Too often when management discusses the team they have working for them, they focus on what isn't going right... What's not getting done. This is called "management by exception." The theory is that if management only needs to divert attention and resources to a situation when it isn't working - they can spend more of their time working on the other functions of management like guest satisfaction, business opportunity, and efficiencies in operations. In theory, this is a great idea and in project management, it is even considered best practices.
When management discusses the dream team of their imagination - too often they focus on what that team won't be doing as opposed to what they will be doing. They won't come to work late, they won't always ask why we do it that way, they will never call out sick, they won't have the audacity to ask for time off in December to visit family or go snowshoeing in Banff. Does any of this sound familiar?
The truth is there is no such thing as the perfect team. The talent entering the service sector today needs a whole new set of leadership tools and those who don't adapt to this will eventually be closed out of the shrinking labor force. It doesn't matter whether it is hospitality, retail, banking, health &wellness, or personal services. The new crop of entrants to our labor market is looking for more than just a job, more than a paycheck. They want to belong to something bigger than business, they need to be heard and valued. Never has a generation of potential new hires been so idealistic or so ready to commit. We just haven't changed our frequency for broadcasting success. It is like we are broadcasting on AM radio and our staff is often listening to FM radio, or more appropriately streaming Spotify.
In recovery and many of the healing professions you often hear the phrase; "progress, not perfection." (How I know this will be covered in another Post.) The idea focuses on making progress toward an agreed-upon goal. A common set of ideas and outcomes that have a broader array of results than just profit or loss. Don't get me wrong - profits are necessary to fuel the vision and growth that make for a healthy business ecosystem. The idea is that progress is the goal, not perfection. Are the guests happier this week than last, is the food executed with more speed and accuracy than last month, are more people coming to see us now than last year at this time?
As leaders in our chosen field, we must adapt to the needs of the workforce choosing to come with us on that journey. We must learn to articulate what success is and what part the team plays in reaching that success. We need to put our own filters aside and look at the world through the eyes of those who are voluntarily coming to work for us. We need to stop waiting for the Perfect Team to materialize and start working harder with the teams we have. We need to have a compelling vision for why working with us is a good - no - a great thing.
When we learn to broadcast or stream live - a vision that allows for our teams to make progress - we will truly see remarkable things.