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Business in a Fast-Changing Industry: “The Art and The Science”

publication date: Mar 13, 2012
author/source: Conor Kenny, Guest Columnist @ HospitalityEducators.com

Columnist Conor Kenny from Conor Kenny and Associates asks you to reconsider your approach to business in this fast-changing industry. Are you really keeping up?

Put very simply, there are 2 fundamental kinds of people in business. There are the ‘ideas’ people and there are the ‘implementers’ … if you like, thinkers and doers.

Most, if not all of us, fit in to one or other category. Both are necessary.

One of the most common comments I hear when working with groups of hoteliers is “I think”. With well facilitated brainstorming, it can quickly become the most common call. It’s useful but it is also dangerous. My thoughts are just that – thoughts. Thoughts need to fly in to action to have any substance. But beware, before thoughts take off they need to be grounded.

Let’s revisit that old “I think” chestnut, let’s change our process from “I think” to “I know”. In other words, ‘the art and the science’.

The Art and the Science

Enough has been written about doom, gloom and recessions. In many ways it just confirms illness but isn’t a great tonic for the future. We need to move on. Business and life are simply cycles. It’s the ebb and flow of business. However, it would be foolish not to learn from the deepest recesses of recession. The “old days” are gone, let’s look forward, upwards and to cheerful new horizons.

In boom times it is easy to lounge on the sofa, watch mindless TV, eat too much and take no exercise “sure isn’t the money flowing in?”

In difficult hours, we need to be agile, slim, fit and careful.

The ‘good old days’ are gone, there is a new world, a new order and a new customer. That is where the focus needs to be and that means rethinking old skills.

The Ever-Changing Customer

First, how has the customer changed? Technology has made you more transparent, comment cards have been replaced by everything online. Individuals have formed online tribes and created power. You need to engage, be part of and share. Marketing needs reimagining, not everyone’s, yours.

Employees have changed. Insecurity has become the norm (but actors knew that years ago). Customers will research, challenge, report and hit the soap box at Speakers Corner.

Need I go on about ‘change’?

So if everything has changed, don’t you need to also? You may have a hotel that’s 100 years old but think back over those years? Letters to email, Telex to Fax, Payphones to mobiles, Customers who left, customers who came. The list of ‘change’ goes on.

The automobile industry are probably better at this than anyone. Take Ford as an example. They started out with one model, the Model T. It came in every colour so long as you wanted black. Now look at where they are today?

It might be called a Ford Focus but how many improvements, rethinks and imagining have been done over the various models? It is constant evolution and, excuse the pun, they never take their foot off the pedal. Why do they change? Because they want to give the customer more of what they want and that is based on fact, evidence, listening and research.

Rethink “I Think”

In our fast moving and evolving world you need to rethink, reimagine, revisit, rebuild and reflect.

“I think” is fine so long as you can back it up with science. It’s easy to dodge the dreary but successful companies don’t.

You can bury your head in the sand and utter those immortal words “I always go with just my instincts” or you can be very clever and go with your instinct as well as finding out the facts, the track record and the statistics.

That’s why really successful companies always marry the art with the science.

Isn’t it time we researched why they are successful?

By Conor Kenny

About Conor Kenny and Associates: Conor Kenny and Associates are experts in sales, marketing, sales training and people development. They help you to get the most out of your people and your business. As skilled marketing consultants and experienced experts in innovation, sales, marketing and communications, they know that you and your people have skills too. Companies don’t innovate. People do.

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