Who ever heard of taking stock before due time? And isn’t it traditional to do it at New Year? But sometimes circumstances dictate that things are done differently. Take Alastair Cook for instance, he and the team have gone into the change room needing to look at their business plan for the next phase of their activities. This out of necessity (and almost a desperation) at losing the treasured urn in Perth in dramatic form with the manager, the coach and the members of the group evaluating what has gone before, where they want to be and what to do to get there.
Jon Rutter and his professionals do much the same things with their teams of players. They look back on what’s happened too and work with their clients to strategize the next stage of an overall business plan to achieve an end result. “The Ashes” of their particular field – a Michelin star, a higher rating in a tourist guide, an endorsement by a renowned chef, a glowing review by a food critic or even becoming “the place to be” for celebrities to hang out!
But successful businessmen will tell those who want to stretch beyond where they find themselves that only doing an annual “stocktake” at the end of each year in the form of a series of new year’s resolutions is a bit like relying on Mystic Meg or Camelot … a very remote chance of hitting the jackpot but not always a sure thing! Those individuals with the operations that seem to always be leading the pack will quietly tell those who care to listen that their “position” is due to constant motion so that they are never still, never satisfied, never complacent, always ready to learn and re-evaluate.
The golfer Gary Player, on being questioned about his golfing success and skill said that the more he practised the luckier he got. Another South African golfer, Ernie Els after winning a championship, accepting the trophy and winner’s cheque was seen heading to the practice tee with his coach and proceeded to hit 500 balls before retiring to the shower and the celebrations. On being questioned why, told the interviewer that he wasn’t totally satisfied with his technique and wanted to correct it while it was still fresh in his memory. Stock taking?
In this competitive world of “hospitality” whether it’s an upmarket hotel, an exclusive club, a restaurant chain or an ice cream van at Blackpool, no one is in it to be just mediocre. No one wants to be in the same position today as they were a year ago because that’s really just going backwards. From the customer perspective that’s boring and it’s probably unprofitable too. The business owner, together with his stocktaking team would be well advised to assess and revise strategy, tactics and execution in order to be ahead of the opposition. In order to be feted and to receive the accolades of customers and peers alike. It is inconceivable that anyone works so that they can fail. Setbacks can and do occur but it’s the stocking process that identifies and then remedies the shortcomings that’d keeps the business rolling forward.
So let’s hope Alistair Cook and the lads have the type of “stocktakers” a good restaurant has … The type who can pick them up from a setback and work out the right process to recover lost ground and then ultimately recover their statu – Custodians of The Ashes! The “Michelin Star” of the cricket world! The Aussies did. After their dismal performances in England a few months ago, general opinion had them capitulating again and England retaining The Ashes till the next time at least.
Team Oz didn’t wait till the traditional time of year to reassess, they bucked convention and called the professionals together, took stock, and acted. It seems that a three-month reassessment worked for them. If it works in the cricket world, why not hospitality? Or indeed, any industry? Old Year’s eve may be too late for that “resolution” …
It would be unfortunate to be caught on a sticky wicket with ever widening cracks appearing, making the task of batting even more and more difficult.