From Dishwasher to CEO and Candy Striper to Surgeon

August 04, 2016 | 3152 Views

From Dishwasher to CEO and Candy Striper to Surgeon

Cindy Bates, PHR, CHT

Director of Training | The Common Man Family Restaurants

At each of the sixteen CHART conferences I have attended, I have always brought back several nuggets of great information to implement at our company in NH. Ideas which make us stronger or more efficient. Ah-ha moments where a light will shine on how this idea can work for our team, and help us to achieve that WOW experience for our guests. Recently, while I was at a conference I had a profound revelation while listening to our speaker. That day, Patrick Doyle, CEO of Dominos, and CHART’s Commitment to People Award winner for 2015, spoke about the obligation we all have as senior leaders in this business to foster growth for the next generations to come. The hospitality business is one of the last industries which provides unlimited vertical growth; where you can start as a dishwasher or host, and work your way to the top and become CEO or Vice President.

Imagine if you wanted to be a doctor, and you started your quest as a candy striper handing out magazines. No matter how hard you work, or how often you raised your hand and said ‘yes I can,’ you would not be rewarded by the opportunity to operate on a patient. If you dream of being a lawyer and start as a clerk, no matter how hard you work, without the proper schooling, you won’t be in a courtroom trying a case.

In the hospitality industry, you have this opportunity to advance from an entry level position to the c-suite assuming you are armed with a passion for hospitality, willing to exert some sweat equity, and have a strong desire to grow. Not every one of our entry-level employees will follow the path to CEO, but it is our job to watch for the signs of that one that just might. While I have always known this at some level, Patrick Doyle reminded me of this concept and renewed my energy to find that individual who is in need of that little extra mentoring to believe in themselves and a future in serving others at a higher level. He reminded me to listen…really listen when someone needs my opinion. He reminded me to be patient and kind when new employees are learning. His talk reminded that we all started at the ground level and that it is our duty to help nurture those with passion and develop them to become future leaders so we can rest assured we are leaving this industry in the right hands.

Here are some things we can all do to help foster an environment of vertical growth.

  1. Develop a mentor program where specific individuals are paired with new employees to nurture them along the way and encourage them to try things outside their comfort zone. 
  2. Define a clear path for growth. Does each employee know the requirements to get to the next level?
  3. Give honest and clear feedback about an employee’s strengths and opportunities. No one grows without a little tough and honest direction and even the best and brightest need a little push now and again.

Think about how clear that path is in your organization and how you and your team can make that path more desirable to follow. Upward and onward!

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