose...

..and what are the benefits? 

More huddling round a flipchart produced:

Benefits for Mentees:
Gain knowledge and experiences
Find your own potential
Self confidence
Safe environment
Progression and development
Increased drive

and for the Mentor:
Coming full circle and putting something back
Satisfaction - knowing we are helping someone else
Gaining new perspectives and ideas
Business benefits - a whole range for the business and for the industry in general
Confidence building
Increased self awareness 

And while we are exploring...exactly what is the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Skills and Attitudes of the Mentee:
Being open to feedback
Being open and honest
Listening and patience
Driven and wanting to develop
Participative and open to advice

And for the Mentor....

So now we have established what it is and isn't, Part 2 will follow on with some hints and tips we developed for making sure that mentoring is a success, gains all the benefits for both parties and avoids the disadvantages.

PS - If you missed that Alumni gathering, then keep an eye on your in-box because we've another one hatching for May 22nd...

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders New Cohort - so who are the Sixy Ones?

MIALD Cohort 6 at Pennyhill Park. Monday 3rd April 2017
The new cohort for the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Diploma got off to a great start at the weekend, elegantly hosted by Danny Pecorelli and Julian Tomlin at the glorious Exclusive Hotels' Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey.

As Cohort 6 of this amazing experience, they are truly Sixy! Selected from a considerable number of applicants and succeeding through a rigorous interview process at Innholders Hall, they are to be congratulated on gaining their place and their sponsorship from their own employers and generous funding from the Master Innholders for the next year on the programme.

They are:
  1. Magdalena Bissor, In Room Dining & Executive Lounge Manager, Hilton London Bankside
  2. Jonathan Hewitt, Banqueting Floor Manager, Grosvenor House,
  3. Santa Marino, Front Desk Supervisor, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 
  4. Andrew Muir, Guest Experience Manager, 41 Hotel, Red Carnation Hotels, 
  5. Ronald Rosario, Restaurant Manager, Outlaws at the Capital Hotel
  6. Craig Browne, Front Desk Manager, The Goodwood Hotel
  7. Rupert Dickinson, Guest Relations Manager, Belmond Le Manior aux Quat'saisons
  8. Mark Down, Assistant Hotel Manager, Deer Park Country House Hotel
  9. Alexandra Jenkinson, Head Receptionist, Cliveden House Hotel
  10. Attia Abu Khalil, Food & Beverage Manager, Fairlawns Hotel and Spa,
  11. Adam Lawson, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager, Danesfield House,
  12. Damien Martin, Operations Manager, The Abbey Hotel, Bath,
  13. Victoria Neilson, C&B Manager, Lainston House 
  14. Raul Deflorian, Front Office Manager, 45, Park Lane
  15. William Osborne, Bar Manager, Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa
  16. Katy Pasternakiewicz, Reception Manager, The Vineyard
  17. Kelly Patten, General Manager, The Greyhound on the Test
  18. Laura Scott, Restaurant Manager, Pennyhill Park
 We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and settling in to the programme. For the next year we will explore hotel management through a variety of lenses and experience a wide and varied range of hosting properties.      

For this block we focused on personal and professional development and became more closely connected to our own industry organisations so that they can support us, and we can support them  in line with career development. As a result of their own research and presentations, any one of the Sixy Ones can now talk you through the work and purpose of: The British Hospitality Association, The Institute of Hospitality, People 1st, Springboard, Hospitality Action and The Master Innholders - including knowing who St. Julian was and why he is our Patron Saint!

It wasn't all hard work though and we had time to sample various gins before sitting down to a fabulously crafted dinner with wine pairings in the evening.

The next block is at the Novotel in Hammersmith in May, generously hosted by Michael Sloan and his team.          

I hope the Sixy Ones are looking forward to it as much as I am!