I recently accepted a very kind invitation from Blau + Associates, a super expert team of professionals in the food industry, to be a “fly on the wall” during the first day of training of a team of 500+ professionals, fresh off the hiring process.
Blau + Associates is a consulting firm, which has opened over 100 Food & Beverage operations in different parts of the globe, in addition to running 4 restaurants in the US, of their own creation. They are a fantastic group of individuals!
Of course I didn’t think twice before jumping right into their orientation process, bright and early, where one thing was certain: there would be magic in the air!
Think about it… 500+ individuals, each of them walking into their first day on a brand new job. A great new job, by the way! We know it doesn’t come for free… lots of dreaming, wishing, searching, preparing, self-developing, butterflies, interviewing, managing anxiety, expectation… are just a few ingredients of this recipe.
As they waked into the auditorium, the energy was delightful. As they lined up to savour some of the candy offered to them as a mark for a sweet start, their glowing eyes were thirsty, their smiles were looking for their new mates, their minds were filled with curiosity to what the possibilities would bring their way.
During the orientation, their ears were finding comfort in the values that they share, in understanding their role in achieving a vision, in finding themselves engaged on such a live, energetic system… they are now part of a new system.
Auditorium mission over, it was finally time to walk into the beautiful, sparkling new, still receiving its final touches, Parq: the new casino, to be opened this Friday, with 2 hotels and 8 Food and Beverage outlets, which is filling Vancouverites with excitement.
Hard hats and safety vests on, off they went, drinking every sip of the experience of walking into a construction site a couple of weeks before its opening date.
As the little fly navigated from restaurant wall to restaurant wall, I couldn’t help but notice the joy that a hard hat training brought to my heart. I have been through quite a few of them when opening hotels, and they all seem to have a few common ingredients.
First and foremost, each individual walks in with an open heart. Everyone is seeking for the best they can find in their new team mates. Everyone wants to give their best in exchange. It is like that first date… filled with possibilities, and we want to give it a chance to go as best as it can.
The next ingredient is an abundant amount of enthusiasm. There is so much of it that it it practically guarantees that each second will be greater than the previous one.
Then there is a large portion of humility. They can all recognize that there is a great deal of learning ahead, and we want to suck it all in, like knowledge sponges, so that they can deliver their very best.
The collaborative spirit is the scent in the air. When someone shares something they know, it is not so they look good. It is mostly because they find it might be useful to the team, in building something out of it.
Then comes the will to go above and beyond. Looking at an ocean of salt and pepper shakers, you know that each of them will have to be cleaned, filled and make their ways to the right areas in the restaurant. Can you imagine how many oceans you find in a hard hat training day? Each fork is coming in, each chair, each glass, each food and beverage item. There is no personal job responsibility, there is a group sense of responsibility, and the group works to achieve common goals without anyone having to ask them to. It reminds me of the ants, building remarkable structures that are greater than each of them could have ever dreamed of building alone.
I couldn’t go without mentioning the spice that the willingness to take risks add to the flavour of this magic recipe. How beautiful it is to see a volunteer being the first to open a bottle of wine for the very first time in front of so many others. And the team supporting, truly celebrating the learning experience of their colleagues.
Opening experiences are highly addictive to me. They fill my blood with nothing but joy, deriving from the best that I can celebrate in human behaviour.
The world needs more of this! And yes! We can keep this alive! Perhaps not as intense as the hard hat magic… we can’t compete with that much enthusiasm, of course. But yes… it is possible to be part of a team where common values dictate the rules, where enthusiasm is the fuel to daily tasks, where no challenge is big enough that the team can’t handle, where we know that all possibilities are imaginable, where the team is greater than the sum of the individuals, where we take risks, learn from our mistakes, grow, make great things, allow for change to come into where it is needed! Yes, we can work with teams this way. And leaders play a big role in fostering all this.
The same goes to our personal lives. Robert Dilts and Richard Moss talked about a concept that is always on my mind. It was during a “Presence Coaching” course.
It goes more or less like this:
“Each second that goes by, life offers us as a gift a brand new moment. A brand new second that has never happenned and will never happen again in the same exact way. And what do we do with it? We give it a name of the past. We immediately correlate it with something we know from the past. In doing so, we immediately create an expectation of the future.
If you think that each second has infinite possibilities that can flow off it, by creating an expectation you are immediately limiting the amount of possibilities that can flow off that second. It is like closing a filter, closing the spectrum of possibilities.
If we, on the contrary, are able to approach each second of our lives with a curiosity attitude, allowing for ourselves to not know what will happen next, we open the spectrum and all the possibilities are now able to flow.”
How would it be, if we could bring the “Hard Hat Magic” into every second of our lives?