S2 Episode 5 - Leon and the Royal Albert Hall


Hi there and welcome to another episode of leading James Ashton. This time we talked Moroccan meatballs and musical ICAL extravaganzas. My first guest is John Vincent. He's the CO founder and chief executive of Healthy Fast Food Chain Leon their fixture on many British high streets and are now expanding pending fast in the US alongside. John Is Craig Hassle. He's the chief executive of the Royal Albert whole a landmark London venue of course it hosts four hundred performances in the main auditorium auditory every year and attracts one. Point seven million visitors. You can read more about both of them in our episode notes as this podcast invites to leaders to compare notes about how they run their organizations with supported by Saxton Bam file the executive search firm and leadership advisor find out. More about this press' at Saks dot com. I began this conversation. Sation asking Craig about first impressions when he walked into the album. Well the first time I went to the venue was to put on Romeo and Juliet and ballet of course normally is in theater not in a big space level hall so seeing the Robert Hall and thinking how on Earth will ballet work work here was a bit. I don't think it was great. It works really well and the best thing was the audience absolutely loved. It wasn't ballet audience. An audience of all sorts of all walks walks of life and they had the best time so great. But what about when you go in and then you'll you're well. It was even better. I mean I've worked as a promoter hiring the rabbit hole and also so as a car producer with the whole coming in as the Wrexham. I knew the whole very well. I was a bit donor because I hadn't run a venue before it only run performing. What's companies and I always used to? Well we're the ones that do all the work we make the sets and costumes. We do all the rehearsals. We hire the act of the dances and songs on. What does the venue to vendors turns on the lights off planes? They do a lot more. Because there's only so much you can change the whole it's been there for almost one hundred and fifty years is Joel purpose protect the whole promote arts and science. So you have to put your modern spin on that brief. If you like. It's funny you say that there's actually quite let you can change the great thing with Robert Hall is it's founded founded on the a vision from Prince Albert. who was very clever guy? The German who came to live in England married Korean Victoria. He was a visionary fellow. He had this whole idea. Eight to democratize learning an arts and science and entertainment on all sorts of things which is why he built the Vienna and the Netra Museum and Imperial College and and the Abbott Hole. So now what I WANNA do is is go back to the vision and say what what was Albert doing why that he wanted to build this place. What was it about and so making the whole more? Oh accessible more open more available to everyone is something that I'm really can't do. And Albert would love it. He'd be bored. I channel prints out. Almost we're told his his body were joe mode about you because one hundred and fifty years of heritage you have got fifteen. There's always an element of mission. I think I mean you. You never set up Leon Justice L.. Food did you. So what did you say. Now it turns out it was this. Maybe grammar saying it was to help humankind fundamental journey to wholeness. I'm not sure I quite in other words it out which I guess. That's help people connect with themselves. Each other in the planet was basically. Why why why we did it and subsequent subsequent reading it turns out that that is what most philosophies most religious man's fundamental or human clients fundamental journey so oh? I didn't know quite doing that but I think that's vaguely what we're doing. Sounds a bit grand reference L.. But actually I need to find out more about prince album so I didn't the history So yes I'm where in the tradition. I think I think we're talking at least by the end of this recording there should be the makings of Leeann within the Album Delay Joan. How're you doing on that mission then because it is equal challenge? You're growing an incredible rate I. We're growing. Yeah but I I. I think possibly we've had an in observable terms an impact on others are doing as well so I I often say that actually. Our biggest biggest impact is in changing McDonald's. If I think about some of the sustainable initiatives some of the desire to make food a a little bit better for you create environments that may be connect people a bit more. I think we've had something of an impact on on those Those Houdini Hennequin who ran zero. It was the architect of the turnaround. Here he worked with Steve easterbrook. Who worked for him in the UK is now the global person and then hand had any said anything you see in Donald today until this isn't entirely true love exoneration? He said everything seems that they were trying to change. Just because we stood in front of Karlovy Street and we said this is what good fast food so I think probably probably our impact is being as much on people across the world. Even they were owning six countries. I think probably been convened directing away. But I think it's the question more about us. Yeah we on sustainability. We were well ahead of the curve in terms of plastic screen and as you all of our restaurants powered by green energy where we by the energy which is the majority of been well ahead of the curve in terms of moving away from me to plants. I think well ahead of the curve. In terms of sustainable fishing policies are chairs the Council for sustainable business for the UK government hinder. And I wrote in the school few plan for the UK which finally tried to. And I think he's having some success. Join out food across. All the food happens