The perfect jobs for travel enthusiasts

s travel your everyday dose? Then, you must know that some jobs have a restricting nature that would restrain you from actively living that vacation dream life. Yet, there are others that will allow you to explore the world while working unrestricted by the office walls eight hours a day. Jumia Travel highlights 5 jobs that are perfect for travel enthusiasts without necessarily being minimalists.


If you are an expert in your field of work, being a consultant rather than a full-time employee gives you the flexibility to be your own boss. It also enables one to have an extensive clientele, most of which require you to travel to on-site locations for physical consultations. This helps you to visit different places and work from luxurious locations such as hotels and beaches most often catered for by the company you are consulting for.

Pilot or Flight Attendant

There are those whose flying is the best part of their travel experiences. Stunning in those beautifully donned attires and well-placed smiles, being a flight attendant or the captain steering the airliner could give you a fulfilling thrill as you fly from one destination to another. These two jobs give you the opportunity to explore the world from high on the sky, and what other best way to live the travel dream? Often inconsistent working hours may however mean frequently being away from family and close friends.

Cruise Worker

Often associated with amorousness, cruising is something water lovers would want to try. Voyaging brings you as close to the sea world as possible, as you travel the different destinations and transits on the floating vessels. Jobs on the cruise range from engineering, to attendants, deck jobs and entertainment among others.

Destination photographer

The greatest beauty of travel is being able to perfectly capture each moment for memories, and for presentation of the destination to the world. Whether for weddings, corporate or social events, or just destination photography, one can make money selling their high-quality images for different use to different people. Creating a photography website for display could attract advertisers thus bringing extra income to fund your travels.

Travel blogger/writer

From the bustling attractions in Nairobi, to the gorilla trekking adventures in Uganda/Rwanda, and to Notre-Dame de Paris, there is a lot to write about the destinations you visit. Join the club of travel bloggers and writers making a fortune sampling and telling the world of their escapades. It is one of the most expressive ways to record your experiences, and in the tech era, you are sure to reach thousands, if not millions of readers online. The larger the travel record, the more the opportunities to also provide travel consultation and other travel related services; thus increasing your earnings and making the job even more exciting.

The list of the numerous jobs is endless, therefore these five are a simple guide to those wishing to venture into a more exciting career in line with their travel desires. To echo Hans Christian Andersen, “To travel is to live” – so go travel, go live your life.

All you need is love (and supervisor support)

Businesses everywhere seek to retain key staff, but it turns out that one successful strategy can be found in the Beatles’ song, ‘All You Need Is Love’. A study that focuses on employee job satisfaction finds that loving family support is critical to encouraging workers to stay in their jobs. Beyond that, a second study outlines the importance of manager support for a balance between work and family responsibilities.

In a study entitled, ‘A matter of love: Exploring what enables work-family enrichment,’ I worked with Mireia las Heras and Maria Jose Bosch to survey 157 people in Spain, as well as conduct a series of interviews of three groups representing the highest family enrichment scores, middling scores, and low scores. Our sample included highly-educated dual-income couples with relatively well-paid jobs.

As we identified the contributors to enrichment, one factor emerged above all. This resource, which we labeled “agape love,” is only generated in the family role. Agape love is characterized by loving (and being loved by) others unconditionally and giving of oneself. Other aspects of agape love include exclusivity and a long-term perspective in which one understands a partner’s needs, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Additional home resources thus generated include couple congruence, parenting experience, and share of caring responsibilities.

To test this newly-identified aspect of work-family balance, we conducted a quantitative survey of 302 employees at a firm in Chile. The results of this study confirmed that family-to-work enrichment is driven by such factors as love from one’s spouse and love for children.

We also found, however, that a person’s intrinsic motivation modifies this relationship. Here’s how that works: when individuals are highly energized by intrinsic motives, love in the family is less relevant in making a difference in the workplace. Indeed, we found a strong direct relationship between intrinsic motivation and family-to-work enrichment.

Our findings in this first study point to family-supportive policies in the workplace. However, a second study reinforces this idea by specifically identifying the importance of support from managers.

This study, which I conducted with Mireia Las Heras and Pablo I. Escribano, focused directly on the effect of satisfaction with work-family balance and turnover intentions. We conducted a study of 340 individuals working for multinational companies operating in Argentina. As I explain below, we concluded that family-supportive environments in organizations facilitate greater satisfaction with work-family experiences, and, in turn, this drives lower intentions to leave the company.

Underlying this study is the idea of social-exchange relationships. Such relationships go beyond tangible or quantifiable rewards to include exchanges of socially-relevant rewards. The exchange in this case includes things like gaining social status and recognition in exchange for loyalty, commitment, and involvement.

Once again, employees’ satisfaction with work-family balance is an important factor in their favorable feelings towards their job – and those favorable feelings make it less likely for workers to look elsewhere for employment. We note that satisfaction with work-family balance comprises three aspects: time, involvement, and overall satisfaction. Thus, the balance includes an equal amount of time dedicated to work and family roles, an equal level of psychological involvement in work and family roles, and an equal level of satisfaction with work and family roles.

We wanted to find out whether employees in our study believed that their firm maintained a family-supportive environment, and whether their supervisor specifically supported a balance between work and family. So, to address supervisor support, for example, we asked them to rate the following statement: “My supervisor is willing to listen to my problems in juggling work and non-work life.” And to get a sense of whether their firm had a family-supportive environment, we asked them to evaluate the following proposition (which scores in reverse): “To get ahead at this organization, employees are expected to work more than 50 hours a week, whether at the workplace or at home.” Finally, we asked them about their satisfaction with work-family balance and about their turnover intentions.

