What’s the Secret to Ageing Well?

How many amazing photographs have we seen of late of older celebrities who look stunning? Joan Collins, Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda and even Her Majesty the Queen are all great examples of high-profile females who are turning the notion of twinsets, pearls and tight perms firmly on its head by looking incredible whilst being busy and continuing to achieve great things in later life.Male celebrities too are also out pushing boundaries, whilst there are regularly items in the news of older people enjoying adventurous lives. Many are studying, working, travelling and treating later life as opportunity to change path and enjoy a great time. Many of us are happy to forgo the rocking chairs as middle age gets pushed back yet another decade.Whilst we many not be privy to the financial clout or lifestyle choices of wealthy celebrities or have the genetic advantage of good looks and bone structure there are still ways we can improve our quality of life and enjoy ageing well.- Our hair style can date us. It may be an easy option to check in with the same hairdresser every time; after all, they know us so well, won’t make any regrettable errors and are convenient. But sometimes visiting another stylist can result in them seeing us in a very different way and suggesting a change in style or colour, giving our image a complete overhaul. It’s no bad thing to sometimes be seen by a fresh pair of eyes.


Advice from experts for women includes avoiding wearing hair too long or adopting solid or sharp lines, thus supporting a softer look. For men, maintaining smart, fashionable grooming helps you look years younger and feel better about yourself.- Exercise is important at any age. While we may not aim to be as energetic as we were when young, exercise in later years is almost more important. Be alert to the risk of leading too sedentary a life and consider a regular brisk thirty-minute walk as a valuable way to get some fresh air. It costs nothing and could tie in with spending pleasant time with your partner, family or friends, chatting about your days, investing in your relationships.Investigate over-50′s classes run by many local leisure centres. There may be Pilates or yoga available to attend, which also provides opportunities to socialise regularly with others. Or incorporate some exercise and stretching into your domestic routine or consider a personal trainer.- Diet and eating healthily helps manage the ageing process. It’s sensible to avoid processed foods, sugar and excess alcohol, to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated as well as eat lots of fresh green vegetables, fruit and wholegrains. All are ways to invest in good internal and external health, so helping you to age well.- Your dress style reflects your age. Keeping up-to-date with the latest fashions and trends enables you to be stylish, smart and attractive without adopting any extreme fashion trends. Many older women prefer to cover their arms and neck areas. The artful use of scarves and accessories can achieve this whilst providing an elegant, distinctive look.Whilst older men may move away from daily uniforms or business suits and dress more casually, it can be ageing to regularly dress in track suits and trainers. Get into the habit of wearing a smart-casual look, comfortable but not scruffy.


- A younger mindset means letting go of limiting beliefs, being realistic but not saying ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’ too often. Learn to deal with any stressors in your life, pace yourself, but also look forward with enthusiasm to opportunities that come along. Remember, if you choose to say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’ – either way you’re correct. Outlook and perspective is the key. Have a ‘yes, why not’ mentality and remember, this is your time to try new things.- Future plans should be motivational, whilst not being too daunting or stressful. Choose to leave your comfort zone from time to time and keep life interesting and exciting. It’s good to stretch yourself a little, but not lie awake fretting about things you’ve agreed to do. You could take a course just for fun, volunteer, do some consultancy work, start a small business from home or accept a part-time job.The secret to ageing well is to enjoy life on your terms. Take good care of your health and focus on living life well!

Tips and Techniques for Being a Confident and Capable Restaurant Manager

What does the word “Management” mean? Look around the Internet and you’ll find many varying definitions. Here’s three examples of what some have said:

• “The activity of getting things done with the aid of people and other resources.”

• “Effective utilization and coordination of resources such as capital, materials, and labor to achieve defined objectives with maximum efficiency.”

• “The process of getting activities completed efficiently with and through other people including the process of setting and achieving goals through the execution of five basic management functions: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling; that utilize human, financial, and material resources.”

When you boil these three definitions down and summarize, as a restaurant manager you simply must produce results and get the work done! We have a proven, three-step process of helping managers enjoy results as detailed below:

STEP ONE – YOU MUST GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR OWN TIME AND ACTIVITIES FIRST

A study conducted several years ago found that the average restaurant manager has 64 unplanned interruptions during the course of a day. This doesn’t surprise any seasoned restaurant manager, but if you’re new to the industry or a first-time manager, this means that early in the game of management, you’ll need to take firm reins over your valuable time!

Your FIRST responsibility as a competent and capable restaurant manager is to hold yourself accountable for your own time and I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

As a young manager many years ago, I was to attend a meeting with my General Manager, Dave Dalmadge, at 4PM on a day that I was scheduled off. When that day arrived, I was many miles away from the restaurant, enjoying my day off. About 4:15, I received a call from Dave and he simply said to me, “We had a meeting scheduled for 4PM today and you’re not here. I allocated my time for you, so get here as soon as you can” and he hung up.