in a school and that has a dramatic impact the schools of the UK in terms of the atmosphere in schools assaulted attainment. So I think probably Leon is just one manifestation one leg one chap- to really of the of the. We're trying to make more broadly. We're not Jesus but you know we're very naughty boys and girls and in the case of Allegra we're trying we do know why. What is the thing that people are will be picking up this winter? What's the the new food on the hot in using the hot new thing? Okay so I think that we have two things particular popular at mytalk. One is the the new gluten nuggets. So we've introduced and the other was Vegan Burger so I I think we're seeing a massive bifurcation of people that on the one hand want to eat Vegan We've got great after. Say it takes. A DOC is unbelievable. Say Are we taking taking a love Burger. And we're turning into festively. A Ho Dot grout Burger. Because it's GonNa be an oboe but with hoisin sauce cucumber in the Vegan bug. It is unbelievable. So I think I think people are going to be Eighteen and I think that we're going to see a massive bifurcation of people. Like you Jeremy Clarkson on the one hand saying I'm going to carry on eating beef. Thanks very much and the other tribe which is going to continue acceleration towards veganism. So that's sort of the big bifurcating transparency. Next on into the Rota to this a craig. The One hundred fiftieth. Anniversaries is hoping into view the album as well as interpreting you know getting to know Prince Albert as you have done you have to think. How do we celebrate? This added. We get ready for the big birthday looking at the numbers. There's nothing this is not a burning platforms. Nothing going wrong. This four hundred shows in the main auditorium every year. You probably can't get any more in. We can't really put more shares on the staff would kill me if we tried lawsuit at four hundred one shows and that's with four weeks dark for set up some things so when we total weeks entitles a few days even their four discrete weeks. So there's one week for the survey set up one week for the problem so I know this I mean we just saw the plans ends for sex show in January and it has a massive tank of water and a water curtain and tons and tons of kit. Come certain one week. So one fiftieth. We basically creating the high as the coming in and I have gradually changed the mix since I've been at the whole to do a few more shows ourselves just so we can increase quality and we can have control over the artists that kind of thing. I mean. We'll always have of course the proms forever. We hope yet circle Soleil we hope forever lot of the Rock and pop acts but again back on vision we want to have more events going into the future which are about debate and discussion. It's interesting he talked about the way. The Planet's coming in the run-up hold she'd be the goatee space for discussion of these things. That's come and talk about climate change and talk about veganism diets or quantity quantity or a place in the world forum. It's a floor space. So is what parliament parliament. Yeah it was design a Democratic Space London Senate which could move the house upon onset steady. Oh problem with vermin. Yes yeah okay. So it's not necessarily do more about doing better indifferent because I was surprised to see that the science sciences and the mission as well so the planet and so on you can do more especially in the challenge is how do you make a great eight to vent. This is good as the teenage. Trust Week of up councils upstarts Emma Challenge. We have its challenges that everybody wants to hide their overhaul. So it's it's a buyer's market as far as which insane so we're able to to curate the highs and we can say look that's great but it's not good for us and the moment silence on the shows that are on there we can curate but we do want to go more woah towards a debate discussion and the signs agenda is tricky because we need to sell five and a half thousand tickets to fill the arena. Now there aren't that many scientists non-french into the scientists out there that can fill five thousand savings on pluvial permit signs of looking now at an astronomy conference coming up in twenty twenty one which would have astronauts and pop singers who are scientists. So I went named names confirmed yet but there are surprisingly a lot of popstars mathematicians and scientists Bronco on Koa. Brian Cox by may be free and because of the you can hang a lot of things down on Stein that the signs but it's interesting historically online spoke whole right. We had the first public demonstration of electric lighting. The rollout wow winston listen churchill at the first televised address prime minister suffer jets protesting so love walking round because my wife presents the problems. I I love walking around and seeing those old posters of goes right from the problems or Elton John to the launch of the vessel. Yeah exactly so craig you all the new you can still interpret it and push out in different different genres and doing things we can and really important point is that we're not a museum or mausoleum the whole was always a place where contemporary stuff was happening. So we we like to say history is coming. Look out because amazing stuff's going to happen happen. The next hundred fifty years the Royal Albert Hall so we encourage young bands and emerging artists. Me Hey do workshops with. Dj's Pretty WanNa make sure that we remain relevant as a place as the problems have very relevant. People think the problems he just the last night the problems problems whether you know he. The director the promise of brilliant guy came from blind born and he will typically always commissioned a new piece of music for the first night of the promise which is fantastic. NFL young comprises. He Champions Women