We found that supportive supervisor behavior was significantly related to a work-family-friendly culture. Although these factors significantly reduced turnover intentions, this turnover-reducing effect was noticeably magnified by satisfaction with work-family balance.

In summary, we concluded that employees no longer want their employer to determine how they will focus their attention, energy, and time, with no consideration of balance between work and family, and little thought given to employees’ own preferences. The good news for employers in this study is that employees who are allowed to decide how to allocate their own resources best are more committed to their jobs. Combining this idea with our first study, we find a virtuous cycle of mutual support between work and home and family

The Magic of Metamorphosis: Organizational Change and Inspirational Leadership

They say that our security can only be found in our ability to adapt and he who rejects change designs his nemesis. Corporate culture has undergone radical change, and the need to align business models with these changes has proved a challenge if the right channels of implementation are not used. In the contemporary business environment, challenges have had a new twist due to technological advancements, globalization as well as competition. In such a world, it is not the biggest and most endowed who can thrive but those who will strongly embrace transformation. It is, however, important to remember that people are the stakeholders of change and without the right perceptions, organizational change cannot be effective.

Leaders have emerged as vital tools of organizational change implementation. The organizational change stems from leadership which involves the ability of an individual to influence others to follow them. Leaders are diverse, and each of them follows their style and strategy to implement change in an organization. Styles and strategies may vary especially due to the contemporary challenges of the ever-evolving business world. Leaders using the right strategies have managed to fight of organizational resistance to change by convincing people that change is healthy and will guide them to the right direction which will ensure sustainability in the modern business setting. In a bid to stay relevant in the challenging world, leaders have been perceived as important drivers of transformation success. Let’s make an analysis of the role of leadership in organizational change as well as the various leadership styles and strategies that leaders can adopt to overcome the problem of resistance to change.

Organizational Change

Organizational change can be defined as the review and modification of management processes and business structures. An organization adds or removes a significant practice in the business model which then requires being further integrated into the business processes. It is a fundamental strategy for survival and competitive advantage due to the rapid changes facing the business world. Just like human beings evolve in various stages, organizations also face some changes as they develop to become mature brands.

Kurt Lewin’s change model presents organizational change as a freeze-movement-refreeze situation whereby change is introduced, integrated and then allowed to solidify within the normal routine. Stage theory of organizational change postulates that a company undergoes four progressive stages before it fully transitions from one state to the other. The four phases include identifying the need which triggers a need for change, decision making to help identify a solution to the need, change the implementation of change and evaluation of change implementation. The four stages of organizational change need to follow systematically to ensure the correct application of organization change as a strategy to competitive advantage as well as sustainability. However various market orientations have different requirements and expectations which call for different strategies by which organizations must adapt to thrive in strong harmony with customers and other stakeholders.

Organizational change is done to enhance business processes as well as performance but also involves changing people’s behaviors to align with the new practices. The Carnegie school theory was developed in mid-1950 and aimed to exemplify the drivers of stability and change in an organization. The theory states that organizations engage in change when they face failure in their current business procedures. If the current nature of the business model, technical feasibility, human resource policies and organization culture do not lead the company towards their goals, then it leads to a failure induced need for change. The Carnegie school theory states that the source for stability in the organization are the routine procedures and programs in the business and when the standard practices do not help develop stability in the business, then the need for change arises. The major reason for the change is to tighten up organizational procedure to ensure more efficiency for the optimization of resources.

People don’t like change and attempts to implement change may be futile if not done with the proper change management techniques. Change management is a vital aspect of successful organizational change and refers to the methodology used to transition employees and organizational procedures to the new methods intended to bring about optimization of organization resources and profitability as well as a significant reduction of costs. In, essence, change management how management plans to reshape how the enterprise works to fit more realistic and achievable goals depending on the nature of the business and the environment. Concerning change management, it is important to understand what change entails to have a clear picture of what to consider while designing a change plan.

There are various elements of organizational change depending on the motive and nature of the business environment. Perpetual change is one of the elements of change in an organization since in essence the modern business world is tough and requires constant upgrade and re-engineering of business processes. Perpetual change involves constant transitioning of the operational course to suit the needs of the dynamic business world. The second element of organizational change is the need to change lenses. Business needs to apply different lenses in their change management all which include political, marketing, economic as well as cultural lenses to be able to develop viable procedures for change development and management. The third element to be considered during the process of organizational change is employee psychology. With so much transition and downshift, employees may become frustrated and confused by the changes which may act by undermining their ability to work since they feel threatened by the alterations. The final element of organizational change is the nature of the approach used. The change management approach applied should be consistent with company’s mission and vision as well as obeys legal requirements. Leaders and decision makers need to consider all these elements to ensure the successful transition of business processes.

Role of Leadership in Organizational Change

Successful change implementation highly depends on the contribution of individuals holding direct authority and power. To achieve successful transformation, there must be a change agent with a robust understanding of the nature of business processes and organizational context. Organizational change is an integrative process that requires the involvement of all elements in an organization which include the human resource element, operating systems and technologies adopted. Leaders hold a central character in change management and development in organizations by neutralizing the frustrations and confusion created by the modifications, ensuring that the transformation is less painful or tense. The process of transitioning human attitudes and behaviors is very sensitive, and leaders act as a buffer by ensuring a balance between human characteristics and successful transitioning. Special leadership attributes places leaders in a strategic position, valuable enough to play the role of a change agent.

