A much revered chain of restaurants, still being managed by its founders, were worried about the levels of staff turnover that they thought were at least partly the result of a rather procedural, dry, sometimes harsh style of conversations that managers were having with their staff.
The restaurant trade is well known for the pressures it inflicts upon staff and leaders 'front-of-house', let alone those working in the kitchens to produce the meals.
This chain were no exception although through our initial interviews with a variety of people around the group, that pockets of amazing, human and authentic leadership already existed in many of the restaurants, at all levels of the hierarchy.
We suggested to Managing Director and the Head of Learning at the outset that it would be much more fruitful, and faithful to the brand, to avoid importing a template for leadership in favour of uncovering their own in-house ways of leading before then finding ways to spread it amongst the wider leadership group.
Within three months we had helped the organisation devise it’s very own set of leadership beliefs and had begun to run experiential workshops to draw out individuals’ own passion for leadership.
Many of the staff we worked with were unused to being coached instead of trained and at times reported feeling puzzled and even frustrated that they were not being told the answers to the issues but were being encouraged to apply their own leadership beliefs and personal values.
This iconic London chain of restaurants is growing quickly whilst their competitors are shrinking or disappearing. They have recently appointed a Head of management development to move forwards what we began.