Advice and Wellbeing. Leadership Through Change.

As a leader, you have invested vast amounts of energy into creating the perfect business. You have nurtured your team, and developed values and behaviours that enhance your brand. In the process of doing all that you will have created a harmonious and happy team.

The current uncertainty in our industry has the potential to jeopardise all your effort as your business fights for its survival, protecting your own mental wellbeing during this difficult time often falls to the bottom of the list.

To succeed managers will need every single person to be fully engaged and open to new ideas and ways of working, at a time when anxiety and fear are commonplace. Leadership is the golden resin thread that will hold it all together and if ever there was a time for a clear and well-formed leadership strategy and style, it is now. 

We’re delighted to have teamed up with managment guru Dr Hilary Cooke of Merlin Consultancy and our own HA Ambassador and HR supremo Sean Wheeler to discuss some of the themes and techniques outlined in Hilary’s latest book Picking up The Pieces.

Watch the film.

Picking up The Pieces.

Written for hospitality leaders, Picking up the Pieces is a unique and tested framework, applicable wherever you need teams of people to transition safely, minimise stressful defensive behaviours and enjoy positive and productive relationships.

Or, if you just want to make some plans and choices for leading your own life.

The metaphor for the book is from Kintsugi, a Japanese art from Zen aesthetics which recreates items of beauty from broken pottery and glass. Instead of camouflaging the cracks, the artist carefully mends them with a mix of resin, gold and precious metals, so it is even more beautiful and valuable than it was before it was broken, as well as being stronger. 

Merlin Consultancy have kindly agreed to make Picking up The Pieces freely available to any hospitality manager in return for a voluntary donation to Hospitality Action. It's a great read while enjoying a portion of Invisible Chips.

It will help you to develop a holistic leadership strategy in a practical and structured way for a post-crisis working environment.

To order a copy you can visit the Merlin Consultancy Website or contact Hilary

Keeping yourself together.

As a leader you’ve invested heart & soul into creating something you’re proud of. For many people in hospitality their job role becomes part of who they are as a person and their team are like a family. For some people the prospect of losing their job or business is akin to grief – with all its associated feelings of guilt and helplessness.

It’s important to remember that this situation is beyond your control, and certainly not of your making. The way we perceive events is key and it’s important to talk to someone about what you’re feeling which will help you to gain perspective. Remember, the only thing that is permanent is impermanency, so whatever you’re going through, this too shall pass. Use your energies to think how best to support yourself. 

If you’re good at caring for others but are less focused on your own self-care, have a think about how you would support a friend going through similar stages. Ask for help in the face of adversity, drawing strength from others can prove particularly valuable – consider reaching out to others in a similar situation.

As a leader it’s very easy to prioritise the needs of others ahead of your own – take time to explore your feelings and don’t cut yourself off from friends and loved ones, you can talk to us 24/7 on 0808 802 0282.

Dr Hilary Cooke.

A founding partner of Merlin Consultancy, Hilary is an award-winning executive coach, leadership trainer and facilitator with a special passion for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector.
She holds a PhD in Personnel and Development an MA in Human Resource Strategy, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. Her research study was centred around leadership in the hospitality industry.

An NLP Master Practitioner, one of only a handful of Master Facilitators of FIRO® Theory in the UK, and a Certified Human Element™ Trainer a combination of psychology, behavioural science and business experience helps her to lead individuals, teams and organisations to develop their key strengths. Hilary is Course Director for the prestigious Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Diploma and also runs programmes for the Institute of Leadership and Management – the UK's leading provider of leadership, management and coaching qualifications.

Sean Wheeler BEM.

Sean has spent over 40 years in hospitality growing up through the ranks to senior Operational or Human Resource roles. The brands he has helped grow by having a strong people & guest service culture include TGI Fridays, All Bar One, Vintage Inns, Browns Restaurants, Malmaison & Hotel du Vin, The Dorchester, Coworth Park & 45 Park Lane, Principal Hotels and Kimpton & Regent Hotels.

He is an Acorn winner and has achieved numerous ‘best places to work’ accolades, as well as the Catey HRD of the Year and CIPD award for talent management. In 2012 The Dorchester Collection UK won a prestigious Catey award for HR team of the Year and another for Catey Employer of the Year in 2015.  

Sean was one of the founders of the Acorn Scholarship, chairs the UK People 1st Employer Accreditation Panel, working with The AA to develop talent of the future in catering colleges across the UK. He sits on the Hospitality Action London board and also chairs the Thames Valley Positive Support HIV charity across Berkshire and Hampshire, having been involved since 1993, he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2019 birthday honours list, In November 2019, Sean was also presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality Award at The Hotel Cateys.


He is now running Sean Wheeler Consultancy Ltd focusing on helping hospitality businesses with their People & Culture needs. You can contact Sean here.