Companies continue to face tough times which create a lot of difficulties and threaten their survival. The capabilities of corporate leaders can make a huge difference in driving the business towards the right type of change. The primary focus of leaders and managers here is to effect continuous efforts that allow for successful change. Organizational change by itself requires the development of new organizational arrangements which are then required to be implemented.

Leaders are in a good position to influence masses to accept change as well as explain procedures for how this can go about. Leaders sponsor change in the organization by advocating for the need to have new processes and techniques in the organization. The ability to influence change while ensuring to meet the needs of stakeholders, therefore, requires very crucial skills and abilities. Leaders’ help employees gain a clear perspective of the changes and exemplify the importance of adopting such change thereof. They will often communicate the nature of modification and interpret any information gaps that may hinder complete change implementation among the employees. Leaders play the role of being role models in change management by exhibiting behaviors and attitudes that are consistent with the intended change. Employees will normally look out to leaders and will be more empowered to embrace change if the leaders accept it. Most important of all, leaders hold direct authority in an organization which means that they can manipulate resources and decisions so that employees can be fully engaged in the change process. True leaders acknowledge the value of training and mentorship and ensure to set aside resources for such factors.

Leadership styles and skills

The ability to embrace change highly depends on the way the change is managed. It is very important for a leader to be charismatic, emotionally intelligent and transformational for him to have the desired impact during the organizational transition. Various situations and the need for change motives require different leadership traits and styles for there to be the successful implementation of change. Transformational, charismatic leadership styles and emotional intelligence allow a leader to remain focused and influential in the change process.

The leadership skills and style create an impact on the employees with which change implementation is achieved. If the leader has the right set of skills, then they can trigger a desirable attitude among the employees who drives the success of the strategy. Employee involvement is one of the most important skills required by a leader in ensuring effective influence. Employees need to be engaged and consulted during change development and implementation since the change mostly affects them. Involving employees not only motivates employees to embrace change but also helps them understand the nature and reason for the change.

A leader needs to have strong communication skills for them to have the right influence on the employees. A leader with the right communication skills will be able to interpret complex procedures simply and will also be able to raise the right attitude in the employees whenever there is a training or mentorship program.

Leaders with good communication skills will often promote healthy team work and work relationships which in turn foster a good working environment whereby change is easy to inject. Good leaders need to have the right personal values so that they can be good role models to the employees. This requires leaders to be flexible and easily adjustable to change so that he can lead the way for others to follow. To be able to generate positive outcomes from organizational change development, leaders are required to have the emotional intelligence to ensure that as they teach other to embrace change, they maintain patience and composure. Leaders who give in to emotions may exhibit poor communication and employees may pretend to embrace change just to make such a leader satisfied.

Successful change implementation highly depends on the personal decision and motivation to transform, and when a leader exhibits poor emotional management ability, they discourage employees from wholeheartedly accepting the change and may not feel free to inquire when faced with difficulty. It is possible to achieve successful organizational change so long as there are successful leadership support and procedural effectiveness all which depend on the leadership skills of the leader.

Leadership theories

With the perpetual change, leaders need to have the ability to analyze situations and make rapid responses. Having the right skills orientation and the strength to cope with different situations makes a leader more effective in their role. It can be hard to identify true leaders who can be change agents in an organization. Various theories have been postulated to explain the nature of leaders and how to identify good leaders. The great man theory of leadership states that leadership is inborn and cannot be developed. This theory states that a true leader is born with the rightful leadership skills and is automatically able to use them as they grow up, up to the time they have corporate responsibilities. Based on this theory, leaders can be identified from their leadership history and how well they can be natural leaders. This theory was opposed by Herbert Spencer since he stated that the ability to use any inborn abilities highly depends on the social conditions a person is exposed to while growing up.

The behavioral theory, on the other hand, identifies true leaders as those who exhibit favorable behaviors characterized by the right skills, attitudes as well as personal beliefs. The theory has been opposed since it assumes the physical, mental and social aspects of the leader. The trait theory states that a leader with the right abilities can be identified by the traits they exhibit in the day to day roles. Traits such as intelligence as well as mental health depict the ability of a person to lead. The theory gives a logical explanation but fails to outline how these traits apply to the various leadership styles and situations.

Change is inevitable and as the business world evolves it has become mandatory for organizations to change their operational causes to survive the competition and customer expectations. In this light, organizational change has emerged as an important topic of study. The need for successful organizational change has placed a lens on the role played by leadership in ensuring such change thereof. Leaders are important in the process of organization transition since they ensure good mentorship, training as well as motivation to employees with the aim of influencing them to embrace change. Embracing change requires employees to have the right attitudes and perceptions while most importantly hold a deep understanding of the change in procedures and practices. Leaders uphold positive outcomes in organizational change so long as they have the right set of skills. Charismatic and transformational leadership styles are the strongest drivers of change in an organization. Such style combined with the right set of skills place leaders at a very crucial position in organizational change and development.

ow to avoid driving away top talent

Imagine the typical home-buying process… but riddled with unexpected gaps in communication, unanswered questions and a sneaking suspicion that the seller is hiding something from you. What if the realtor is hesitant to have a phone call or meeting to talk through issues, but gives you endless rounds of paperwork and questions to complete before you are even ready to consider putting in a bid?

