As fast as the world and our lives move these days, it’s difficult to pay much attention to something that isn’t instantly clear in terms of its value proposition. And it’s a tall order for someone to request we play along with what may at first seem like rhetorical questions or minutes that might be wasted on something that doesn’t have a clear and immediate payoff.
If you will indulge this for a few minutes, I hope and trust you will find it was worth the time of all involved (even to the point of you wanting others to be included and involved as well).
So, a few questions to start warming the oven… and please give a couple seconds of thought on each:
Who most impacted your life this year? How? Why? How did it make you feel? How do you think it made them feel?
When you reflect on the questions above, please take time to imagine the faces, places, feelings, and the circumstances that put you both in the shared space needed to give this experience a clearing to become possible.
Who and what did you see? How does it make you feel now, reflecting back on it?
Now — and I know these are a lot of questions already, so I appreciate you holding with me through this process — ask yourself this:
Whose life did you most impact? What contribution did you make to someone else this year that set a new bar for you and your expectations of yourself and your ability and aptitude to render a truly WOW experience that was kind, gracious, daring, and selfless?
Do you have these circumstances pulled up in your mind? Great! You’re in the right headspace for what’s coming next.
1. Lead by Serving
This first video is a television commercial for a bank in Thailand — and it was certainly created with the intent to pull at one’s heart strings. However, it is also certainly moving and worth the time to remind restaurant executives ascribed to servient leadership that the road is often long and thankless for all committed to contributing in a meaningful way. It’s not about small and short-term payoffs. It’s about setting an example that eventually wins not only hearts and minds but also makes a difference that lasts in a company or community and ripples out far wider than may be imagined when putting in the hard work day to day.
2. We Are All Connected
There’s always plenty of both good and bad going on around the world — some markets are up or down, certain categories are performing stronger than others, and there are always plenty of demands. By being proactive and realizing the things within our world and industry that are challenging, great leaders ask of great minds, “What’s wrong?” And, more importantly, “What can we do about it?” The creators of the video below did just that.
What they discovered, through conversations with scientists, philosophers, and spiritual leaders, is that we’re more interconnected than it may seem. The decisions leaders make impact the people in their organizations, the guests and communities they serve, their competitors — and the whole human race. What can’t we accomplish with such power?
3. The Power of Recognition
One of the great restaurant leaders to herald for accomplishments and contributions to the industry is David Novak (former CEO of Yum!, serving from 1999 to 2016). In 2016, he released a book called O Great One! that highlights the great power in recognition — and what it means for those in your downstream. The butterfly effect of recognizing individuals within an organization also carries through to the guests those employees are interacting with. Imagine the power of this sentiment carrying through your organization.
For us in the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday is when we pause each year to reflect on who has made the most meaningful and important contributions to our lives. What may seem small at the time can be of great significance to others. In the spirit of the season, here are some of the things, people, and experiences we’re most thankful for in 2018.
Our Community on LinkedIn
We’re very grateful, honored, and excited to have been included in LinkedIn’s Top Voices for 2018. The editors have named us the most important voice in the global foodservice industry on the world’s largest professional networking platform. We’re grateful to both the editors and to you for engaging in the content.
Our Experiences in MENA
November 2018 also marks 10 years to the month of our firm being active in MENA. Among the many things we’ve learned in that time is just how generous and kind the people are. We recently traveled to Dubai to host executive leadership of some of the most recognized industry contributors in the region. It was an opportunity to acknowledge appreciation to clients and admiration to industry leaders. It was also an opportunity to express gratitude for the many expressions of kindness that many in the room helped create or shape.
Every year, we count ourselves lucky that we work in an industry that holds the values of care, compassion, empathy and trust in such high regard. We’re grateful that our passion and profession are one and the same and that we spend our time amplifying the work of inspiring leaders who are moving their organizations and the industry in exciting and powerful new directions.
These honors and experiences fill us with gratitude and humility. We know that we’ll carry them with us for the rest of our lives and that they will motivate us to create such powerful feelings of appreciation in everyone we encounter. We hope that you, too, take this moment to pause, reflect, and recognize the people and events that have had a positive impact on your life this year. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Aaron Allen & Associates.
About Aaron Allen & Associates
Aaron Allen & Associates works alongside senior executives of the world’s leading foodservice and hospitality companies to help them solve their most complex challenges and achieve their most ambitious aims. Our clients span six continents and 100+ countries, collectively posting more than $200b in revenue. Across 2,000+ engagements, we’ve worked in nearly every geography, category, cuisine, segment, operating model, ownership type, and phase of the business life cycle.
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Empathetic listening is the most important skill for your front line employees to master. It’s more than simply hearing a guest’s complaints and acting according