Blog article

Running a global hospitality business in a pandemic

Minor International is a hospitality industry powerhouse. Based in Bangkok, Minor operates more than 530 hotels in 56 countries, with a large presence in Asia (where it operates chains across the region, including the Anantara luxury hotel brand), Europe (where it runs the NH chain of hotels), and Africa. The company also owns brands in the well-being and lifestyle sectors and runs 2,300 restaurants. Founded in 1967 by American William Heinecke, who was then 17 years old (hence the name Minor), the company began as an advertising and cleaning business. A decade later, Minor began its journey into hospitality, opening a resort on the coast southeast of Bangkok, in Pattaya, that today is part of Minor’s Avani chain. In 2019, the company’s group revenues reached US$3.8 billion, with profits topping $343 million.

Then came COVID-19, and the hospitality industry, which traditionally accounts for 10 percent of global GDP,

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Use social design to help your distributed team self-organize

The corner office. The water cooler. The cubicle farm. So many of our place-based work clichés feel suddenly anachronistic in a world of remote work and Zoom fatigue. Many people will be happy never to return to the office, and some organizations will be OK with that. And as we navigate toward the new normal, it isn’t just where we work that will change — how people work together will evolve, too.

We’ve also redefined what it means to be an essential worker. Clerks, technicians, health aides, and others once dismissed as a low-skill, high-turnover segment of the workforce have now been recognized as being just as worthy of esteem, gratitude, and, in some cases, hazard pay, as doctors, nurses, and first responders. The bottom line is that employees at all levels of an organization matter.

Together, these two developments suggest we need to realign our organizations to

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COVID fatigue is real, but don’t let it disrupt your recovery plans

The COVID-19 crisis has now become, for better or for worse, “business as usual.” Despite the recent increase in cases in many parts of the world, the prospect of a vaccine becoming available in 2021 is quite rightly improving people’s outlook for the future. Over the last many months, we adjusted, cut costs, went remote, implemented new technology, bought sanitizer and masks, and reworked supply chains. And now we can start to make plans for a world that is not constrained by a pandemic.

One response we’ve noticed during the pandemic, however, is a new kind of corporate fatalism about future crises that we’d warn against. COVID-19 blindsided even many of those who thoughtfully engage in enterprise risk management (ERM). Their reaction: “What’s the point?” Much risk planning, the thinking goes, was irrelevant for COVID-19 and may continue to be in today’s uncertain world. Wouldn’t it be better just to

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Reconsidering servant leadership

Fifty years ago, Robert Greenleaf wrote an essay called “The Servant as LeaderPDF that introduced the phrase servant leadership into the business lexicon. The notion offered an important counterweight to the command-and-control leadership style of that era, and it developed a wide following in the decades that followed, with countless companies and executives embracing servant leadership as a core management philosophy.

Among the hundreds of CEOs I’ve interviewed over the years, dozens have told me that they believe in servant leadership. The concept has had a long and laudable run, worthy of a standing ovation. But I respectfully submit that it is time to retire the phrase.

Before I marshal my argument and offer a more practical way of describing leaders and leadership, let’s do a quick refresher on where the idea came from.

Greenleaf, who started his career at American Telephone and Telegraph (now AT&T) before

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Five opportunities for CMOs in a pandemic-impacted world

How do businesses do more, earn more, and operate better when they have fewer resources and when challenges loom everywhere? It’s a perennial predicament with elusive solutions — and one with which chief marketing officers (CMOs) are certainly familiar. But now, doing more with less has become an urgent mandate rather than a puzzle to ponder, as businesses around the world work to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long before the novel coronavirus paralyzed businesses globally, the CMO role was evolving in scope, focus, and sometimes name. New titles such as chief growth officer and chief customer officer emerged to reflect the redefined, more transformational role of today’s marketing and commerce leaders. CMOs were already becoming key players in helping drive customer demand and generate growth. Now, in a world upended by the pandemic, these expectations are amplified.

But if one thinks of challenges as opportunities in

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Boycotts unsettle boards

In this partisan era, companies can find themselves targeted by boycotts from either end of the political spectrum. And it’s during high-profile crises of brand identity that board members can truly prove their worth, imparting insight to executives and reassuring shareholders. But what happens when directors agree with the political bent of the boycott? According to a new study, it’s possible these directors will act on their personal convictions and exit the board.

In general, it’s not unexpected for a director to leave when the going gets tough. Research shows that board members are more likely to give up their seat when their firm is filing for bankruptcy, restating earnings, fending off lawsuits, or reeling from credit downgrades than when it is running smoothly.

But unlike those negative events, which send an unmistakable signal that management is on the wrong path, boycotts tend to be

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