New Leaders, Traditional Values: Part One
On October 1st EP together with the partners showcased below hosted a thought-provoking and insightful conference that brought together industry leaders to discuss the changing landscape of leadership and the industry’s return to traditional values. This is the first in a series of eshots exploring the topics covered during the event.
It is interesting how life has changed over the years. Modern communications and a fast-paced business world have created an environment where the leaders that stand out from today’s crowd do so because of their transparency, substance and genuineness. While there was a time in the previous decade where brands and technology were feared to overtake relationships, now the desire for the concept of “community” and real “relationships” in business is significant. Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director of EP, welcomed the audience to the “Age of Trust” and explained how people are returning to old-fashioned virtues and values.
Chris delved deeper into the situation surrounding management today and explained why the desire to return to traditional values is logical when we examine modern communications. The average executive receives 5x more written communication than six years ago. The average executive will receive between 200-300 emails per day – of which 100 will be sales emails. A minimum of 60% of all emails will be from internal sources. It is natural therefore that executives become more internally focused and do not “see” the external dynamics in play. There is less desire to network for the sake of it as time is limited and must be prioritized.
At the same time transparency in business affects any leadership role. Leaders today must embrace transparency and lead openly and honestly. Clients, consumers, suppliers and employees are now seeking a high standard from those that lead. Leaders must change to reflect these values. As emphasised in a quote from a leading CEO:
“I also promise you that if we do not change and if we try to mislead our clients and employees, we will all be forgotten and rightly so. Why? Because the people you will remember at the end of your career are the ones that have strong conviction and strong values that make them the ones to remember.”
The event continued with an overview of business in the sector from Peter Lederer, Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel Group. The hospitality industry is a significant jobs contributor in Britain. Employment grew twice as fast in the tourism industry compared to other UK sectors during 2009 to 2013, according to research conducted by the ONS. Given these figures, Peter argued that leaders now are not developing fast enough to match the changes in their environment. A leader today is more time constrained, is saturated with more information and therefore has less time to give to those around. Situational demands have created leaders that are more internally focused than before at a time when people are looking to leaders to show the way forward again.
Peter challenged the leaders in the audience to begin “slow leadership” – the conscious guidance of the greatest assets of the hospitality industry, the people. Compared to the ‘slow food’ movement within hospitality that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment, ‘slow leadership’ is a style that challenges leaders to be mindful of their community, environment and people; to employ less cell-phone usage and internal distraction to enable better guidance. Undoubtedly it is a process that supports the return to traditional values, placing respect for relationships above simple business transactions. It was one of the many relevant and pressing concepts discussed at the conference.
This event was proudly sponsored by
With special thanks to
It is important not to lose traction on such an important topic so the team at EP is already planning a follow-up conference in 2015. For more information on upcoming events or to get more involved, please contact Arlene McCaffrey