Reasonable buyers would not tolerate this for a decision as important as buying a house. Why do companies think they can get away with perpetrating similar red flags when trying to recruit top talent to their firm? The fact is, they can’t.

As an Executive Search Consultant, I have witnessed firsthand how companies fail to consider how their actions (or inaction) reflects on the reputation of their entire organization and brand. These red flags run the gamut from not answering questions in a timely manner, deflecting hard questions that may reveal weaknesses, unexplained or unreasonable changes in the timeline and wildly inadequate compensation packages that are not aligned with current market surveys.

A-players are quickly turned off by such issues, leaving the company with only B-level candidates at best, or desperate individuals at worst. If a company appears misaligned or disorganized during the recruitment process, candidates can easily infer that the company is likewise disorganized in its decision-making process, and worse still, probably disorganized throughout its daily business and people practices.

Organizations can substantially mitigate the risk of driving away A-players by focusing on three, interrelated issues: setting expectations, transparency and responsiveness.

Setting expectations involves clearly outlining the timeline for the recruiting process, the steps along the way, reporting relationship, exactly what the job entails and the framework for compensation. Of course, it is realistic and natural that some of these details will be “moving targets,” especially for a newly created position. For example, I have filled several positions where a client was willing to pay market or above-market value for potential candidates and extended the time line for the search to allow time for us to research the market rate and prepare recommendations on compensation.
The topic of managing expectations dovetails nicely into transparency. Companies should be clear, candid and comprehensive about the short- and long-term challenges associated with the position in question. Additional clarity should be given about where this individual fits into the organizational chart and the success metrics for the role. If changes are necessary to the timeline, hiring process or scope of the position, organizations must be straightforward about the rationale behind those changes and communicate everything in a timely manner.
Responsiveness is incredibly important throughout the process. Indeed, any perceived apathy or lethargy on the part of the hiring company can derail, if not outright sabotage, recruitment success. As a new recruiter, I tended to be inefficient in the process, and admittedly clumsy with communication at times. However, I focused on being extremely responsive to candidates and clients alike to make up for these limitations. To be sure, it was critical that everyone knew I was diligent in the hard work that defines executive search. Likewise, A-players want to feel like they have a partner in the process — whether that is an internal recruiter, contract recruiter or the hiring manager. Simply put, nothing raises red flags quicker than candidates having to wait an inordinate amount of time for answers to pertinent questions regarding the company, role, process or timeline.
The best thing organizations can do is (i) to ensure that recruiters are armed with enough information to have meaningful conversations with potential candidates and (ii) to empower the hiring managers to have sway in the process. Candidates should not feel like the recruitment process is a series of transactional hoops, but instead feel that the process is about a two-way conversation and vetting.

While technology is certainly changing the way recruitment is performed, technology alone cannot put potential candidates at ease and cajole A-players to accept offers. Indeed, recruiters are partners in finding talent solutions versus resume harvesters. Therefore, recruiting and the hiring process is still accomplished most effectively through personal communication and genuine relationship-building… and those are ultimately grounded in Setting Expectations, Transparency and Responsiveness.

How to Write a Persuasive Hotel Business Plan: Convincing Lenders to Invest in your Hotel

OK, so you have decided to realize your dream and open your own hotel. You have thought out an amazing concept delivering unparalleled guest service. The next step would be to write a hotel business plan. It’s like a road map to the opening. However this is where most entrepreneurs get stuck.

Why? Many do not have the time, don’t know what to write or how to do the financials. But until you finish your business plan, you will not be able to get the financing either. So you end up with ideas sitting in your head not realizing your dream.

Really it is not that difficult to make a good hotel business plan. It is merely a structured summary of your idea. Most people try to include everything about their hotel concept in the plan. This leads to an indigestible super novel like bookwork, aka a mess.

They key is, knowing what to include, and what not to include in your hotel business plan. Create a clear road map for success. Excite investors rather than bore them to death like most business plans full of redundant information do. And you need to lead readers down the exact path you want.

One of the main challenges for example is that after reading the first page most business I often don’t fully understand what the hotel is all about. For investors and lenders it is crucial they can quickly comprehend your plan, without reading the whole document.

We have put together a guideline / template with 10 critical points you must include in your hotel business plan;

1. Executive Summary
This exists of two parts:

Mission Statement: Intro: a 1 line company description only the essence of your hotel (not 2 lines or a paragraph). It explains why you are in business or or which huge need you are solving, that currently is not being met. For example in the case of Qbic Hotels ‘Moving modular hotels into under-utilized real-estate to reduce build-out cost and time.’
Objectives: What do you hope to accomplish? I.e.”Reach an annual occupancy of 90%.”
2. Company Analysis
More detailed information on the USPs (unique selling points) of your hotel concept.

3. Industry Analysis
Information on the current industry trends and the current state of the market and how this will impact your hotel. This is needed as investors want to be sure you really understand the hotel industry.

4. Customer Analysis
In-depth information on your target market, including geographic, demographic, socio-economic, psycho-graphic, behavioral segmentation details. Which are the types of guests who will mostly stay at your hotel? Explain how your hotel will meet the needs of these main segments in terms of location, amenities and services. Basically, how will consumers answer this question ‘Why my hotel?’