An hour later, I walked into his office and after profusely apologizing, I said, “Dave, I’ve always tried to remember every meeting and it’s pretty rare that I forget commitments. How do you seem to remember everything?” He responded by pulling out a little bound book from his pocket. On the cover of the little book were the words, “Day Timer” and he then showed me that he wrote his schedule and every schedule commitment he had made in the book. He said to me, “Kevin, get this system, use it every day, and you’ll never forget anything that’s important.” I eagerly ordered the 12 little monthly booklets and immediately found after using it just a short time that I:

1. … was never late for another meeting.
2. … never forgot anyone’s birthday (because I plugged them in for the entire year in the 12 little calendars).
3. … had less stress because I could see what events were coming up and I had plenty of time to prepare.
4. … had a written record of what had happened and what I accomplished.
5. … could integrate my personal and professional scheduled activities into one convenient spot.
6. … was no longer embarrassed by my own lack of accountability.
7. … started producing real results both at work and in my own personal life!

I’ll always be thankful to Dave for the singular most important restaurant, and life lesson he taught me – how to hold myself accountable and how to control my own schedule. Suddenly and with very little work on my own, I began doing the right thing at the right time!

Even though this event happened over 35 years ago, I still use a calendar. The one I use now is a small, 12-month, “At-a-Glance” calendar that accompanies me wherever I go. Maybe a little old school compared to using a phone or Outlook calendar, but it’s a system that works for me, especially because I can put tickets and other paperwork into that calendar. Whatever system you decide to use, you simply must take the responsibility for being personally accountable for your own time management because THIS is where good management skills begin. Good managers do the right thing at the right time, the right way

STEP TWO – LEARN AND USE THE 10 CHARACTERISTICS OF TODAY’S MODERN RESTAURANT MANAGERS

The second step of learning how to be a confident and capable restaurant manager means that you know and learn what the characteristics of top-performing managers are! Below are 10 top factors that will directly impact your ability to be a top performer!

1. BE ACCOUNTABLE. Unless you take responsibility for being on time, completing tasks and never being late, you’ll never be accountable. Use a good calendar system and you’ll find that you’ll instantly be more accountable!

2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. If a napkin falls on the floor, pick it up. Dress the part – be sharp, groomed and clean. Don’t chew gum. Don’t yell. Don’t embarrass others publicly. Just know that all eyes are on you and whatever YOU do will be acceptable in the eyes of your employees. Hold yourself to a high standard and set the pace and keep high standards.

3. INSURE THAT YOUR PEOPLE SUCCEED. Today’s leaders don’t tell their employees to “Jump.” They jump WITH their employees, creating a mentality of working, “side by side” with them.

4. BE COMPETENT. Your ability to do everything in the restaurant builds your confidence. You as a manager should be able to jump in and temporarily help in any area that gets slammed. You should aspire to know as much or more than your employees about how every job is done. If you don’t know how to do something, learn it! Competence builds confidence. You will quickly find that confidence inspires trust from your team, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

5. LEAD OTHERS TO A MUTUAL ATTAINABLE GOAL. Every person wants to know what direction the team is headed and what their role is. Articulate the goal, the roles, the standards, benchmarks and key achievements and keep everyone informed! This process helps to promote and develop a sense of transparency in your management style which is another desirable trait of a good leader.

6. CONSTANTLY TRAIN. Norman Brinker, the founder of many restaurant concepts including Chili’s had a saying that’s always stuck with me and I’ve seen it proven over the years. “You are paid on your profits and promoted by your people.” This means that people development (this means training) needs to take place all the time. Every shift you work is 100% training time for everyone on your team and every moment is a training opportunity.

7. LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE. There’s a school of thought that says that if you listen well, you are a good conversationalist! Work on your ability to clearly communicate clearly, listen closely and don’t tolerate rumors.

8. BE FAIR AND BE EVEN WITH EVERYONE AND DON’T FRATERNIZE. In order to treat your employees fairly and evenly across the board, this means you can’t find yourself in compromising situations. Don’t find yourself out late at night with people you’re responsible for managing on a daily basis because you’ll quickly find that your ability to manage them will be compromised unnecessarily.

9. EXPRESS EMPATHY AND BE WARM & APPROACHABLE. If you want to be an effective manager, you better understand what perspective your employees are coming from when they want to talk with you. If you’re a good listener, are warm and approachable, and try to really understand what’s being said, these qualities will take you far in your management journey.

10. BE MATURE. This means be honest and trustworthy, don’t spread secrets or rumors, don’t divulge confidential information, don’t speak negatively of others and don’t ever find yourself in a suspicious situation. Integrity in this business means everything.

