By Angus Winchester

So New Years Eve has come and gone and I am sure that very few Operators have really felt the desire to doing any celebrating. Lockdowns and restrictions and increasing infections and deaths and a general feeling of existential doom have paused our industry and given us few reasons to be cheerful. Yet our industry is fuelled by celebration from birthdays to anniversaries to promotions to merely Date Night and we are invigorated by helping people celebrate large and small events. And while we are so hamstrung by factors beyond our control we should take the time to ensure we show gratitude to those that deserve it and to refresh our ability to celebrate ourselves and our resilient team members.

One of the simplest and most effective ‘management hacks’ I was ever taught involves just that and its known and the Ten Coin Trick. Many of us are taught that managers are there to ensure that processes are followed accurately and consistently and as such when we become managers we spend much of our on shift management trying to spot staff not following processes so we can steer and train them. Yet we often look for the mistakes and not for the lack of mistakes. We step in when we see errors yet stay silent when we see things working as the should and by doing so we miss out on a precious tool. A wise man once said that a ‘pat on the back works better than a kick up the backside’ and after many years I have come to realise the wisdom of this.

But in reality, I struggled to remember to do this as while I was filled with good intentions every shift urgent stuff would happen and I would forget til I was cashing up how I was supposed to be praising my team. So, one day another wise man taught this trick. At the start of the shift put 10 coins in your right hand pocket and every time you give praise for a good well done – especially the small things we don’t notice if you weren’t looking – you move a coin to the other pocket. Your job as a good manager is to move all the coins from one pocket to the other. Simple but brilliant and I have found it to be a great way of giving constant recognition for a job well done that reinforces and inspires more such acts.

And if we are being human and want to improve our lives beyond work try doing this in your everyday outside work life too. Despite all the pain and angst there are always small things we can and should be grateful for and it’s even better for all when we express that gratitude. Those large and public celebrations will come back to our industry but in the meantime let’s use this time to get better at the basics and the small things.