IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THE BUSINESS.
One of my ‘Linked In’ (an on-line network for business folk) attributes is Business Development, so it won’t come as a surprise that after all the years I have spent encouraging, helping to launch, and develop young businesses, I might feel a bit knowledgeable about this field.
However, I am aware that (although I am a still a bright young thing!?) there are certain areas in which I require the assistance of a Young Person. This means that I need to spend time listening (with a capital ‘L’) as well as spouting what I like to think of as wisdom … and you have no idea now difficult that is for me!
A recent stay in a lovely little hotel in Cornwall provided a stark reminder of the importance of listening and being ready to take the advice of one’s own team of workers. I shall explain …
This hotel was a small manor house, beautifully decorated and located in a quiet spot with lovely views. The staff were charming, the food was very good and yet during the week we spent there, we were, barring one night, the only guests. At the driveway entrance, there was an ugly hand written whiteboard, offering a deal on coffee and hot cross buns, which seemed out of keeping with the three tier cake stand afternoon tea we had seen being served.
Being a person who cannot resist a chat, as well as an inveterate nosey parker, I discovered from the staff that they all had ideas – some of which were very good ideas – about how to develop the business. I also discovered that they were deeply frustrated at the slowness of business which they felt could be improved with relatively little effort. It quickly became apparent that the owners were wealthy enough to treat the hotel as something of a hobby, and that they were extremely protective of it. Consequently, staff were discouraged from implementing any changes, and the hotel, whilst having some busy periods, continued with a lot of quiet times.
I could feel the frustration of the staff and wondered how long they would stick with it. If I had been in their position, I am sure I would have been looking for a position where my interest and enthusiasm were valued and not blocked.
It isn’t a good thing for we seniors to turn a deaf ear to ideas that come from the next generation. The business world is moving on and, while it may be a difficult pill to swallow, we can really benefit from the knowledge of the younger generation.
If we don’t listen to them, there’s a distinct possibility that our businesses will be preserved in aspic, and what will that do to their futures?