conductors. He's he's Britain so the problems is great for us new music in the future music but also other parts of the year so your plan is to keep getting bringing the world to alcohol and and John Increase in your take on to the world you know you mentioned sick markets. It seems like there's a real focus on the US. You have to go home at some point the big well. Do you know what the America is. A complete startup isn't it you know you have to have a founders mentality to the homophobes foods kamini shops to open. We opened eleven months ago. And we've got another six that we are about to open we're all in DC also Washington. Yes and Going with wild but we have to just water the plan. As if it's a new little equal say I said look. We're not taking an oak tree from the UK and trying to plant in the sort of America hoping that it will Will spread gotta start not just with the economy with a sequoia tree with the sequoia seed snake oil. Whatever whatever you yeah working with the acorn analogy so yeah but we have to grow fast in America because I think the lines between consumer concepts and how people see businesses he's really blurred in America is in if apple isn't doing very well as a business people that WANNA use their iphones such a nexus access between the kind of how fast you grow? How successful you'll seem to be as a business barefoot people kind of feed on success in America? So you've got to demonstrate growth which is interesting when you know. We're trying to in a way that sustainable but you've got a Nisha when I think about Leon in London where we are. I don't think it was fast food. I think it was convenient food. That is healthy. It tastes good so I would think in in the states you could you. Could you talk about a nation. We separate to the foster. And there's a real potential at holy owning that or do you use franchisees. Initially were wholly owning because we wanted to be able to say control. I don't think I'm ever to to do our best to wrap. Our arms around demonstrated franchisees that we can do it because that was my next question is is you know I was crazy for you. Coming surprised you only have I think fifty old outlets in the UK seems to be all the right street corners. But then you go to the states and then you really have to work out. I guess to preserve this culture. You've nurtured. How'd how'd you do so? I think you do it by having Someone like Nikki who we do have who's had people who has done here who can re read replicate the culture as Steve Head. The is an amazing guy from the point of view of coaching positively with reputation him. He's gone over there. So you know we. We take in the expense required to really invest vest locally. But then you have to recognize. I think that the cover of Vogue magazine look different in India. Different from how does in the UK doesn't America so in having the same brand positioning. You actually need to adapt how you look at the context and the soil changes that Ashley. Actually the plant is going to grow up different. So that's why I'm constantly trying to work how what needs to be replicated because it's Liam or what needs to change because Leon in the American environment needs to look like this so that's that's that's the magic cannot that's the kind of magic formula is important trying to understand can still be fun. The bigger you get because of your about revenue is about one hundred million at the moment and your you've been growing at twenty five percent still be fun. Can you still taste all the new menu items and all that stuff or does it have to become muscle it I find as a disruptor and we just into this exit sort of work with Come from chemistry of three communities of disrupters scaling doesn executor's and the scale is from the ones that missed out because they somehow look a bit boring. We've understood Actually as we grow me as a disruptor having more scales scales around me actually makes me perform better on a bigger stage if I can use the an album on not stuck in A. I'm not stuck in the provincial theatre. Almost all overhaul so for me the leverage I get from having the scale that I have is actually more liberated rates in the is constraining at the moment who knows what's down the road for the moment. Having a fantastic had marketing had food helps etc.. He's actually she quite liberating to me to have a skate. Those scales working with me. That was far better than your tree. Analogy I'll thank. I come back to you is. They're fun in allowed in the organizations that you run me. What is your style of leadership? I try to as much as possible. Keep my hands out of the the the business I try and lead the team. It's tricky when you come from not prophets in smaller companies. We used to organizing the tour during the marketing. Now Short. Same John You you want to get your hands dirty. But you've got to trust your team so I think the trick is hire people that you trust as you're saying and let them do their job. Obviously we'll always have a view but just trying to let them do the job and and also accept that. I'm not always right. Sometimes it's subjective and it has to be fun we putting on shows ultimately uh-huh and in the past I've put on shows that's my that's my job and that's to entertain people and educate my surprise at many entertained. So if it's not fun something's going wrong. I think people associate she ate a seriousness with belts Jillian. We need a serious platt an aggressive business plan Jordan amazing for but actually there's there's sort of a mixed view on the on the alcohol and you referred to previous interviews. I mean people do associated with a great night out the big extravaganza and so on. But it's quite an intimidating building and people would necessarily wandering there for coffee in the middle of the day. I think is something you'll trying to trying