By Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search
One of the most gratifying aspects of what I do for a living, is spending time with the greatest leaders in our industry. Observing how they think, plan, empower and execute is truly something to behold. The skills they have honed, the confidence they exude, the compassion they show, their laser focus and proven resilience is often remarkable. Most are strategic but remember how to be tactical and show strength on both sides of the EQ/IQ equation.
We are often charged with identifying future leaders and hence spend quite a bit of time contemplating the qualities and attributes of great leaders. Some of the most compelling are as follows:
Honesty and Integrity – Leadership success is not attainable without these attributes. Great leaders stick to their values and core beliefs. Integrity fosters trust.
Vision – Leaders must have a clear idea of where they are going and what they want to accomplish.
Interview with Featuring Nick Stone, Founder and CEO of Bluestone Lane
By Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search
Nick Stone is a Melbourne, Australia native and former Australian Football League player who moved to NYC in 2010 to work in finance and found the Manhattan coffeeshop scene to be lacking compared to the café culture he knew and loved in Australia. Nick was accustomed to a treasured daily escape with sophisticated and sunny ambiance, where customers do not exist, only “Locals,” and where premium espresso beverages, fresh, healthy food options, and a sense of community are the standard.
He opened the first Bluestone Lane in 2013 to remedy the need for an Aussie-style cafe in America, growing the concept to over 50 stores by the end of 2019. Now, he faces the unprecedented challenges of operating during the pandemic.
How did you get into the coffee and restaurant business, after working in finance in Manhattan?
Well, I had never spent a day working in hospitality. It was really, because when I moved to New York, I was so surprised how contrasting the coffee culture was in Australia. It is a very independent-brand market, where the big coffee chains have not flourished. Despite being the 13th biggest economy in the world with a big coffee consumption base, Starbucks failed in Australia, and it is a place where you cannot find a Dunkin’, Peet’s, Costa Coffee, etc.
In Australia, and in particular Melbourne, where I am originally from, premium espresso coffee is the standard, complemented with a sophisticated-yet-accessible fresh food program and a deep commitment to service, establishing meaningful relationships with locals, not customers. Given it is an independently driven market, frequently the owner-operators are working in the café on the floor and have invested in establishing a localized following. It is not just a transaction, rather a reciprocal human relationship.
by John A. Gordon, Principal and Founder, Pacific Management Consulting Group
In my September 2020 Executive Connection article, I noted 10 strategies and tactics that restaurant operators, investors, and other analysts had mentioned to me and that I had seen since the onset of COVID-19 that would be necessary to build the foundation for a solid restaurant recovery post-COVID-19. Of course, some individual brands have rebounded and are in better shape now but they are in the minority; throughout the US and the world, the reality of the infection continues to cast its dark shadow.
New investments are required, but all spending is not incremental…..
Looking at the 10 factors all of them involve an investment in restaurant operator time or funds. Fortunately, all ten factors have clear cost or revenue efficiencies that can be seen resulting from the action if executed properly. The question is how far out and at what carrying cost until P&L efficiencies can be realized. For example, relative to the site improvement through unit migration factor, restaurant operators in now almost vacant center city locations certainly would like to relocate or thin down their store market penetration. But landlords will resist. So it’s a long slug of asking for rent concessions, paying off the lease, and closing or waiting for traffic vitality to return.
Leadership in Turbulent Times: 9 Ways to Embrace Change
by Joel Garfinkle
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” – Peter Drucker
Do you feel like you’re just treading water right now, trying to keep your team afloat? To lead through challenging times, you must embrace change. Never forget that disruption gives you an opportunity to rise to the top of your field.
My executive coaching clients have been going through the same thing as the COVID-19 crisis brings dramatic changes to workplaces everywhere. No one has all the answers to how to navigate this new situation, I assure them. We’re all working to create solutions step by step. Fortunately, all of the best minds are hard at work on that task, and we’re bound to create novel solutions together.
On a daily basis, I’ve been talking through solutions with the leaders I work with so they can maintain high morale despite the extreme disruption that’s been occurring. Fortunately, many key leadership principles that apply in any crisis are incredibly valuable here. Read on for nine key ways to steer your company to success amidst the great changes in progress.