5. Competitive Analysis
A study of your local competition or global concept competitors, with each of their strengths, weaknesses, occupancy rates and market share (SWOT analysis). And don’t forget the most important part; what differentiates you from them. What makes you stand-out?

6. Strategic Plan
This exists of 3 parts:

Marketing: How exactly will you attract customers / guests? How will you position yourself? What will your message be to the different segments of your business mix? How will your direct marketing work? What will is the plan for your hotel website, SEO, SEM and SMM? Will you do offline promotion?
Distribution: Which 3rd party channels will you use and how will you manage availability? What technology will you need?
Revenue Management: What pricing and yield techniques will you use? What will your payment and cancellation policies be?
7. Operations Plan
How will you run the hotel? How much staff and supervisors will you need? What are their job descriptions / responsibilities? What background and experience should they have? When should they start? What are your service standards? Will you develop manuals? Which supplier will you use? How will you manage inventory?

8. Management Team
Include the bios of your team. Focus on what uniquely qualifies you to make your hotel such a success.

9. Financial Plan
Provide the start-up costs of the hotel (capital investment), the ingoing business costs, operational expenses and revenue projections for the next five years. Include KPI like expected occupancy, ADR (average daily rate) and REVPAR (revenue per available room).

If you are raising money, outline how much funding will be needed and when. Explain how you will generate a return on investment for investors, or when lenders will be paid back.

10. Key Milestones
These are the most important achievement which once they have been completed, will make your hotel more likely to succeed. Think off:

Location selection
Permits & Licenses
Build-out / Construction of the Hotel
Staffing and Training
GOP Break-even
NOI Break-even
10% Ebitda
Each time one of the key milestones is achieved, the risk of lenders or investor decreases. And once your last key milestone is reached, chance of success is more or less guaranteed.

11. Appendix
Provide any other relevant information here. Don’t clutter the main sections of your hotel business plan with too many details. Rather support them with attachments in this part.

Many people have great business ideas. But that really doesn’t matter. The difference between dreamers and entrepreneurs is the action mindset. Are you ready to ship your idea to the market?

The first step is to put your ideas on paper. I hope this free sample will help you write a persuasive hotel business plan. Because no investor or lender will be interested if you cannot present a clear plan.

What kind of a Leader are you – a Maker or a Breaker?


The dominant traits of the top most leader in any organization, unarguably, define the shape and personality of the organization as a whole. So whether the top dog is fair, biased, aggressive, assimilative, open-minded and inclusive or clique and coterie centered, insecure or confident, the organization tends to take on similar features and harbour the climate that screams of the same defining set of behavioural facets.

A Balanced Leader is the backbone of a Healthy Organization

In one’s career history, while growth and better opportunity are often the crucial reasons for moving out from one and into another organization, the other main reason that seldom gets talked about openly is a huge sense of disenchantment or dissatisfaction or unhappiness stemming from a sour equation with an immediate boss or the super boss or the politically charged peer group that makes it difficult for one to perform optimally. Complicated and unreasonable bosses or a set of ogre-like colleagues is in fact a bigger, often unspoken reason for people to move and seek greener pastures elsewhere. Several HR studies, globally, have proved this fact time and again.

In the early 1990s, as a young, sprightly fresher with rose-tinted glasses I joined the Public Affairs Section of a Diplomatic Mission in Delhi. This was my second job and I had often heard that it was Asians who were more clique-y, gossipy, with inherent biases and prone to apple-polishing. So, imagine my astonishment when I found some of my Western colleagues as guilty as their Asian counterparts. My first reaction was, “Hell, Here too!” And the second reaction post some thought, “We all are the same beneath the veneer.”

My first boss here was a grouchy, somewhat mean, cranky man given to favouritism and unpleasant disposition. He was tendentious towards one single person – obviously his favourite – instead of treating the entire team fairly; so much so that this person embodied the same attributes as the boss, adding extra doses of her viciousness to it. At one time when I was working along with her, she would rejoice in giving me some of the most menial tasks – “just do the filing,” “get me connected to so and so on the phone,” – and had the audacity to keep the official files hidden away and stashed under lock and key lest I lay my hands on them even when I had to file. Mind you, this was no confidential data but the ludicrous behavior continued, fanned by the boss’ strong inclination towards this person that allowed for many such unprofessional acts to flourish in the department.

Then one day this boss was transferred out and in came a breath of fresh air in the form of a youthful, dynamic lady who brought in a sea change in the department in terms of how we viewed PR work, how we regarded each other as colleagues, how our work was perceived by other departments and the parent Government we had to report back to.

What came across bright and clear were two different modes of leadership, two distinct personalities who contributed in their own way to the manner the department looked, breathed, felt and delivered.

While one was a negative influence, the other used her high standard of skills, fine leadership style, fair & equal opportunity approach to make every work day a fun and productive day and ended up turning the Public Affairs Department into a highly respected and sought after department in the High Commission.

Leadership Traits must dovetail into the Big Picture

My next stint for a period of about two decades has been with hotels. Now, hotels are completely multicultural organizations where the work force is truly international, hailing from different countries; but of course the largest base is of the countrymen from the place where the hotel is located. Yet, in hotels it becomes extremely pertinent to know how to work together with people from as far and wide as France and Germany to Sri Lanka and China. Despite the cultural differences, this ends up adding lot of fun elements to one’s day in the life of the organization as you

end up learning about these cultures and understanding what makes the ‘other’ people tick. This, however, is subject matter of another discourse.

