LEGACY LEADERS FACING CRISIS: WISDOM THROUGH THE AGES
There’s something about families, and their ability to generate an emotional response!
And you know on RISE – we don’t just focus on the happy, shiny bits and ignore the tougher issues. Which is why our focus on LEGACY: “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!” was so perfect for kicking off Season 3.
Monday the 18th of January saw the return of RISE – unbelievably entering our 3rd SEASON in what we thought would be a 100-day offering. What a family reunion it was – with all the elements of love, sharing, drama, commiseration, laughter and even the inevitable feisty debate that one usually enjoys at family gatherings!
It was a reunion of our metaphorical family – THE RISE TEAM, and you, our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) relatives across the world. Also, our EXECUTIVES IN RESIDENCE were two brilliant leaders of global family legacy businesses that span many generations – Robin Tauck of Tauck Inc. and Adrian Gardiner of The Mantis Collection.
We’re not going to try summarizing all that was said – the episode is worth watching if you missed it. (We’ve have made it easy for you, it’s right below!)
But for the moment, here are some of the interesting points that came through.
The Future Looks Bright!
You know how RISE loves checking in with viewers at the start of each episode? Our Season 3’s first episode did just that – checking in on how you were feeling the moment 2020 became 2021. In our first audience poll 69% of you reported feeling optimistic about facing 2021. Yes, there was also an acknowledgement of fear and exhaustion, which is to be expected after the year we’ve all had, but to still have a prevailing sense of optimism is something to be celebrated. This attitude was also reflected by our guests, who shared their experiences of managing family businesses through crises over the years. These crises have included war, depressions, droughts, terror attacks and pandemics! Yet despite the trials of past crises and this one, both Adrian and Robin reported feeling optimistic about the TT&H industry’s recovery in the coming months.
We’re Not Wearing Shades
COVID19 continues its relentless spread across the globe, prompting further, and more stringent lockdowns and travel restrictions. International tourism has reverted by 30 years to 1990 levels with 2020 down over 75%, and hotel occupancy is only 10 – 15 % higher now than it was in the first lockdowns.
Sadly, global aviation is expecting to reach 2019 levels of momentum only in 2024. For our industry, aviation is the primary artery. And aviation needs open borders and skies to be able to fly consistently, globally.
We also can’t minimise that in our personal and business lives, many of us are still battling the physical and financial effects of the pandemic, either personally or through the experiences of those we care about.
So, 2021? We are all in for a rough ride.
But that is where the hope comes from – the ‘all’.
Crisis Creates Unity
We’ve seen this in our industry and in our RISE community over the past months, as sectors, companies and individuals have come together to share information. We’ve been inspired by the collaboration and creativity we’ve seen in problem solving and seeking solutions. Both Robin and Adrian referenced how their businesses and their families had been strengthened and drawn closer through navigating this crisis together. The stakes are higher when your business is a family business, as your name is on the door and you have a legacy to uphold.
We loved when Robin shared openly and honestly how COVID-19 has been different to past crises. Now, whilst a third generation company with different levels of family engagement in the business:
“We are united. We are united in support of this company. Frankly it has brought us closer together than I have ever seen it before, so it has been a blessing in a number of ways.”
Yet there are still many parallels between businesses and families in the way that they pull together to manage crises.
As Adrian said:
“The whole virus, all the negatives we have had and all that we have had to live through has certainly got us to think. We sit as a team regularly and we say to ourselves ‘How can we survive this?’ Because it is painful, believe me it is really painful. We will get through it. But it is a challenge.”
One thing that both Robin and Adrian agreed on was that leaders need to communicate, especially during crises. When facing challenges we all seek information, insight, anything, to help make sense of what is happening. It’s natural – we’re only human.
This is why it is critical that leaders are visible, and audible. Crisis calls on leaders to step forward, showing up personally, creating unity through human connections, not relying on official statements. Leaders need to show they care. We all need to show we care… and are cared for.
We all know this, as evidenced by the fact that we’re all here! That is also why RISE has been here for you since the pandemic started to shut down our industry. Together, and individually, we’ve seen businesses and individuals coming together like never before, working together, sharing resources and giving back to their communities. We are re-arranging, re-imagining, and re-building. We’ve seen the TT&H industry offering meals and accommodation to essential workers and assisting with testing and vaccination roll – outs. As Demian showed in one of his Headlines this past week, happily we now also see examples such as Washington DC targeting February 1st to vaccinate restaurant workers. This is a great acknowledgement of restaurant staff as essential workers not only within our industry, but within the community at large.
Interestingly, Robin and Adrian both emphasised the importance – now more than ever – of tourism giving back. This is true, they say, in terms of conservation, and regional community support. Tourism is dependent on wildlife and community resources for its survival, and they predict the tourists of tomorrow will be increasingly conscious and discerning travelers!
Both of our guests stated the importance of giving – and of showing customers that you care. Adrian stressed the importance of focusing not only on survival, but on using this opportunity to constructively look at how you can make a positive impact as a business. Call it ‘pivoting’, call it ‘innovation’, call it whatever you want. Speedy creativity and the ability to find new ways of getting the job done are vital!
We loved the Tauck Inc. message of ‘keeping the porch light on’, and reminding customers that they care, that they’re still there that they’ll be there for them when this is all over! This loyalty to customers, and prioritisation of their wellbeing, seems to be a secret of building future success. Forward bookings certainly express that truism.
There are also personal legacies to consider. As leaders, both Robin and Adrian shared how their care for the industry is now connected to not for profit work – working to help the future of our industry. In Robin’s case it is her now being at the helm of Tourism Cares. Adrian takes great pride in his creation of CCF Africa. These are important parts of their legacies not just professionally, but personally. We all have the ability to make a lasting difference. We all have the opportunity to turn this COVID19 chapter of our lives into one of our most important, and proudest, chapters.
What would you like your COVID19 legacy to be? And why?
We love hearing your views, so please keep them coming, not just through our episode polls, but also through comments on this forum. Let us know your perspectives, and also what you’d like to see more of, and hear more about on RISE.
Our next episode, GOING PLACES – TRADING SPACES will be on February 1st – same time and place. See you there!
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