Hotel Executive’s Challenge: using Option Solving?

Not so long ago, I was discussing with a hotel general manager about not getting all the rave reviews he hoped for with his restaurant operation. He and his catering executive had been spending many hours wrangling over the best way forward. From our two-way discussion, we set up a meeting with his catering executive to introduce the idea of Option Solving.

I brought them up to speed on the option solving concept, so they could set about formulating a rational question,  so as to stimulate their whole mind, as follows: “What is our best option for encouraging hotel guests to perceive extraordinary value in our restaurant operation: considering 1) dining is perceived as an amenity, 2) meeting expectations that guest expenses will be reduced, 3) guests are not necessarily educated in restaurant classifications, and 4) we need to offer greater consistency?” They came up with other considerations, too, but these four became their primary ones without overly complicating their quest.

With their question now in play, they set about coming-up with two likely yin and yang “bookends” to become their focusing framework for all other viable options. Their bookends were as follows: “Close down our restaurant” and “Turn-over our restaurant to a local provider.” Take a look and you will see that neither of these were realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example. However, such “bookends” are vital for challenging their intuitive mind to produce the most viable options.

They worked hard to generate a minimum of five options and then went on to produce six. This stretched their respective intuitive-creativity as much as possible. When you look at these six alternatives in our Latest Example, You will notice one is: “Option D: Recover earlier regular business and special event catering.”

Now their “pictogram” was in place, I invited them to set it aside for some emotional distancing. Emotional distancing would allow their intuitive-minds to compare with their life- long experiences recorded there. I encouraged them to allow their subconscious minds to mull it over and pick out their optimal option later that day.

Once they revisited their pictogram, not to spend a lot of time dwelling on it, but rather go with their best instincts. These are likely to produce their most optimal choice. Where they differ, they should discuss their two choices and then agree on one. When that happens, they should formulate an action initiative right-away, while the issues and options are still fresh in their minds. Which option would you have chosen?

Their action initiative will consist of:  What –their choice, How –necessary steps to accomplish, Who –will be involved, When –steps will be completed, Where –to go for allies for assistance.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two weeks time: “Increasing my Organization’s Performance?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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Country Executive’s Leadership Options: using Option Solving?

A couple of months ago I was talking with the Country Executive for an international company. While he enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy, he also missed the opportunity to discuss leadership issues, through having his boss’s office just next door; as well as the nearby opportunity for face-to-face meetings seeking specialist advice on sensitive issues. At that moment, he was grappling with the dilemma of how to get closer to his team members and therefore inspire them to even greater levels of performance. Those team members had also hinted at a similar feeling, since they wanted closer involvement with him.

He was already familiar with the option solving concept, so he readily came up with an appropriate rational question as follows: “What is my best approach for discovering my people’s leadership needs: considering 1) a small office team, 2) differing cultural personalities, 3) prefer to provide a loose-lead, and 4) seasoned players not expecting tight-management?” There were other considerations, too, but these were his key ones without overly complicating his quest.

Now that his question was in play, he immediately sought to produce two likely yin and yang “bookends” to act as his focusing framework for all other viable options. These bookends were as follows: “Let team members do their own thing and not bother them” and “Extreme tight control and pester them for answers.” As you can see, neither of these was a likely option in the circumstances, despite being more fringe options – see our Latest Worked Example. However, such “bookends” were useful for challenging his intuitive mind to generate the most viable options.

After further deliberation, he sought to come-up with a minimum of five options, so as to stretch his intuitive-creativity as much as possible. In fact, you can see he produced six options without trying to stretch too far. Looking at these six alternatives in our Latest Example, you will notice one is: “Option C: Quarterly/ six monthly individual sessions focused on progress…. and more.

Once his “pictogram” was in place, I invited him to set it aside for some emotional distancing. Emotional distancing would allow his intuition to sub-consciously mull over his six options, combined with his initial question, and allow his intuitive mind to absorb the possibilities and compare with his life- long experience base. I encouraged him to sleep on it and pick out his optimal option first thing in the morning when he woke up..

I advised him to immediately work through an action initiative, once he knew his choice, to figure out his course of action while everything was still pretty fresh in his mind. Which option would you have chosen?

His action initiative will consist of What –his choice, How –necessary steps to accomplish, Who –will be involved, When –steps will be completed, Where –to go for allies for assistance.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two weeks time: “A resort executive’s challenge.” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)