In hotels, while the owner or the CEO of the hotel chain is the defining personality, the GM of the unit hotel where you may work is the lord of his own fiefdom. The team and staff pick out from this leader’s personality aspects and way of running his hotel as much as the top boss’ style percolates down.

On hindsight, having worked with six different GMs across three hotel chains, I have been fortunate to sometimes thrive and at times strive & struggle in as many organizational climates. And where there has been striving, it really has been a battlefront that has made one as hard as a rock, yet more understanding of the complexities and dynamics of a fire-pit organization.

As a Leader, are you a Maker or a Breaker?

It has also brought home the point that leaders can really make or break an organization. Not just what corporate literature may tell you, from personal experience, too, I can list out the following –

  1. The organization can be a happy and fun place to which you look forward to returning every morning and to which you willingly want to give extra hours at the end of the day. Such organizations create an overriding sense of job engagement and satisfaction.
  2. It can be such that each day, nay, moment is difficult to pass with an impossible boss breathing menacingly down your neck; and wicked set of colleagues rubbing their hands in malicious glee every time they pull you down like the proverbial crab.
  3. The organization can be healthy, conducive to work with unsurpassed functionality and highly ethical work practices. Responsibilities and recognition, exemplary output and rewards go hand in hand in such places.
  4. It can be sick, divisive, undermining and demoralizing. What might get you ahead is hoodwinking and proximity to the influential people like the bosses or the boss’ right hand man; even if such easily ill-gotten prizes are short-lived and open to scrutiny.
  5. The organization can be a place that allows you to blossom as a star worker with positive strokes that help germinate your skills and talent into wonderful fruits of productivity.
  6. It can also be a place where there is so much of negative energy that all that can flower there is more bad blood splattered about by parasitic employees who eat into the climate.
  7. The organization can be a place where workers breathe in fresh air, enjoy positive influences, are allowed space to make mistakes and grow, have access to information, become a two way process in clear communication and are given learning opportunities.
  8. Then there are organizations that live in the dark zone of fear, punishment, connivance and control. They operate like secret missions where unnecessary stuff is hidden and kept out of reach of the employees thereby acting as major impediment in the processes and execution of duty.
  9. There are healthy and buzzing organizations that promote good work practices, innovation and creativity and encourage workers to take ownership of their actions.
  10. And there are organizations where flattery, manipulation, bad performances, terrible attitudes and overall downward slope in almost all areas rule the roost.

It is widely seen that the top man maneuvering the reins of the Organization can really lead by example, allowing for the finest personal and professional traits and benchmarked business best practices to shape the organization into an exemplary company; that boasts happy, engaged and optimally delivering team.


Hospitality industry needs to “plan for the worst” on staff shortages

The hospitality industry needs to “plan for the worst” regarding an imminent labour shortage according to George Vezza, Managing Director, Nestlé Professional UK and Ireland. During a panel discussion at the British Hospitality Association Hospitality Summit 2017, Mr Vezza asked five hospitality professionals how they plan to inspire the future workforce.

He said that the current staff shortage is like “standing on the track knowing that the train is coming” quoting a recent study by KPMG that predicted a 65,000 job shortage per year if the industry didn’t have an EU workforce available.

“Before Brexit staffing was an issue, but now it is going to get a hell of a lot worse,” he said. “Some 75 percent of waiting staff are EU migrants.”

Natalie Cramp, Chief Operating Officer, Careers Enterprise Company said that brands need to open their doors to volunteers. “People volunteer because they want to see what you can offer them and the pathways,” she said.

Ms Cramp also encouraged businesses to “tell their stories better” by going into schools and showcasing the industry. She said: “Get role models into schools and start changing perceptions. Bring someone in who started on the shop floor and worked their way up to the top. I think we have got more of those stories of progression than any other industry.”

Nikki Kelly, Employment and Skills Manager, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation shared Ms Cramp’s enthusiasm for volunteering. The operation recently took on a catering stand in the northern section of the stadium where 12 volunteers can work on match days. “It does better than any other kiosk in the grounds because it supports young people and has become a great employment mechanism.”

Oliver Crofton, founder and CEO of staffing agency Flexy, said that businesses need to appeal to millennials by offering flexible working. “Gig Economy is a temporary, task-based work,” he said. “It’s often given a bad rep because of the few companies that are exploiting it, however, it offers work on a casual basis and that’s what the modern workforce want.”

Andrew Parkinson, Operations Director, Liverpool Football Club said they also rely on flexibility and regularly visit colleges and schools to celebrate the industry. “We recently went out to colleges and assessment centres and spoke to 5,000 people about the club, how they can get involved and start them thinking about entering the industry and starting a career with us,” he said. “One of the most important things is that we offer millennials flexibility and recognise their needs. We have done our best to make jobs available to a widest spectrum as possible.”

Sophie Kilic, Senior Vice-President, Talent and Culture, hotel services UK and Ireland for AccorHotels highlighted an importance in employing a diverse workforce. “If you want to grow as an industry you need to tap into a diverse workforce. For the first time we have promoted as many female general managers as men which is huge for us,” she said.

AccorHotels aim to achieve a total of 35 percent female senior positions across the brand.


Getting Your SWOT Analyses Right

Most of us have probably taken part in a whole boatload of SWOT analyses. Certainly, in my time, companies and staff have shared numerous SWOT analyses with me. They all seem rather basic, Marketing 101 kind of stuff. Yet, just because SWOT analyses are basic does not mean that most companies carry them out well, or that they even get them right.

