Creating High Performing Interior Teams

LH crest finalPeter Vogel is the Founder and Managing Director of IYS and gave on 27th February 2015, the inspirational workshop “Creating high performing interior teams” in Antibes for Interior Crew. Below you are able to read his summary of the workshop.

 

The room is filled with interior professionals. Ranging from newcomers to Chief Stewardess’. The first High Performing Interior Teams talk, organized by ACREW is well visited with an equal 50/50 attendance from operational crew and managers alike. It is great to see the room filled with likeminded people looking for some new information that will inspire them to build that “perfect” interior team.

Once we got over the fact that it was freezing cold we got off to a good start, discussing the fact that when we are all busy bees onboard yachts running around like crazy, it would be awesome to have a way to calm things down. I shared how I compare interior crewmembers to athletes. Professionals focused on one goal only, creating long lasting experiences for our owners and their guests! We all agreed that it requires a lot of planning, energy & focus to work in or run the interior department onboard yachts.

We discussed the Service Plan, which I have used frequently during my time at sea and run through the steps to create order in the madness. A service plan can be used in housekeeping, laundry & service of-course. It’s an organizational tool, which manages every aspect of any type of service. After having run through the 1st step; The Spirit of Service; Health, Thought & Spiritual energy, everyone was onboard and many notes where being taken and questions asked. The following steps; 2) communication, 3) Service Standards, 4) Service Set, 5) Mise en Place & 6) Logistics followed swiftly.

Once we run through The Service Plan, everyone was on the same page and focused to learn more about a Human Resource Strategy. Having worked with a Human Resource Strategy in yachting during my time with the Vulcan Maritime Fleet I know from personal experience that it works. It isn’t easy to implement from scratch, however when considered an investment its valuable time spend.

Once it is implemented results will follow. Keeping stewardesses for over 6 years in a fleet of yachts speaks for itself. One question from an attendee; “how do I convince my Captain that our yachts should follow current trends like this?” I answered; “yachting is changing from a casual employment environment to a business professional approach to management. All you can do is make your onboard and shore-side management aware that its feasible to implement such a structure combatting the problems that you might experience currently. When they are not willing to look at it and invest in change, you might have to wonder if this yacht is your “match”.

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We discussed the benefits of a Human Resource Program [HRP] and the elements that it’s constructed with. Benefits like; increased retention of key crewmembers & the ability to attract high quality crew stood out whilst we shouldn’t forget that an HRP enhances crew satisfaction, which in turn positively impacts owners satisfaction. Furthermore, benefits include consistent treatment, professional & personal development and employee engagement.

An HRP is based on culture, philosophy, business practices & the general approach of an owner, which is why it is customized at all times. An HRP should in big lines include the following;

  • Recruiting
  • Learning & development [in-house & external]
  • Employee relations
  • Performance management
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Compliance

We discussed recruiting and learning & development in detail during this session. Before creating detailed job descriptions & job fits it’s vital that the yacht and its departments determine a clear vision, mission, values and goals. This assists in attracting the right kind of crew to the program. Once you develop a clear way to communicate these to the outside world it ensures that everyone will be speaking the same language.

Recruiting in general was an interesting topic as most of the attendees were surprised to learn that there was such an “Art” to the skill and it’s something you can learn about.

We quickly rolled onto Learning & Development, an interesting conversation followed. Topics like implementing a New Hire Orientation training program, Professional Global Management & Targeted Selection where discussed in depth however most of the time was spend on discussing Situational Leadership.

It was great to share with the audience that it is indeed possible to learn about leadership and actually become a great leader.

The aim is to ensure that the people in your team [or organization] all speak the same language. This is achieved by introducing a common performance management language, which increases frequency and quality of conversations about performance and development of individuals and departments. Blanchard International has used research from the recent 40 years to develop Situational Leadership II, [SLII] it is the most comprehensive, up to date and practical method of effectively managing and developing people, time and resources in the world.

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Once implemented the results will show that competence is developed, commitment is gained and talented individuals retained.

The cool thing with this talk is that it benefits everyone, the beginner, the stewardess that has been onboard for a few years and the manager. We run through the 4 development stages; beginner, learner, performer, achiever followed by Supportive behaviour stages; Directing, Coaching, Supporting & Delegating.

The founder, Dr. Kenneth Blanchard author and management expert, has written [and co-written] over 30 books and his most well-known, The One Minute Manager sold over 13 million copies worldwide. His books are translated in 37 languages and he remains to be the Chief Spiritual Officer to his company. He is currently 76 years old and still inspires people worldwide!

Other books some of the members in the audience where familiar with are; Who moved my Cheese?, Raving fans and Gung Ho! I shared with the audience that I once purchased 6 copies of the book: Who moved my Cheese? I had everyone in my team onboard MY Octopus read it within a day. Everyone was given 3 hours and we then gathered for a meeting to discuss “the department issues” The conversation was great and three people resigned; best result I could have wished for at the time.

After exploring the Directive & Supportive behaviour options, we discussed some practical examples and discussed further experiences with the audience. It was great to hear that everyone was able to relate to the topic so well. I honestly feel that much of the problems in yachting has to do with a lack of knowledge, both, in vocational aspect and management and leadership style. Our industry has grown so rapidly in recent 20 years that it is only natural that our current managers are struggling. Many of us have climbed the ladder so quickly that our fellow managers are our only examples. We take the good and try to forget about the bad examples around us and introduce that to our personal management style.

Implementing a Human Resource Strategy in where managers and operational crew alike are introduced to an approach that encourages everyone to speak the same language is hugely beneficial. The crew after all is operating a hugely valuable asset for the owner whilst they are creating long lasting memories along the way.

Once I explained how directive & supportive behaviour are supposedly matched when developing a task or goal I shared some staggering results from 40 years of research which left the audience in awe…..

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