Down the wing, sidestep, dummy pass, accelerate and score. Rugby used to be a simple game of raw power and speed. Not so much these days.
According to many observers, the British Isles rugby side selected to tour Australia in June is the strongest British Lions squad ever assembled. Robust in every department, each player complements the next and the captain has been chosen as much for his motivational skills as his talent on the field. It's a tough squad. It needs to be - the players will be up against the best rugby side in the world.
According to many observers, the class of 2001 is one of the strongest assemblies of Acorn Awards winners to have been selected since the scheme began 14 years ago. Robust in every department and representing every sector and discipline in hospitality, these individuals proved to be a resilient squad when they gathered for the award ceremony last weekend. But they need to be. This 30-under-30s team of managers and potential managers will be tackling an industry in a state of flux as never before.
The axiom that "Tall oaks from little acorns grow" has become a bit of a cliché over the years. The truth of the phrase has not diminished with familiarity, however.
Many of Caterer's Acorn winners go on to achieve great things in the industry (see Caterer, 26 April, page 34) and they continue to prove that hospitality attracts entrepreneurs. No other industry finds room for as many single-minded self-starters. They abound in every sector and in every discipline - from the kitchen to the general manager's office, from the front desk to the chief executive's suite. In food service, hotels, restaurants and pubs, the Acorns demonstrate to the industry that bright sparks are allowed to shine.
But it's not quite as it used to be. These days, single-handed success in the modern business world cannot be achieved quite as easily as before. Employment law, accountancy rules, health and safety regulations, the need for greater marketing sophistication and a more demanding customer base make life more complicated. The successful latter-day catering and hospitality operation is, therefore, likely to be run by an ingenious team, rather than an individual genius.
And building a team is not as easy as it used to be either. With reduced funding in education affecting the quality of college leavers, more and more of those bright sparks need to be developed and trained after they've entered the workplace. Add a growing recruitment problem that demands greater emphasis on retention of staff, and top-drawer staff managers become even more important.
Most recent Acorns have been nominated (and there are an increasing number of nominations year on year) by companies that recognise the need for motivational managers. This doesn't exclude individual talent from being recognised or encouraged, but expansion and success these days is about sharing a vision/ethos/strategy and pulling together.
Down the wing, sidestep, dummy pass, accelerate, collect the team, rally the players, pass the ball and then score.
Caterer & Hotelkeeper