Managing organized chaos
Manal Syriani, senior consultant at N4TC, explores the trap of organized chaos which is a business model adopted by some hospitality organizations that are often small in size or individual operators
As consultants for hospitality businesses, we have noticed certain patterns emerging in business strategies that we apply strictly to the Middle East. By reflecting on those patterns, we aim to understand the aspects of the local hospitality industry.
What is organized chaos?
This is a system or process that appears chaotic to an outsider, while having just enough order to achieve positive results. Usually, such systems depend primarily on one individual that has the key to the matrix. Changing any component of the matrix without addressing the entire process will likely result in negative outcomes. Often, such instances are linked to limited support from administration functions.
While such a system appears to be working just fine, it could become a challenge if expansion is being considered. Owners will likely be stuck in a business module that cannot be transmitted or duplicated, hence limiting the potential for growth.
How to untangle
1. Identify the starting point in each layer of the matrix. Think of the critical points that the business will need to operate efficiently and independently. You want your business to rely on systems that allow traceability and accountability, and not on people.
2. Returning to the core values, vision and the end-in-mind when you began the business would be a good starting point.
3. Follow cycles. Work within cycles that have a clear beginning and end, namely: i. Product cycle (i.e. raw materials and resources, processing and the final product) ii. Guest cycle (i.e. communication, engagement, the experience and aftersales follow-up) iii. Employee cycle (i.e. engagement, job requirements, learning and development, benefits, and motivation) iv. Financial cycle (i.e. cash inflows, cash outflows, control and red flags)
4. Think within the box and step back to basics. While thinking outside the box has its benefits and will help differentiate your business, this should only be considered after the main policies and procedures have been laid out and implemented. At this stage, you might want to go back to basics to ensure the organization is in place.
5. A second set of eyes always helps. Involve experts that can help you identify where things went wrong. A consultant or coach will help you identify how to break patterns and think of new connections that are within the acknowledged hospitality standards, while keeping your specific identity intact.
Conditioning can be hard to break. While your efforts will be well placed, you might find yourself falling back into old traps. You will need a support system to keep on track.
1. Communication is key. Your employees are your main asset. Always listen to your key staff and involve them in the decision-making process. Managing through committees could be a good strategy.
2. As owner, you are part of the system, therefore keeping yourself organized is essential. The framework for your involvement in the company should be set. A system should be in place to support you and provide you with the tools needed to maintain your current status quo.