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Arnold Fewell: Eliminate the negatives

21 February 2014
Arnold Fewell: Eliminate the negatives

It is often in the face of adversity that we make our most creative and positive decisions, says Arnold Fewell, managing director, AVF Marketing.

I had the pleasure of listening to Clive Woodward at the Master Innholders Conference last month. It was fantastic to hear the former England manager recount his stories from the memorable world cup win in in 2003 as well as his thoughts on the London 2012 Olympic Games. He gave a real insight into the DNA of a Champion, including his acronym T-CUP (Thinking Correctly Under Pressure).

This is important in sport, but there are also huge lessons for every hotel, restaurant, pub, club and foodservice business. For example how well do we react when someone complains, or a member of staff goes off sick and we are short staffed? Do we moan and groan or do we move into a different mode and think of all the positive outcomes that can be achieved?

Positives might include giving a new member of staff extra responsibilities to see how they react. Or asking a member of the bar staff to take orders for the restaurant to free up a waiter. The ideas are endless as there are always ways of doing things differently providing you react positively. Every business comes under pressure at some time but when that happens how often does the business automatically move away from the norm to create an even better or outstanding service. There can be no excuses for poor service as in reality no excuses are valid.

T-CUP is one of those acronyms that have four simple words but when put together create a powerful mantra. In sport you move from the conscious to the subconscious mind and that takes a lot of practice, patience, passion and belief. You create mental pictures and focus in on what has to be achieved. There becomes a desire to be the best you can. You don't consider what can go wrong you only remember and rehearse the positives of the guest experience you want to achieve.

Some years ago I had the pleasure of working with Lanny Bassham. He won an Olympic silver medal in 1972 and described it as the worst feeling in sport. He did not see himself as a winner only a loser even though he was just a short way behind the gold, he was number two in the world on that day. In his mind this was not good enough. He then spent four years researching what made a champion and devised his own mental management system and went on to win the gold medal in 1976. Business has much to learn from top level sporting champions. If you ever have the chance, I recommend reading "With Winning in Mind" written by Lanny Bassham.

In adverse and stressful situations, Clive Woodward's T-Cup philosophy helped players react in the right way. Developing this kind of automatic response to stressful situations should also be applied to everyday hospitality operations. Tt is when you are under the greatest pressure that you must deliver that outstanding experience, whether it is for people staying in your hotel, attending a conference or enjoying a wedding celebration.

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