STEP THREE – USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

The third step of learning how to be a confident and capable restaurant manager means that you know how to use the tools that are appropriate for your work. Fact of the matter is that you can be a highly qualified manager with all of the 10 traits we’ve detailed earlier, but if you’re not using the right tools for the job, you won’t be able to be productive. If you work in a multi-unit environment, many of the tools you’ll need will be provided. If you work in a single-unit or small company environment, you may need to develop your own tools. What are some of these tools?

1. MBWA – MANAGEMENT BY WALKING AROUND. “You can expect what you inspect” is very true. If you don’t know what’s going on, all the time, everywhere on premise, conceptually you’re out of control. I’ve known managers that walk a figure 8 loop around the premise. I know of others that set an alarm and walk the interior interior and exterior premise every 20 minutes. Whatever your preference is, you simply need to everywhere, all the time. This is why being a high performing restaurant manager is a job for Superman and Superwoman!

2. VIDEO CAMERAS. We have a client that has four restaurants and in each location, there’s 12 cameras throughout the premise. In the office, there’s a bank of four huge television screens, and on each screen, there’s 12 camera views. The company Owner is able to view activities in 12 perspectives in four locations… 48 views all at the same time. When he sees something that needs to be addressed, he simply picks up the phone and calls the appropriate manager in that particular restaurant. His system of management can be referred to as MBSD – Management by sitting down. This is rarely the right tool to use by most managers, but it worked for him!

3. COMMUNICATION TOOLS. Almost every restaurant today has a management log. This insures that every shift can communicate the with shift leaders that come in next. Continuity of the flow of information is maintained. Restaurants without logbooks, or managers that don’t use the logbook are all at a disadvantage.

4. RESTAURANT SYSTEMS. This includes the proper usage of temperature logs, order guides, employee schedules, and all of the other systems used in a restaurant.

5. TECHNOLOGY. The manager that tries to avoid using the functions that today’s point of sale systems can provide is at a disadvantage. Sales mix, labor reports, sales volume, guest database, inventory, costing tools and many others are available for your use to help you run a profitable shift and operation. Wise managers will become quickly proficient with the POS system in your restaurant.

6. CHECKLISTS. This is the most effective way to insure that the things that need to happen, actually DO happen. All positions within a restaurant should have at a minimum, an opening and closing checklist. In the kitchen, multiple checklists are used for prep (par and build-to levels), ordering (part and build-to levels) and many others. If you’re constantly running out of products, it may be that the correct checklist may not be in use! Checklists are only effective if they’re used. (Expect what you inspect) Insure that you as a manager follow-up to insure that all checklists are being used and completed properly.

7. A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. Last but not least includes a regular system of how to run a shift. Many managers don’t know what they are supposed to do at what time! Certain management functions are to be accomplished during certain times. Make your life easier and divide the day into portions of time that you can control.

For example:
9AM – 11AM – Administration and restaurant opening.
11AM – 2PM – Run the shift on the floor.
2PM – 4PM – Projects, accounting, ordering.
4PM- 5PM – Get ready for dinner. PM staff arrive, pre-shift meeting.
5PM – 9PM – Run the shift on the floor.
9PM to close – Aggressively close, cutting labor when possible, with no wasted hours.

REMEMBER:
One of the most important aspects of running a restaurant is consistency. Not only in food and beverages but for you as a manager, consistency means your ability to consistency run a great shift. This does not happen by accident. It’s by using the tools, the right way, all the time.

Creating Culture of Accountability, Performance and Coaching – Lean Performance Management

If there is ONE talk-show that is very scary and beat the shit out of everyone, right from the CEO of an organization to fresh-graduate Trainee is – Performance Management Talks. Why people are so scared to discuss their performance? There can be many reasons and few of them are -

  1. Format – Performance is considered as an event which is organized once in a year or at the best once in every SIX months. However, the fact remains that Performance Management is a continuous process.
  2. Poor alignment of performance scores and merit increase – No matter how much an individual score in his performance assessment, it is his reporting manager who decides his merit increase percentage and usually there is no correlation between the two. Hence, employees don’t believe in the process.
  3. Incompetent and untrained Assessors/Managers – Many managers do not consider performance management as one of the key components of their role. They believe it to be a job of HR. Probably they don’t want to spoil their relationship with their team members. Managers are usually biased in their approach towards assessment of team members. They want to keep everyone happy.
  4. Poorly defined KRA’s and KPI’s (What needs to be measured and how it will be measured) – In many organizations, performance goals don’t seem to have any relation to organizational goals. They work in silos. They don’t have defined success criteria’s of their goal. There is no clarity about what need to be done and when the task will be labeled as “successfully completed”.
  5. Poor communication between assessor and assessee – Communication regarding the change in goal or change in success criteria rarely gets communicated to employees. They are up for a surprise when they are told about these changes in the final review meeting. This leads to irritation and frustration and as a result, leads to unhappy, disengaged employees.

