IoH Member Sara Ballinger, Co-Founder & Principal Consultant at Blooming Talent, shares her thoughts on how re-opening should be viewed as a pre-opening opportunity and identifies key points to consider.
There has long been a tradition in many cultures to undertake a deep clean or ‘spring clean’ as a marker of a re-awakening after a period of metaphorical slumber or to welcome a new phase in the calendar. Examples include spring cleaning after the Passover in March or April for the Jewish community, cleaning the church altar the day before Good Friday for Catholics, cleaning house for a week leading up to Lent for members of the Greek Orthodox church. Often this falls in March or April.
In Iran, the holiday Nowruz, or Persian New Year, coincides with the first day of spring. The 13-day celebration traditionally involves cleaning (or “shaking the house”), and for those of the Muslim faith the period before Ramadan often includes a deep clean in preparation for the holy month of fasting.
There is a sense of optimism with these key moments in our calendar which mark renewal and change and with hope of a recovery from this global crisis I want to share some tips for spring cleaning our strategies as we begin to bloom into re-opening.
Here’s a quote from Mrs Beeton’s book of household management: “…[i]t is usual to begin at the top of the house and clean downwards…”
In other words, start at the top. When we are working with our hospitality clients our programmes always begin with the leadership team.
Think about your vision, mission, values and goals. Are they still relevant, current and inspiring for you and your senior team? How about investing in your team’s leadership skills development, particularly in light of the challenges presented to everyone in the industry as a result of Covid 19. It is a great way to re-set expectations and to start again with fresh perspectives.
Think about this re-opening as a ‘pre-opening’ opportunity. As a senior team, make a plan for a ‘windows wide open’ fresh start to step into the future.
Here are some top tips as a framework to develop your ‘Spring Cleaning’ strategy.
1. Start with ‘Why’ – Refresh your purpose, re-connect with why you do what you do. Everything else hangs off this and many of our clients make this a whole team activity at the pre-opening team-building event and create something visual to remind them of what they agreed together.
2. Review your supplier relationships. Are they the best on the market for your needs? Are they priced appropriately, and do they deliver ROI? Could shopping around make a difference to the bottom line? It’s amazing how much we lose through small drips financially because we stick with legacy suppliers for convenience, and this is a great time to tighten those washers!
3. Refresh your focus and priorities. Think about where you need to be spending your time and energy. Are you focused on the things that matter and that create magical moments for your guests and customers?
4. Get rid of physical clutter. Just as if you were spring cleaning your home, start getting rid of the things that just collect dust. Spring clean all your spaces, get into those cupboards and see what treasures you might uncover in the housekeeping stores. How might you re-use or re-cycle them as a way to save money and to inspire innovation!
5. Wardrobe make-over. Are you representing yourself and your business in the right way as aligned with your brand? Does your staff uniform look as if it has been stashed in a cardboard box for months or is it pin sharp and a true reflection of the culture and personality of your business?
6. New ideas, better processes? Make innovation and improvement sessions part of the new normal – what we have learnt through this pandemic is that we can pivot like a ballerina! Why lose that incredible skill, let’s keep doing it and finding ways to keep what we deliver to our customers and guests fresh and exciting.
7. Reflect on this past year. What have you learnt? Now decide what you are going to STOP doing because you have discovered it does not serve you, what are you going to CONTINUE doing because it’s working really well? What are you going to START doing in order to make this next year the best so far?
8. Culture de-clutter. How is the culture in your business? Are they areas you should change? For example, are you a business with a coaching culture that needs to recognise the need for more direction, or stuck in hierarchical habits and recognising that it is time to develop a more empowering culture? Are you parenting your teams rather than allowing them to bloom into their own potential?
9. Wellbeing, mental and physical. The biggest lesson of all. What can you do to ensure that you, and the people you work with are taking care of themselves and each other? We have demonstrated enormous resilience throughout these troubled times and many businesses are making sure that their L&D strategies and their HR teams have robust and considered programmes in place to continue to support their teams as we get back to work.
10. Rediscover your talent – get together for a professionally organised p/re-opening team building event. Re-connect and remind everyone of your mission, vision and values. Engage in activities which encourage self-awareness, communication and a ‘one-team’ mentality. Take the opportunity to refresh skills and highlight where your team’s talents lie so that you can make sure everyone is where they ought to be. Get in touch for ideas as to how to make this work for you, remember team building and team bonding are not the same thing and will deliver different results.
These are just a few things that you can start to work on right now, ahead of re-opening and in time for you to welcome your customers and guests back again.
It’s so tempting to get stuck into the practical and the operational tasks without preamble and yet experience has shown time and again that those who take the time to sharpen their saw will always get further faster. An investment of time now for huge savings later.
The very best of luck to you as we re-enter our world of service and the creation of exceptional experiences and memories for our guests and customers.
Connect with Sara Ballinger on LinkedIn.