In 2Q of 2011, we were brought by the owners of a 10 property hotel group in the Philippines with a mandate to mentor the next generation of family and streamline hotel operations.
By mid-November of the same year, we initiated a complete overhaul of a 25 year business by promoting, lateral moving and promoting younger blood - 25 souls into 10 properties with an effectivity date of mid-December. The group of hotels have total staff of nearly 800.
Certainly, there was overwhelming skepticism (albeit, in the shadows) but 6 months later (end of June 2012), year over year revenues had grown over 10%, regular payroll was lower than 2011 despite higher revenues; variable expenses were lower per transaction than previous year; morale was significantly happier and for the first time in 3 years, the vast majority of the 25, received their first merit increase.
A sub-story that gave the impotice to launch the massive disruption...
One of our larger properties is on an island - in Palawan and for quite a long while, Food & Beverage service was languishing. Revenue was poor, service standards inconsistent, morale middling and communication ineffective.
Through God's inspiration, we took a young, outstanding attitude talent with no experience in Food & Beverage and gave the the role.
The challenge was how to get Raquel equipped enough to be successful.
We then launched a program where Raquel would learning her job in Manila at our flagship hotel for one month. She had an intensive program where she learned F&B service, Banquet Service, F&B administration and kitchens from the people who would be flying to Palawan to train her new team in the systems she would be learning.
During the same period, our best and brightest from Manila would then spend a month in Palawan.
Four of our bright, young Manila team took turns in Palawan - each, training the F&B team in their respective areas of expertise - F&B service, Banquet Service, F&B administration and kitchens.
At the end of one month (December), Raquel returned to assume leadership of her new and freshly trained team.
In her first two weeks, the Palawan F&B team already exceeded any performance of many a previous year . Most notable improvements - morale, aggressive & innovative merchandising, teamwork and trust and a dramatically fun and one team - in attitude, practice and in spirit.
Raquel was promoted to head of operations in March and as testament to the, "Birds of a feather" perspective - a little known assistant Raquel brought on board with her in late December from another of the group properties proved to be a dynamo and was also promoted in March.
Moral of the story is that there has to be someone in a senior leadership role to discern, script and act of the better way ahead. The talent normally will not see or appreciate their potential so at times, the matchmaking/cajoing/nagging and setup have to be driven top-down.
Goes without saying that there have to be safety nets and one has to always have a good reading on the individual pulses of those in new roles.
It helped that my role for this was as the COO of the hotel group and we had faith and support from the CEO and the family.
A blessed and inspirational turn of events - talent rises to the top with the right servant leadership.