Leading horses to water

Start-up. Sounds like an exciting journey, doesn’t it? I have to say, exciting is true in every way, but the realities of a start-up can be challenging in many regards as well, not the least of which is staff turnover.

Now, I understand that not all professionals are built to withstand pressure, and that it definitely takes a certain kind of person to pull through tough times, believing that the end reward will be worth the effort. I get this. But even so, I occasionally must examine myself and my own leadership style and consider if I am the one who is clinging to very high expectations, who is guilty of pushing too hard. Asking people to step up to the plate (and then some) can perhaps be what pushes certain kind of managers over the edge. Finding team balance tricky.

I have always boasted that I am good at identifying young talent, and I stand firm on that. One of my biggest joys has been finding young talented people, nurturing them and seeing them grow. But what I have realised in the last few weeks is that, ultimately, it is up to the individual. 

This bring to mind the old adage of leading a horse to water…. There comes a time when the talent has to rise to the occasion, take itself to the water, and drink on its own. Understandably every start-up will undergo a period of finding the right team. Talented people come and go as company culture is established and pieces begin to fit together. To add to this, a new business exerts all sorts of pressure on the founding team: financial, operational and certainly even motivational. There have been a few times when I have wanted to throw in the towel myself, believe me.  

Learning to accept that people move on is a challenge for me but this is natural. Sometimes the glove isn’t a perfect fit and perhaps BON’s strategy of shifting certain paradigms in the hospitality industry and doing things differently is tougher than we anticipated but we will keep forging ahead in what we believe  is the right thing to do.

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