He believes that, in a growing industry like hospitality, too few of its leaders are grasping the opportunity to change its image for the benefit of their own organisations. They should spend more time looking outside their businesses and appreciate the impact that they can play in the wider society – as, topically, Steve Jobs did so effectively with Apple.
This requires leaders to consider how they can contribute to national issues such as unemployment, social mobility and the development of women in the workplace. It is particularly disappointing that, with women making up 70% of our workforce at entry level, too few rise to senior leadership positions. Hospitality is crying out for more female role models.
Whilst there are notable examples of large companies recognising national issues: such as Sodexo addressing diversity in employment; and McDonalds’s educational programmes, too few organisations are enjoying the benefits that can accrue by connecting their organisations to issues people care about in the wider society.
Not only does doing so raise the profile of their business and its people, it can also significantly reinforce brand identity in a market place where hospitality is not always seen as a respected employer. Moreover, similar benefits can be realised by smaller companies that engage with their local community by, for example, adopting a local charity or working with their Chamber of Commerce.
Brian concluded by suggesting that, in his experience, great leaders have an intellectual curiosity – they take an interest in the world around their organisations and actively seek ways of making a connection between the two.
For further information, visit: the Hospitality Leadership blog.