Words from the Wise – Graham Box

18 March 2011 by
Words from the Wise – Graham Box

Graham Box, managing director Scotland, Sodexo, shares his business secrets

Give others the opportunity to shine The hospitality business is littered with success stories from individuals who have started at the bottom and worked their way to the very top. We should never forget this, and a nurturing and encouraging attitude has huge benefits for our business and our people.

A committed team will deliver more than individual brilliance For me, the joy of sharing success with colleagues is much greater than the pleasure I get from personal success. The added benefit is that a committed team approach, without a doubt, achieves more.

Don't hold grudges Not only is the mantra "life is too short" applicable, but too many bad business decisions have been made due to stubbornness, grudges and perceived slights. Forgive, perhaps, but do not forget, and use that experience for positive growth of yourself, your team and your business.

Be resilient Andy Murray recently lost his third grand slam final in straight sets. I regularly experience the pain of the Scottish football and rugby teams gallantly coming second, and my own personal sporting trauma, of losing the final of the golf club foursomes to a couple of canny pensioners, was devastating.

Resilience as an attribute and attitude is to be admired. We all hit setbacks in business and our personal lives, but it is how we deal with them that sets us apart from the rest. Andy will, I am sure, come good and those OAPs better look out.

Give something back Sodexo has a great record and commitment to corporate social responsibility, and whether it be supporting a fledgling food business in Scotland or helping people get back into the workplace, a balance of bottom line and promoting responsible behaviour is what ultimately matters.

best piece of advice

As a nineteen-year-old student, I spent the summer working as a waiter in the Grand hotel, Lenk, in the Bernese Oberland. Udo was my maître d', a Swiss-German with very high standards.

After a few weeks working there, he called me over whilst sipping his espresso between service and said to me: "Graham, you are not the fastest waiter I have seen, your German is embarrassing and your French only slightly better, however, the guests like you, the chefs tolerate you and your section is always served and cleared first.

"Keep thinking cleverly, plan well, focus on service excellence, work well with your colleagues and get me another espresso!"

CV Highlights
HND in Catering and Hotel Keeping
â- 1981-87 Pursers officer with Princess/P&O Cruises
â- 1988-95 Gardner Merchant
â- 1995-07 MD for Scotland and the North of England, Compass Group
â- 2008-present MD Scotland - Sodexo

Mantra Keep a sense of perspective in business life to allow you to focus energy and competence in areas that you can really make a difference. Balance your work and home life, easy to say but very important if you are to be productive, effective and happy.

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