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Master in Hospitality Business Management Master Class: Purpose-driven change

Krishna Unni, General Manager, Sankara, Nairobi, speaking at the Master in Business Hospitality Management Master Class session

On 18th March 2021, the School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) held an enlightening master class, looking into matters of change and disruption and how often the hospitality industry gets hit by it. Aspiring graduate students in attendance were treated to a rich list of speakers, among them, Krishna Unni, General Manager, Sankara Nairobi, and faculty members of STH, Dr. Lucy Gikonyo and Dr. Fredrick N. Oduori.

Change Management

The pandemic has been extensively quoted as unprecedented; however, the hospitality and tourism industry is not new to challenges. Previously, the industry has had to face the effects of post-election violence, economic crises, and natural calamities like the volcanic eruption in Europe. All these occurrences stress the industry but certainly affect the labor force more. ‘It is important to ensure your workforce does not feel like a mere statistic,’ Dr. Oduori said. “Within the organization, his group is the first to experience uncertainties, anxiety and frustration.” Change management is, therefore, the art to design and manage the transition as painlessly as possible to reduce friction and inefficiencies.

Change seems to move towards the convenience of the consumer, for instance, moving from big-screen viewing of movies to “on-the-go” streaming on Netflix. It is, therefore, necessary to take note of the ever-changing trends. According to Dr. Oduori, strategically agile firms can change direction quickly through heightened sensitivity towards strategic development, making bold and faster decisions, and reconfiguring their resources rapidly.

Key Takeaway

“When faced with change, first and foremost, analyze the trends. A crisis should not be your only reason to change. Change to make money, save money, improve the workforce, and much more. Secondly, formulate a purpose, bringing about purpose-driven change since one does not lose sight of the main reasons for the change taken. Third, execute and evaluate,” Krishna Unni stated.

He added, “During this pandemic, first, plan to survive, secondly, execute change. It is key to plan, plan, plan, and review until you get it right. But one needs to be good at planning and very quick at execution. If things go wrong during the execution, you can quickly go back and plan again, then execute once more. Execution is key, even though planning is necessary.”

Food for thought: 40% of the companies that have survived over three hundred years worldwide are in Japan. When a crisis hits, they primarily shift their focus from costs and profits to sustainability. As a result, they gain customer trust and loyalty, thus durability.

‘Periodically look at the clouds and anticipate the rain. Do not wait until it falls to ask if anyone has an umbrella.’ Dr. Fredrick Oduori.

The Master in Hospitality Business Management is a unique programme developed to provide the next-generation hospitality managers with in-depth knowledge and international experience to enable them to explore innovative hospitality business opportunities. The Programme provides a valuable opportunity to hospitality professionals and industry practitioners to acquire leadership and business management skills specific for the hospitality industry.

For more information on the programme, click here.


This article was written by Anna Jessica Munya.


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