to change that I mean and we. I'm working with a very imposing Victorian building with twelve doors. I challenge is to find money before you like. It doesn't matter. It's a part of the plan I'm working on now. Is this again. Back to the democratisation principles of Prince Albert. I opened the building up so actually opened the doors during the day. Come in for a coffee for church. There's exactly Make the ground floor gallery show off the archive and common enjoy. It do the workshops and bringing lots more kids and involve the local community. And so we're doing a lot of work in that area operationally in programming wise As she wanted to do with the BBC which is fantastic. I uncalled relaxed Prom where we do a concert with an orchestra and it's for people with autism children and we say to the audience. He may make as much noise was Eli brings friends the the stewards down the doors in case anyone's free except for that don't freak out because their music is brilliant and and I get letters from from parents. I was always terrified to bring my autistic son onto a concert because he makes too much noise. A came along with Robert Hall had the time I felt innovator comes normally think goodness Joel. philosophically is really important back to you. John what's the thing. What's the thing we really worry about? The could go wrong. Something about supply chain or whatever. Just not worry I worry about. I really worry about food safety and allergies and obvious obvious reasons these papers in the last couple of years. You'd work out why I'm so concerned about it. I'm concerned about it because unfortunately distri however much you Focus on safety issue number one priority. it's not you things this guy role and so I've got in trouble six months or so ago what I was saying. You know what Maybe he's actually. He'll the things that we do at Leland to make Kosovo as safe as possible please come audit them yourself. Please come and share your thoughts on them. Hey the things that still can go wrong any system and I think I need to be able to communicate it to everybody that there are still things that can go roaming any well money system and um so I I I. I sincerely lie awake at night worrying about that. That kind of thing. I would say having having been played hall in someone coming to somewhere like Leonardo swear And and having having an allergic reaction. That's probably the thing that I worry about most. Okay Craig well we live and die by I think all the NPS net promoter score. So we we do this qualitative the questionnaire after you come into your show and we ask you about the show we ask you about the toilets about the food about the way you were treated. How comfortable is your seat was hot or cold enough in How is the sound everything and we tracked that every every performance and we will use that to improve the sound or improve? The restaurants improves the toilets and for whatever we can do. Interestingly since I've been at two and a half years Rick Ashley has scored the highest on the NPS highs in the toilets as a as a complete nightmare going to give him up. All your good value. John would you recommend me to a friend would do you in the next booth like that. Yeah that's that's the thing John. Let's go back to the beginning. If I could. And the most interesting thing I've discovered about going I was involved in the creation of that promote score pain. I really love it. It's very hard I should say it's interesting isn't it of Seventies. Actually quite good is there. It's not seventy percent. No no no. No it's off off the detractors. Does you take away the neutral people who take the bottom six you take away the you take neutral post and it's the the netting off of the positive and negative and it's really fussing back to the question John. I mean being in the beginning of net promoters score. And you've you've married very well you so I was gonna say back in time. Huron can I call them. Discos listen very clever. Join US on your website. It's always it's it's you not only not only did them with another overachiever. Richard Reid from innocent drinks. Yeah did we start with rent co please I I think I was. I think from him I was an officer and he was. He ran the boiler era which was the mistaken that we do something called. Please together do you never say. Never say never my Vince Comey did a GIG. Richard Branson Yeah it was really proud of it but yeah these events they will everyone in the Europe of us who jumping up and down to come on. Eileen by DIXIES OF SOFT cell forming tainted the southernly here at university it was the switch went on and dance music suddenly probably one thousand nine hundred. Don't replace decks so we had this terrible event which passion P. A. S. H.. Ed there was free pizza literally. We had a DJ all the work between turned ended up free pizza pissed off. We were left with an empty docile. So we we change that to please And it was fortunately growing success and then I had an incident production company where we did a big dons events concerts etc so that was really my other than being a journalist. They'll Bailey for my uncle. That was my real first business really. Yeah and then you know via via proctor and gamble bull and consulting in Bank of inches in you spent many years at Bain. Doing net promoter scores and so on and then is it quite a journey to go from being the strategy buff into a leader of an auburn a startup if you like all the way through. PNG and Bena had my business so both were pretty flexible and allow me to do that. So I was still having to kind of do the get-out events be the last person to leave knackered while you load the truck up so there was probably some kind of continuity between that kind of event undoing restaurants however I do think that Yes I remember one night done four shifts in a row. I've done Friday night A double shift on a Saturday Sunday and and the double shift on the Monday Bank Holiday because I think he was away. I was so tired and I dropped this. This trae from this Till and literally every monsoon about four thousand coins and they just rolled under every piece of equipment and I was spent four hours trying to find all the money and then I had to walk home. 