In fact, most people carry out SWOT analyses very poorly, and they get them wrong, no, very wrong. Let me share with you why so many people mess up their SWOT analyses, and, more importantly, how to get them right.

Getting SWOT Analyses Wrong

In order to explain why so many companies get SWOT analyses wrong, let me describe how most companies develop their SWOT analyses. I admit that what I am about to share with you is a parody, but it is only just a parody…

Most people start their SWOT analyses with their strengths, which the participants in a SWOT analysis session typically feel pretty good about. They know that they have to admit to a few weaknesses, so they move onto that next, but nothing that would be politically problematic. At that point, the participants are feeling somewhat tired, so they pull together a few opportunities, and finish up with a handful of potential threats.

At this point, it is close to lunchtime, so the group arranges for a junior staffer to type up the results. The staffer circulates the document and places it on a company server, where it is promptly ignored until it is archived and deleted a year later. The end result of all of this effort is, to be precise, nothing.

Getting SWOT Analyses Right

So, how do we get SWOT analyses right? The answer to that question is to remember that the purpose of a SWOT analysis session is to identify the opportunities that we are going to pursue over the following year.

We should therefore, start any SWOT analysis by focusing on opportunities, and by that I mean only those opportunities that are likely to be substantial enough, and doable enough, to be worth pursuing. In practice, as we will see, we will end up spending the bulk of our time on opportunities, and very little on anything else. After identifying opportunities, we should then list any serious threats. Just as with opportunities, we should only focus on those threats that are likely to be material enough, and probable enough, to be worth considering.

My basic advice when it comes to strengths and weaknesses is to spend very little time on them in any SWOT analysis meeting. While identifying strengths and weaknesses may be an interesting exercise, it is rarely time well spent. The only reason why we spend any time at all on either strengths or weaknesses in a SWOT analysis is to make sure that we can realistically attain our chosen opportunities, and deal with any serious threats. I wish to emphasize in this context that a strength means absolutely nothing, unless it enables us to pursue a sizable opportunity or deal with a significant threat. All other so-called strengths are not actually strengths at all, but merely irrelevances.

At this point, we now have the raw material for a successful SWOT analysis. But we have to take it a level deeper if our SWOT analysis is actually going to be useful. We have to remember that “we can only do three”…

We Can Only Do Three

Steve Jobs would gather together his lieutenants each year to lay out the opportunities that Apple could pursue over the following year. Inevitably, the Apple management team would come up with a long list of potential opportunities that Apple could go after. Jobs would then say that “we can only do three”, and he would list the three opportunities that Apple would focus on over the upcoming year. What I would suggest is that if that is true for Steve Jobs and Apple than it is true for all of our organizations. Realistically, we can only do three.

We should make sure in a SWOT analysis meeting that we select the Top Three opportunities that we should go after, and the Top Three threats that we need to deal with. Because we cannot focus on everything, we should then ignore the rest for the time being.

From SWOT Analysis To Actionable Results

As in any other project management meeting, we should finish up our SWOT analysis by allocating responsibilities, milestones and deadlines for each of the three threats and opportunities.

My approach to SWOT analyses may not be quite what we have all learned in business school. On the other hand, if we go through the approach to SWOT analyses that I have just laid out, then our SWOT analysis meetings will be much more productive, and they will actually produce focused and actionable results.


Just How Unique Are Luxury Hotel Guests? – By Marissa Rasmussen

Our latest hotel report, From Search Engine to Booking Engine, in collaboration with Google, garners a view of the hotel guest’s journey over the entire path to booking. However, not every guest and their pre-booking behaviors are alike. Here we highlight our findings on the luxury hotel guest and offer ways hoteliers can influence these guests on their path to booking:

1. On average, luxury hotel guests conduct more searches than more economical segments.

A luxury hotel booking is usually a more expensive purchase, and these travelers want to make sure they are making the best decision. Ensure you are staying top of mind during these extra searches by creating ads that reassure them that your luxury hotel will create the most enjoyable experience for them.

For example, Solage Calistoga does a great job showcasing their luxury property through their ads while reassuring guests that their vacation will be a getaway.

2. Luxury hotel guests start their hotel planning much further in advance than other segments.

60+ days out, luxury travelers perform more searches than other segments. Consider how your hotel segment impacts the path to purchase so you can increase your brand’s presence at moments when travelers are likely to be influenced. For example, if you know your luxury guest will begin searching 60+ days before arrival, start impressing them with ads while they are at the top of the funnel, and continue to nurture them throughout their entire path to book.

Loews Hotels “Room You Need” campaign did a great job of reaching travelers at each stage in the funnel by using certain Instagram photos taken by guests as the basis for its print and digital ads. It was a way of showcasing real-life images of authentic guest experiences at Loews, and that’s the perspective that a potential guest wants to see.

3. Luxury hotels see lower shares of mobile searches, averaging 45% of all searches, but mobile queries are growing rapidly with 23% YOY growth.

It may not be surprising that mobile searches are on the rise since smartphones have enabled us to have information at our fingertips no matter where we are. According to Skift, 40% of global travelers use mobile devices to shop for travel. To capture these luxury travelers early on in their planning and dreaming phases, implement a multi-platform strategy: prospect and retarget users with display, mobile, YouTube, Facebook, native ads, and more.

