“May you have a strong foundation for when those winds of change shift”… Bob Dylan
Along the way, I have learned a few lessons in life, especially on embracing change--Change before change changes you, keep evolving or you soon, will be dissolving.
In the next six months, we will be opening two new locations; one in December, the other in early Spring 2014. While this exciting news will provide great opportunities for my team and their professional growth, there are some who may view this change as a challenge, seeing this expansion as unwanted change, which in turn may cause some resistance.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned as we have changed and evolved…
Team Before Individual: The growth of the team always comes before the entitlement of one. Within your team, you are going to expect more, so be prepared to provide more. There may be some attrition within your team, as they may not want to be part of this new growth, wish them and their future employers well. Expect some internal team dynamic shifts, as you may be giving more responsibilities to your junior team and bypassing some of your seniors. Please think this through and educate your seniors as to why some may be sidelined. Accept this type of change as part of taking a few steps back to regroup, to then take one great leap forward. You need and want to surround yourself with a strong team that enjoys new challenges. A team that understands that raising the bar and providing a better experience is the ultimate goal.
Communication: Always crucial, especially when going through times of major change or growth. The unknown brings fear and stops your team from taking ownership. Work strongly with your department heads and encourage them to be open with their teams. Even the ones closest to you might show concern… listen to their questions, explain that we are in unchartered territory. Explain that mistakes will occur, which in hindsight will end up being valuable lessons. So it is not the screw ups, but how we learn and adjust from them, that will enable new growth. Embrace failure as part of your growth.
Keep the Brand Strong: As you grow and change, be careful to not dilute the brand. It is important that the team can “step it up” and maintain, or even better, enhance the level of the experience. Choose your new locations strategically so that you are not competing with yourself. For us, we are opening in new resort areas and high end hotels, new locations that will require different types of services and pricing from what we currently deliver. This means we will not directly be competing or diluting our brand, while instead hopefully expanding and strengthening the brand.