'cause there there's no transport and I was thinking you know what there is a difference between consulting running these restaurants and we'll free pizza. It wasn't bad but it wasn't because you you learn to Bain lots of businesses and leaders. Who are doing it wrong and you thought I can do better than this? Sit It down with Henry Dimbleby and decide on startup idea. Yes so Henry and Allegra. I think we were as much inspired by people that were doing. Well I looks took people you know even I never had to plaza. Let's go is showing out because the French economy The guy that wants to go near Anita Roddick who directly a new from bodyshop Southwest Airlines in America per fun at the heart of the business. Even though safety is our number one priority so I think it was probably inspired. By seeing great people I did also think potentially the big business was teeny bit of humanity at times And some of those leaders one entirely in touch with the people who are working in their shops factories. Justin lock it now. Do you think yeah I think so. yeah Would you think I think they that trying harder but I think there's a there's still a division between in sort of the Sheen in the reality if you like so. I think for a lot of leaders. It's quite hard to to really really put it. You know they say this is at the center of our business but I think six quite hard for them to live it day after day after day and so on and I think also this pressure depending on who owns the business has a bit more freedom. I think it's still by the founder but you know if you're on the stock market and I remember interviewing Paul Polman Unilever quite a lot. He said that the only thing that gives me license to do all the good stuff is keeping the profitably shareholders and I'm inspired by the leadership of the guy is it. WHAT'S THE AMERICANS ALUMINIUM companies? Elko yes who are put some fighting from elsewhere anyway so So little was about the guy that took Alco and the UH and he went. She's first shareholders meeting which was analyst meeting. And he said. I've only hates talk to you about safety under my tenure. Only talk about safety and we're GONNA make the Safest Company in America and everyone's like. Yeah thanks very much. What about capital It's like no no. I'm hated to hedge email. hatestock about safety His tenure became the safest one of the safest companies in from one of the least safe and the share price quadrupled. Because every sleep. Suddenly if you do one thing well you do everything so I do some light that kind of I oh I think takes us. The CEO can stand up to the shareholders and a CEO that can provide a vision for the shareholders and it might not be over the next eighteen months but it certainly is balancing short and long-term term. They go yeah. I read my those in a public environment and the environment and I think sometimes you do get brave. CEO's are either Arctic enough courageous enough to re educate the shoulders. I think it's important that we support those kind of I totally agree with you and and I think that trick with being a CEO is you've you have to leave the vision. Listen and keep the keep up there above the clouds and understand what's going on. Let your team got on with that. But keep selling the vision to your to your guys. I mean I did some work with Disney away from London Olympics and Disneyland Paris the whole Disney Goto is magical. Everyone's magical and they are extraordinarily good at this whether it's the guy sweeping the streets or serving the burgers or operating the rides it's magical. Yeah and they live and breathe. It's it's a really strong culture. You have an easier Rodney stakeholders Craig Abajo. 'cause you you got. The Queen is patron crans. Patrons is wonderful quaint silly but I want to know a little bit about your beginnings because it looks like those a time when you may have. I've been an actor and I don't want to be on the stage recently so I thought ah never get ahead so then there was these roles in marketing and related and the the transformational role is very long title. But you had to bring the Razzle Dazzle Hassle to the Sydney Olympics in two thousand basically. I'd three portfolios and we joke about it saying it basically bunting parties and things which is true so I ran the cultural program for Sydney Olympics Pixel Olympics revolt those fireworks. I well effectively this. This is actually the most terrifying night was we had. It was the night before the opening ceremony and the guy that had run the La Olympic said. He said Craig would do something. Really amazing not before because the whole world's in town right so we did. This event at Sydney Opera House had on driver Celli singing cash carrying the Olympic torch giving it to Andrea. Who's saying in our the go-to Newton? John it was amazing but at the same time we had to turn the rings on the on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and it was an absolute nine hundred. The hold it worked with it and was that was that. Was that the first time you regard as yourself. You're leading a team. Must have been a Ludi people on the ground to make that happen. She was quite a small team. Initially it was a four year Gig we had four festivals and the the core teams any about forty people by the time we got to the year. The two thousand matches the last of the four festivals ahead about six hundred staff including all the contractors and the various companies and so on so it was massive. And