The Simple Trick For Discovering Your Strongest (And Weakest) Managers

The Simple Trick For Discovering Your Strongest (And Weakest) Managers

The Simple Trick For Discovering Your Strongest (And Weakest) Managers

By Richard McLeod, Loaded

This approach for taking a hospitality team from good to great NEVER failed me.

The Simple Trick For Discovering Your Strongest (And Weakest) Managers

Not many of the ideas I used for running a great hospitality business were my own. I borrowed (read: stole) almost all of them.

The following advice comes directly from Warren Buffet (yes, the legendary investor - I promise this will all make sense shortly). Buffet has a real knack for turning complex scenarios into something very simple and clear, and - while he doesn’t know it - that knack gave me an approach for taking a hospitality team from good to great that never failed me. It goes like this:

When deciding whether or not he wanted to buy a company, Buffet would always ask a simple question about the CEO of the business: “Would I want to compete against them?”.

If he thought they were so good that going up against them would be intimidating, then he was onto a winner. If it wasn’t a daunting thought at all, then he hadn’t found the CEO or business he was looking for and he’d move on.

It’s such a simple concept that as soon as you hear it it’s obvious how - as a hospitality owner or manager - you can put it into practice.

Here’s where it took me as an owner:

It’s not always easy to know who your direct competitors are in the hospitality game, but I would always make sure I had the bar or restaurant in mind that I would least like to see with more delighted customers than us next week. I would then run through all of my managers in key roles across both front of house and the kitchen, and rate how annoyed I would be if they were suddenly working for that competitor. I would rate how much of a positive impact they would have on that competitors' business, and how much harder it would be for us to stay ahead as the place our customers would loyally return to.

What was surprising was how easy this question was to answer, and the effect it had on how we started thinking about how to either support or challenge each member of our management team. Two things became very clear:

  1. How incredibly valuable the real stars in our management team were, and how important it was to do everything we could to keep them with us as long as possible.
  2. The honest conversations we needed to have with any team members who didn’t ding the bar of being ‘scary’ to compete with, and the challenge we needed to give them on how to improve if they wanted to become key players for us.

There’s no silver bullet to taking a team from good to great. But if you want a clear path laid out for who you need to retain (and why), and who you need to help quickly improve or to perhaps find their next challenge outside of your business, this is the approach. Thanks, Warren!

Until next time,



How should you address the situation with managers who are identified as weaker?

When identifying weaker managers through the strategy of considering their potential impact if they joined a competitor, it's vital to engage in constructive dialogues aimed at understanding their challenges and setting clear, achievable objectives for improvement. These discussions should be framed positively, focusing on growth and development opportunities. They could be in the form of regular performance reviews, setting short-term goals aligned with long-term business objectives, and providing targeted training or mentoring programs. Establishing a feedback loop where managers can share their challenges and successes, and implementing a clear development plan with milestones, can also significantly aid in their growth. Encouraging peer mentorship and cross-training among managers to share best practices and experiences can foster a more collaborative and supportive management culture.

What specific metrics or criteria can be used to objectively assess manager performance in this context?

For objective assessment, consider implementing a balanced scorecard approach that evaluates financial performance, customer satisfaction, internal processes, and learning and growth opportunities. This holistic view ensures that assessments are comprehensive and fair. Your scorecard should be customised for different departments. For example, financial performance can include specific targets for revenue growth or cost reduction. Customer satisfaction could be measured through feedback scores or repeat visit rates. Internal processes might focus on efficiency improvements or quality control metrics. For learning and growth, track employee training completion rates or leadership development progress. Each metric should be tailored to reflect the unique contribution of each role to your business's overall strategy and goals.

How can this strategy be adapted for non-competitive roles or back-of-house staff, where direct competition might not be as apparent?

Adapting this strategy to non-competitive or back-of-house roles involves identifying key performance indicators unique to each role that contribute to the overall success of the business, ensuring all staff are aligned with the company's goals and values. For example, you could consider key performance indicators like inventory accuracy, waste reduction, and efficiency in prep times for kitchen staff. For maintenance, measure response times to repair requests and preventive maintenance completion rates. These metrics align staff performance with broader business objectives, fostering a cohesive team effort towards achieving operational excellence and customer satisfaction.

The Simple Trick For Discovering Your Strongest (And Weakest) Managers

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