Monday, May 18, 2009

Riding the waves : Meyer on Management

Most of the management books I read generally provide good generic management tips and tricks that may be useful one day, but I have just read one which really struck a cord:
Setting the Table : The transforming power of hospitality in business by Danny Meyer. 2006. isbn: 9780060742751

While it is unashamedly about the restaurant trade, it has some great stuff for public librarians. More for me (so I won't forget) rather than any other audience, I have listed below the key points I took from the book - but it is well worth reading in its entirety!

On Hospitality
Hospitality is present when something happens for you - is absent when something happens to you. Libraries are about hospitality too.

Service is the technical delivery of a product or service, hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes a recipient feel. Service is about monologues, hospitality is about dialogue.

We need to be agents for the customer not gatekeepers for the organisation.

Task = quality = 49% and feeling = warmth = 51%.

Values of 51%ers:
  • Have an optimistic warmth.
  • Intelligent in a curiosity to learn way.
  • Excellence reflex: a natural tendency to do something as well as can be
  • Empathy: caring about how others feel
  • Integrity: natural inclination to be held accountable and to do the right thing with honesty and judgement.
The other 49% task / process / skill can be taught - the 51% can't. Hire 51%ers

Looking under rocks
Find out whats happening in the place by joining bits of information together, found by looking under rocks to see whats lying underneath.

Defining your core
The importance of identifying, defining and defending your core values through constant, gentle pressure.

Managing People
Treat your staff as if they were volunteers; they could have chosen someone else to work for but they chose you! Really relevant given our high dependency on volunteers in Horowhenua.

Talk. People will hop over ripples if they know they are coming and are prepared, its the unexpectness that knocks frogs of lily pads not the ripples themselves.

5 stakeholders in enlightened hospitality: employees (yes first), guests, community, suppliers then investors. Clients can tell if staff are happy, and that sense of goodwill prermeates the place giving soul (another Meyer-ism).

Surround yourself with ambassadors: you can't do everything yourself so grow the team, identify the talent, surround yourself with people who you trust to make good judgement calls in line with your core values.

On mistakes
Surfers not servers (I love this analogy!) Surfers love taking on the big waves and they know they may well crash and burn, but they get up and on. Mistakes are like waves: the skill is in how you ride it.

As for correcting mistakes: write the last chapter in the whole sorry saga - and make it good!

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