we honestly had no idea what we're doing. We're very young young team and there was the first time Sydney ever hosted anything like this. The scale was beyond what would ever imagined so so it was good training that you just. Let's just do a straw poll. What do you think we should do this? Okay let's do that deadline. Very interestingly only in the Olympic Games ever all you had to kind of people. They're sort of the engineering folk. You've made the venues and that sort of stuff and people like us who came from show folk and they kept impressing upon us at the opening ceremony is eleven in September two thousand at seven pm or whatever and we will of course it. Is You know we're used to show going up seven thirty every night whereas if you're an engineer eh wins. The bridge finished. Well let's finish finish thing so Interest to Bali started. That's right that's right so worry too much But the scale was was then. When you're done that did you think wow I've done the ACA I can do anything now? I'm I'm the boss last question. Maybe maybe but then people came to sing for you. I guess I guess I mean it was certainly. It was a good job for me and it did give you a profile beyond just Sydney which Hawaii ended up giving avalon. Probably so yeah. Since those early days of spilling coins all over the floor. You're a fully formed leaders. You sit here today. What have I loved yeah? I think I've learned how useless humans are any in particular. Humans are wrecked by surfing. Shame Anger Gary Insecurity and it's basically job of a leader is just to deal with that to try and get people beyond that so I think what I've learned is that I've learned partly I think Leon and the associate I should work. I've done With the Muslim wing which I have learned last five years is that With their humans are very easily manipulated through what we might cool Ligo which is principles. Shane Principles of anger principles affair and I think that in order to create an amazing organization you have to allow people to understand that and get beyond that so I think that's the number one thing that I've learned. Whatever size jigsaw piece I am I need to be that I need to educate my teams That's who I am. Allow them to be there. Cy Shane Jigsaw piece. And then together we can make the jigsaw puzzle. So that's kind of the number one probably framework. I think I've loved some of that. Thinking develops there around twenty fourteen worth three founders and then you were pushed out in front as you are the CEO So then you have have to have the bigger thoughts about Organization Leadership D. I think thoughts is one word maybe ability to not think and act on instinct and intuition right. I'm probably in the probably trying to over. Think I I believe in it acting as as a leader without an older employee guilty of Creighton to any mental constructs. I think I probably at that point realized that I have to lead in the way that I have instinctively felt as Asian has needed And I think being liberated as a knowing that you are going to lead not according to someone else's rulebook according to what your instincts telling you how should be leading I think that's sort of breakthrough which I had craig tell me about mentors. People who I think there's a number of people Australia and those formative years who really told you to go for it and go for it Well if I got way back to being high school which is an awful long time ago The reason I ended up in the arts is because I had to brilliant teachers who championed championed rumbustious young kids to see symphony orchestras and see dance and theater. And that just I have my eyes to a whole world. I would never have seen same. Where the name Cepeda Jensen and bill clock and they were sensational? These two guys and I I would have been embarrassed. I was doing something else. You know if went for these guys and I still keep in touch with them and they they bring fellas so they were the first two I suppose and then when I went to the opera there's a guy called Donald McDonald who announced his real name. Goalpara Goalpara his parents and he has his mental many many years. Right through Work if you're working the Olympics and beyond as well and it's just useful with these guys and Newport heritage on through your life just sounding boards even definitely. You had the really dumb questions you can look at being stupid about this job or this decision on just something you said before. I think you know when you get to this point. You want to also make sure that your team feel go. Drop permission to fail. Because that's how you learn absolutely screw things up and you can. You can debrief on ago. That was a couple. Let's think about it and we'll continue to nationalism. I mean the perfectionist businesses. You know they take eighteen months for them to fail. Yes that's fine. I'll start now. I expect you to fail today and the environment today when I think about the ballet world ballet when I was running English National Ashok. La We're talking about. McMillan and Ashton is too great and British car. Who in the day most works? They created values the works. We remember the ones that survived. I have all these years. What one thing I've fascinated by and I did? I did put a little bit in the book. Gladys written is about this idea of total quality management because what happened was American over to Japan after the war and said we want we build your economy. Because we've been so so here's how to do do it you try you failed Blah Blah. Then in in the sixties American Biz industry had failed because it was very top down very conglomerate-led and they said the Japanese what you're doing and they said Oh. We're just doing what you told us to do. A really what was that. Just learn fail adapt and then the new mom was in the eighties. We what Japan was doing which which