The New Norm in Global HR Competencies


The competency profile of professionals in Human Resources (HR) roles has always been a moving target, consider the various names the function has taken over the decades – staffing, personnel, human resources, and more recently, more creative monikers like ‘people and culture’ to ‘human capital managers’ and ‘talent resources’.

These changing names typically reflect the changing market or business conditions impacting organizations.

For example, unions formed in the mid-19th century in response to social and economic effects of the industrial revolution, which subsequently motivated businesses to think and act beyond simply hiring and firing in order to consider the broader and more complex issues of managing both labour pipeline and relations.

As the “war for talent” blossomed in the 1980s and became fierce from the 1990s onward, companies often faced a job-seekers’ market and found themselves needing to “sell” themselves and the opportunities they offered to the marketplace of workers.

As a result, many forward-thinking organizations invested in specialists to help build engagement via learning and development programs, as well as working with organizational leadership to maximize effectiveness.


Despite the occasional advances, HR has been traditionally perceived and treated as an administrative cost centre versus a strategic profit centre – sadly a trend that has continued in recent times. Indeed, even Wikipedia defines a human resources department in this day and age as, “overseeing various aspects of employment, such as compliance with labour law and employment standards, administration of employee benefits, and some aspects of recruitment and dismissal.”

Up to about five years ago that characterization, at least in the hospitality industry, was perhaps justified by independent psychometric profiling of HR pros across their Execution, People, and Cognitive skills.

In particular, AETHOS’ prior global testing of HR leaders (conducted 2011, n = 1,000) using the 20|20 Skills™ assessment showed that most profiled as “Motivators” – those especially effective in general people skills and motivating team work with a focus on producing tangible outcomes.

Of course, missing from that equation was the Cognitive skills element, given that often HR often did not exhibit or rely on its own decision-making but rather conformed to the directives, rules, and regulations set by senior management or government requirements.

Of course, that prior equation is changing too. Organizations are facing increased consolidation and culture merges, competency issues, as well as evolving employee expectations. HR pros are increasingly becoming to be seen as subject matter experts in the care and feeding of organizational culture and as a result their job descriptions have graduated from administrative levels to strategic ones to include responsibilities such as:

  • Competency modelling, bench-strength, organizational structure and retention
  • Proactive talent pipeline and succession planning for leadership roles
  • Team member engagement and culture branding to external audiences
  • Learning, development, mentorship, coaching programs within and across functions
  • Facilitation of IT and other technology to streamline all of the above

Current psychometric studies support the idea that today’s HR leaders need to function less as “Motivators” and more as “Achievers” – those endowed with strong Cognitive ability along with Execution and People skills. Cognitive ability is more than being “book smart” and involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas and learn quickly). It is a competency that all modern leaders (notably C-suite) exhibit, and its especially pertinent in today’s market which is dominated by dynamically changing variables and substantial ambiguity.

AETHOS has recently profiled more than a 1,200 HR leaders from around the world. Figure I gives their scores (scaled 0-100, mean of 75) across ten core competencies that independent studies validate as significant predictors of performance in the service-hospitality industry.

The graph surprisingly indicates that modern HR pros look increasingly like CEOs and decreasingly like their peer set from five years ago. In particular, 20|20 Skills psychometric testing reveals that today’s HR industry leaders are adept generalists across Execution, People and Cognitive skills, with particular strengths in Cognitive ability and process-orientation.

Indeed, HR leaders have become – or perhaps finally have freedom to act as – balanced and independent thinkers and problem-solvers. Rather than administrative tacticians, this is the profile of organized, measured, confident leaders with the mental acumen to contribute meaningfully to strategic business discussions.


As long as business conditions remain in constant flux, involve lingering ambiguities and present new complexities that require right- and left- brain thinking from HR, it seems unlikely the new competency profile for HR pros presented here will change dramatically.

If anything, we predict that both the Problem-Solving and Creativity aspects of Cognitive skills will only increase in order to meet the challenges and opportunities yet to hit the industry.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that organizations screen and select candidates for HR leadership roles, in part, with tools or processes that test for balanced and effective competencies in critical-analytical thinking and strategic-big-picture orientation. The idea is to identify individuals who are effective general problem-solvers, as opposed to merely subject matter experts.

This all ties to the foremost topic that seems to dominate conversations and presentations at industry conferences, i.e., the idea of trying to identify the most likely industry disruptors coming to the industry and how businesses should best prepare to navigate them from business and leadership perspectives.

Since it is impossible to predict confidently specific changes or challenges, it is more important to identify and add to an organization’s talent base those individuals who can effectively and efficiently deal with dynamic and uncertain variables and forces, regardless of origin. This translates to high levels of tolerance of ambiguity, grit-resilience, emotional intelligence, behavioural integrity, and as shown in the graph, both balanced and high levels of general cognitive ability.

Perhaps this new norm in global HR competencies is not so surprisingly after all. Ultimately, organizations need HR leaders who think and act like business owners and apply their subject matter expertise systemically or cross-functionally, as the behind-the-scenes dynamics and corporate cultures are more open, transparent, and indeed public in a social media sense than ever before (think Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).

HR expertise offers significant value to inform other functions from sales and marketing/PR to Boards of Directors and the senior-most leadership who set strategic direction for the company. The new competency norm understandably follows from new business norms.

Who knows what new names for HR will be introduced in the decades ahead, but given the changes we have seen, HR leaders in our view fundamentally add enterprise value by serving individuals and teams within organizations as “cultural strategists”.