Partnership IS the New Leadership

March 10, 2015 | 2111 Views

Partnership IS the New Leadership

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

At CHART’s 86th Hospitality Training Conference, which took place in the summer in 2013 in Miami, we were extremely fortunate to have Ty Bennett serve as our closing keynote speaker. Ty’s topic then was, “The Power of Influence,” and attendees began raving about him before he had even left the stage. Many touted him as the best speaker we had ever had at CHART, and he eventually received the highest scores ever for one of our keynotes on our  post-conference survey.

Because Ty’s message and presentation style clearly resonated with the audience, we obviously wanted to invite him back. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long, as he graciously agreed to speak at CHART’s 89th Hospitality Training Conference which took place in Napa last month.

This time Ty was our opening speaker, and on that Sunday morning he delivered a presentation titled “Partnership is the New Leadership.”  During his hour-long talk, he stressed that leaders can no longer rely on the traditional command-and-control style to achieve commitment from others inside their organization because titles and positions are no longer as important in this new economy as engaging and collaborating with your team. In today’s world, it’s the value that you bring to the table that gives you the right to be heard, not necessarily your title, and partnership-based leadership will ultimately increase your value (and the value of your company) because of the genuine connections and natural accountability it can establish at your workplace.

I don’t think any message could have been more on target for CHART members these days. For many years, training departments were often seen by their organizations as expense lines on the P&L that spent the money made by operations on items such as laminated sheets and binders, and the expertise of these trainers was sought out only when a new class was deemed necessary or when a new location opened.

In a post-recession world, however, where every team is being asked to do more with less, trainers must change that viewpoint so that we can demonstrate our value to our organizations, be taken seriously by c-suite executives, and survive the next round of budget cuts. We need to identify opportunities that will allow us to connect and collaborate with different departments, analyze their performance gaps, and provide solutions that will improve productivity and efficiency. It’s important that we show that we can be proactive instead of reactive, and also seek out avenues to partner with operators to create a vision of our companies’ future that will allow our hotels and restaurants to become bigger, faster, stronger, and greater than the competition.

Partnership-based leadership is definitely the avenue that can help us achieve those goals. CHART members can be visionary trainers who transform the cultures of our hospitality organizations and help lead them into the future, even if we don’t have the same level of authority as company presidents and CEOs, as long we act more like the Arthur T in Ty’s Market Basket story and always remember that people are not committed to jobs or companies, but rather to other people.

This originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of CHART's FlipCHART newsletter.

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