we thought was perfect And so we thought total quality management men. Everything has to be perfect. You Comet mistake now the perfectionism of a Sony. TV It came from the thousands of mistakes has gotten to that outcome. Yeah so I think the yeah perfectionism and the lack of different Joe. It gave me some of these failures than no Leeann. Yes Almonte Golic just something something on the eastern episode failures okay so making many too complex to begin with number one opening a restaurant in Brompton road that didn't work Because it was behind a tree about ten meters out and you the tails. What else loads stuff? So I went to one point. I took the photographs off the menu balls and went to a grid system where you can have everything everything different ways like a sort of your. Have Your Walker meatballs in this this this and have your tied chicken. This whatever. It is so screwed. That up What else have I screwed up? I think I make some mistakes. We will do. We have to learn quickly and leave plum. Maybe but it but it is the these are not these. Don't sound you're not saying. Oh we we're entering. We shouldn't these details. Oh okay yes also. Haven't we saw. We've run out of money at one point. That's a reasonable amount of my money back in removing the house or other things that we just run of the mill loss of so many issue. I do think that I went to see Steve ells who runs to Portland. which is a big American American fall schedule and he said you watch when the code? I think it's all the food tasting heater japodlay. The whole organization fell apart because nothing bad ever happened to everyone in the organization was used to working at this well feted well loved financially seemingly impervious business business. Suddenly the confidence was wrecked in the entire organization. And I think the I think we're blessed that we screwed up so many things. Uh Craig talked a little bit about motivations. What gets you out of bed in the morning to do to run the alcohol? Is it putting something great on stage all well. There's a lot a lot of so I would say my my team still. I've got A. I've got a great bunch. Their assignment avoid love working. They're all our whole. They really driven by it. You know we don't pay particularly well. A lot of our stuff work underground or behind the scenes. They have no public facing role. A lot of the students have to deal with a lot of crap. You know from people But the the culture is really strong and I think that gets me out of bed most of always knowing how those guys work what what makes him getting British public appreciate the alcohol enough. I do do you ever since the rollout. It's a much loved institution the way I describe it. I say you know it's such A. It's such a special thing for every member of the audience and for every artist and everyone is welcome. It's not elitist. We ever designed to be elitist. But it's really special to go there with performing on stage. I mean the. There's a dvd of Adele Dell at the Robert Hall which is the highest selling DVD of a concert. Ever anywhere because it's her at that place. It's amazing in cakes. Yeah when Kate you test. The problems I mean is clear that the artists are not pretending to be emotion overwhelms performing there they really are affected affected by it and I take in donated. The singer literally looks around as I see. I've got to cherish this. Remember this moment it goes back. I think we have alleviate wards now at the eleventh hole and when I first started Kenneth Branagh was given the lifetime achievement award and he was saying afterwards that he was was blown away by the intimacy all his rolled around in this in this space which is which is amazing. What about little? And when you sort of pushing the boundaries hundred under this is a good example. I thought when you took the ballet company to I think it was Wembley Stadium Fidel yes. They shouldn't ballet doesn't happen happen unless there's a sprung floor but this was another rather forget it was it was very challenging the time because it was a it was a variety auty show and Elton John and take that and the remainder of the spice girls and a couple of spots. It's sprung floor down because it wasn't it wasn't possible then it was. Wendy stadium was full of amazing and we did the last bit of Swan Lake and when the Prince Reynolds stage the entire stadium stood and cheered like a football match goosebumps. I was crying. It was It was a great moment for ballet and also princess. Diana was the patron of the company doing for Prince William and Prince Harry so it was a huge on to keep it a little bit of magic of what Donna had loved so much the company ladder and it was it was one of those moments but it was an absolute good physiology. So it's that great stuff. The great the great moments it also part of the danger we kind of touched on it. There's the plumbing. Not just a toilets. This CECCHINI acoustics are working. And there's this excavation and sewerage and a lot of that surge. Recently I think to actually Victorian. Yeah Yeah you talked about the all staff in the past Austin and other thing this gets much credit really but you see quite a responsibility. Quite a number of you'll staff will be quite young to be sixteen seventeen year olds and are you saying that they a need a bit of help to be work ready or you have almost a responsibility this if this is their first role definitely I I Saw US fund the same thing and the people that work with view yes schools do a good job of getting people to get the best possible marks. They can in exams. That's the job of schools. Seems to be shouldn't be but it seems to me and we have young people from all around the world. I'm with their from Britain or elsewhere. I think that once first job has a huge impact on how you live the rest of your life cafe and the I think the