The leadership team of a luxury hotel explore new ways of connecting and working to advance excellence
The Corinthia London is a luxury hotel in the heart of London. Part of the wider Corinthia Hotels group, the London property boasts beautiful views, an award winning spa, and prides itself on excellence and uncompromising service for it’s clients.
- The challenge: stepping up executive collaboration to continue to advance the leadership and quality of service of the hotel.
- The work: executive retreats, working sessions, skill development, and coaching.
- Outcomes: Greater awareness and understanding, higher trust, and improved collaboration
The Managing Director, Thomas Kochs, was initially interested in RISE’s support to enable a high performing executive team. With a successful hotel in a competitive sector, it was important that the executive team invested in their development and effectiveness to enable them to continue to stand out from the competition.
“Working on developing trust was powerful, emotional and we left a more connected team than when we arrived.”
Clare James, HR Director
At the end of 2019, we met with each executive to better understand their different perspectives and individual leadership capabilities; this started to give us a sense of what level of support might be most useful.
In January 2020, we facilitated a 2 day executive retreat, focussed on deepening connection and trust between the group, and shifting them out of their operational mindsets and into a strategic discussion about the vision for the hotel in the coming years. We utilised Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team as a way to help lay out the important foundations required for a good team to become a great team.
Just two months later, the COVID-19 Pandemic rocked the hospitality industry in unfounded ways! The hotel had to suspend operations, furlough staff, and do whatever it could to survive the turbulence that was to come. This ultimately came down to Thomas and his executive team. Whilst our work together took a pause, Martin made sure to check-in with Thomas throughout this challenging time and see how things were going.
At the end of 2021, with the hotel starting to get back on its feet and performing well, we re-engaged with the wider team to help them to process their experiences of the past 18 months and embed learning to further accelerate their position in the sector. We helped the group to develop practices for skillful conversations, this was a team that typically shied away from challenging conversations, and so part of our work was to help tease out some of the unspoken dynamics in the group. In addition to our ongoing work with the executive team, we also supported engagement with the Heads of Department, inviting them into discussions on the culture of excellence at the hotel.
The latest phase of work has been to introduce a Braintrust process within the executive team. Emulating Ed Catmull’s work at Pixar, it set about to provide spaces for the executive team, one at a time, to present and get input into their area of the hotel and their plan for increased excellence. This was not just about the content, but a space that shifted the group into a more collective and supportive discussion, providing opportunities to practice different ways of thinking, sharing and responding to one another. Each session, with their different formats and levels of engagement provided useful lessons and insights to the group on how they currently work and how they could be better.
We finished this series of sessions with a full day facilitated executive day, and a follow up half day with the Heads of Department to continue to engage the wider group in the conversation about the advancement of the hotel.
“I really valued the opportunity to be in the same room and critique how we function as individuals and as a group of leaders, challenge our ways of thinking, styles and collaboration to achieve a real culture of excellence.”
Aysun Mut, Spa Director
During the period of our work together the executive team has become more deeply connected and understanding of each others leadership styles and preferences. They are better able to appreciate the expertise they bring and they have more appreciation for the different areas of the hotel and how they each contribute to the whole. The quality of conversation has improved, with individuals able to refrain from jumping as quickly to solution giving or judgement and showing a quality of inquiry and curiosity into understanding the challenges they face that wasn’t present before.
The processes we have introduced and practices for improved meeting and strategy planning have enabled the group to not only discuss their collective vision for the hotel but also to plan and track progress against this vision.
At executive level, the feeling of silos has been reduced although there remains work to be done on this at HoD level.
RISE continues to provide support to Corinthia London, through individual executive coaching and mentoring, and we look forward to continuing to support the leadership of the hotel going forwards.