What gets measured gets managed. And what gets managed gets improved upon. What organizations should do to overcome these challenges and fears of employees and can do to create a culture of performance?

1) The Role of a manager is to manage – It is one thing to roll-up your sleeves and get to work and it is another thing to do what you are hired for. A team member is promoted to the position of Team Manager to guide the team, manage the team and show the direction. If he will continue to contribute as a team member then he is not doing his work properly. As a team manager, it is his responsibility to manage his resources, communications, customers, performances of the team and deliver within specified timeline. Performance Management and Performance Coaching must be one of the key competencies for an individual to be hired to or promoted to the level of manager. “Don’t promote your subject-matter expert as Manager. An efficient and effective manager need not be subject-matter expert”. “Performance Management or Resource Management is not my work” is an excuse.

2) Aligning KRA’s and KPI’s of an individual with organizational goals – Every organization carve annual goals and growth targets for itself. Every employee in an organization must contribute towards those goals and targets. Every goal has defined success criteria; hence, every goal or target is measurable. Every employee in an organization contributes towards the goals of his department or team, which in turn inches organization closer to its goals. For an individual to win his team must win and his organization must achieve its targets. Its collective win and collective failure. Someone said, “But I did my job properly”. Unfortunately, your contribution was not sufficient or good enough for the organization to achieve its goals. One question an employee must always ask himself, “how better I can contribute” or “what else I can do”.

3) Aligning Performance Assessment scores with Merit Increase Percentage – “I have scored 85/100 in my annual performance assessment. Another team member scored 75/100. I am awarded 10% increase over my existing salary and he has been awarded 18% increase over his existing salary, how”? Usually, managers don’t answer these types of questions or they put the blame on the management team of organization and thereby creating an impression, “if you want to give increments as per your whims and fancies then why you did this drama of appraisals, you could have given us increment without assessing us”. There has to be a direct and clear correlation between assessment scores and merit increase percentage. This correlation can be drawn at grade level or functional level based on the business model of organization and its compensation philosophy.

4) Performance Management is a process (creating a culture of performance coaching) – Performance management is not once a year activity. It is a continuous process. A manager shall have monthly performance review meeting with his team members to assess their progress and communicate any deviation in goals. A manager must create performance review tracker. In such circumstances, your annual review meeting becomes less tedious and less scary because before even entering for the final assessment, both assessor and assessee know what to expect from the meeting.

Secondly, there is another advantage of monthly performance reviews. If the concerned manager decides to separate from the organization at any time during the year, the new manager will not find himself out of place. Through performance tracker, he will be able to trace performance goals and progress of individuals in his team.

Thirdly, monthly performance reviews will let the manager know challenges faced by his team members in achieving their goals and hence he will be able to coach him and take corrective actions at an appropriate time.

Fourthly, organizations and managers set their annual goals at the beginning of a year. Many changes might occur during the due course of year forcing organization and employees to realign their goals. Monthly review meetings provide a platform for every type of correction and communication. Lastly, monthly performance assessments will eliminate any kind of bias from the process.

5) Lean Appraisals – THREE of the biggest drawbacks of annual performance appraisals are -

A) Managers can compare performance scores of their team members and hence will be biased towards their favorite team member, which creates unrest and frustration among employees.

B) When appraisals are done once in a year, there will be a huge increase in cash flow in one given month, as per the performance cycle of the organization.

C) During the year, many new employees join the organization and old employees resign, therefore, in annual appraisals, there will be few employees who will be assessed for SEVEN months and few will be assessed for FIFTEEN months. It might create unnecessary difficulty in allocating increment percentage to employees. Hence, there is a need to have lean appraisal system.

Lean appraisals mean doing an annual assessment of employees in their month of joining. A manager managing a team of 24 employees will be required to do TWO assessments in a month, instead of doing 24 in one particular month. It will not be difficult for the organization to arrange for a big chunk of cash-flow in one particular month. It will eliminate any type of bias from the system. There will not be a comparison of performance scores and increments among employees.

On the part of the management team of the organization, they need to allocate budget to each manager to manage his team. The budget shall be driven by market and industry and a manager will get it proportionate to the number of members of his team at the beginning of financial year. This fund shall be called as Performance Management Budget for the year ****. Thereafter, it shall be the responsibility of a manager to manage his fund and report back to the management.

Let’s understand and accept this. Performance Management and Coaching is one of the integral responsibilities of a manager. They shall not push it on the management of human resource function. HR is to facilitate the process. Management is to allocate the budget. Employees working in the organization are not your personal friends. They have been hired to perform a specific role. They are paid for their performance. As a manager, you must help them improve their performance.

Readers might think that this type of performance management system is not feasible and not practical, however, the fact remains that such system is scalable and manageable. I have done this in my several consulting assignments.

Your feedbacks and comments will be highly appreciated.