relationships you form that age the fun you have or the environment you're in a councilman and for me. They we teach everyone on the joins. Leon we teach them things that are about knowing themselves who they are. We not school who we are. We're not giving a map. The encounter We're not we have a personal unconscious. which is you know created by our environment and life collective unconscious which goes back to? We were fish. That has these archetypes like good bad mother father. We're not talk. Transfer instance. Perhaps when I'm angry with you I'm with your mango. Because you might be my dad all all of these kinds of tools. Psychological tools time management tools team communication skills. And all of these things I think are we have twelve hundred. The people were directly evening with our own restaurants two thousand including the franchise restaurants. I think we got an amazing opportunity. I call it. I call them the fourth emergency services. I say you know who else went the when we have three thousand restaurants like like Walmart responded to Hurricane Katrina better than the federal government because they devolved volt responsibility and trust to the managers You know one the the Westminster Bridge attack. We had one person that was missed by foot but stayed there for forty five minutes giving first day. They to a policeman when the London Bridge attack happened and we were our both our office and restaurants were directly in the Corden. We're very lucky to escape. And we'll bring her Ah We gave first aid. The restaurants without me asking reopened gave food and drinks to everybody for free and I think that is because those sorts of values that we we have those are fundamentally the exportable bitterly honestly almost to do beer or an airline that is exportable spirit. Would get transplanted about the CEO's that do it in the CEO's don't it's better to let your people embodied the Brown how they see fit rather than you invest in an glossy ninety the second ad that says we really good. I just think you tell somebody who funny or you can make them laugh. And that's a metaphor the material in it but I think we after in our industry advertisers know how to grow grow is to be nice to customs willing to come in and give them some food and and then if we do that my priority has the team so I definitely think about my jobs. Look after my team and they dropped off the customers. Craig wasn't the advice that you give to people further down your organization who wants to scale height you have done. It's pretty similar to John. I think you've got to have people. Empowered understand the parameters of their job but also give them a bit of a stretch as well to grow into a role I think you you did you need a bit of a game plan is to way WANNA head I mean. I think we'll change careers six times so he might have a plan not stick to it but I think having a plan is not a bad idea That's not waving end up. At least you keep going the right direction or direction. So I'm curious you setting up the company Liens Your Dad yes. So how did that conversation go. Did you run it by him. I I can't I can't remember running past. I remember someone saying heavy. Still good name for the company said that is kind of. It's an instinct. The best thing I said you know what Leon that's a nice name was my dad's name being flipping all actually. Maybe it's all right and I did sort of gingerly made. My anger was working with us. He told Henry before I had plots up to two. I think it had to come to terms with it but you know what I'm in charge Lebron side of it. I could decide so yes and it was a name name. The film would come out the other one. The assassin one. Okay I have seen they've seen. He's the choices. It doesn't mean anything so you could like nutritious or some exotic European countries have got tangled. Leon Elliot Trans Europ take some over time. My Dad's my dad's imagery The one when he's swim shorts on leave from the Rif in the Mediterranean that became he became a gay icon in ministry ovum. Awesome Street so and he he always pretended to Not like the attention and I'm hoping he did ask about. I'm hope he likes the attention but he always pretended to be very shy. She was actually very sorry. Man But Yeah he went with it which was good. I know I can't remember ever asking which is terrible. Ruble I keep saying look to my Auntie neater because him and my family the woods to Vincent's I if I sell Liam just sue them for the image rights. That's because I've never. I never got your permission. That's a secret ongoing. We'll get the phone and get paid twenty astros capital Paraguay within a coup Asuncion's because it claimed the freemen could meet that Jon Benson Craig Castle. Thank you so much for the conversation. Thank you and thanks for listening to this episode of leading with James Ashton which is supported by Saxton Bam file the executive search firm and leadership adviser. You can find more episodes. So it's on apple podcasts or spotify including conversation with David Sproul. The former senior partner professional services joined Deloitte areas explaining how to tackle the full interest in the big fourfirms. The first is we've got to get better at explaining who we are and what we stand for because we should always accept mistakes will happen but fundamentally nowhere quickly the the we do the right thing and we're just not good enough at explaining that and in some ways we have to take responsibility for the fact that trust has gone because we haven't done a good enough job at dealing with it and if those are errors we have to live from it. Frankly if it's down to bad behavior and organization is just a lens on society so we will have people who sometimes times do the wrong thing. We'll do it and the legal visitation.

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