Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Leading by Example

Your Employees are the Result of You

Just like young kids absorbing everything their mother or father does, your new employees, whether they were there before you with another manager, or are new to the company, they will consciously and subconsiously absort the traits of their leader.

I always stress how important it is to lead by example. If you are always shouting at your team when they do something not up to company’s standards, they will start shouting at each ther and at the guests or customers. If you treat them nicely, positively, and take time to guide them through the processes and a step by step explanation, they will take their time with the guests and with each other. Even with you. If you don’t treat them right, they are not going to treat you right eventually either.

You need to create an environment where respect is visible, attention to detail and positivety is apparent. It all starts from you. It starts from the top. Whenever I visit a team on a cruise ship or hotel especially and notice certain traits from the team that are not so good, I always try to see how their manager works, acts and reacts. If a manager for example is not attentive to the team’s questions, requests and so on, they will in time act the same, whether they are getting training by someone, attending a meeting or even with their customers or guests. 

You need to always think as their leader, that they are watching your every move, seeing how you talk, how you deal with escalated issues, your time management, your precision, your work ethic, you positivety, your reaction to certain action, how you respond to difficult questions, how you act in really difficult situations, and so much more. Think. Think for a second. How would you like to see them work? That is exactly how you should work. If you blow up and get visibly upset when dealing with an angry customer, don’t expect your team to deal with the same situation in a different way. Don’t kid yourself and pull them to the side or have a meeting with them to see why they acted that way if you do the same.

Be the better Manager. Be the Better Leader. Show them how the work should be done, and you won’t have too many situations with your team. Always Lead by Example. It is one of the items I always focus on in all of the training that I give with different types of teams and Managers. Leaders and Managers are all different, but leading by example should be the same.

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

There’s no I in Team

.….But there is I in Individual

I have always believed that when you have a tight and united team, whether it is a small team or a large team, the end product, whether a service or a product, is better. As Managers we always tell our employees to work together, to work as a team, to respect each other, compliment each other, work well together, help each other and so much more. It is also true that when a team really cares for each other, the work is done better. 


As a prime example, and one that I have done and witnessed in my teams, is that when 1 employee, 1 team member doesn’t know the answer to the guest’s or customer’s question, when they ask one of their team members, they give them the answer, or they help them assist the guest. Same when an employee has made a mistake, or given the wrong information for some reason, or was having a very bad day. I have seen it many times, were the guest comes back upset that he or she was givent the wrong information, and the other team mate doesn’t make the other one look bad in order to look good themselves. They apologize and let them know that it was a one off and that they are great at their job, and then assist.


 Now, if this employee would have told the guest “Yes I know, he is not good at his job, I’m sorry you had him to help you, but I can surely help you and I will let the manager know that he didn’t help you, or give you the wrong information”, that looks really bad on the team and the management. A team that works together, surely works better for the advantage of the guests or customers.

However, the managers sometimes still make the mistake that they see every team member as the same person. In order for the team to work well together and be successful, it needs different personalities, efforts, expertese, levels and different fortés. You cannot have everyone great at knowing how the system works, or everyone great at talking with the guests, or everyone good at the phone. You need a little bit of everything. Your employees characters and personalities matter a lot. It colors the team and they are all different. 

You might have a person that is always so happy and someone that sometimes needs a little push to regain the smile when shouted at from a guest. You will have someone that is always challenging you and questioning you as a manager and another one that wants to be in your work time all the time. You will have the one that always unites the team and plans nights out, and another one that doesn’t hang out too much. I’m sure you get the point by now. Everyone is an individual that contributes to the team’s success. So when you approach an employee to correct them in something, to praise them, to give them disciplinary action, to promote them , to ask for help, you need to know your employees well enough to know how to approach them. 

Don’t generalize and assume that everyone reacts and acts the same way! See the Individual in each employee and make sure they become a team!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Tasting

How Can you Learn from Wine Tasting?

If like me, you like to learn about wine and are always in search of getting to know new wines and flavors, wine tastings are very beneficial.

There are several different styles of wine tasting, however, it is protocol to have a few wine samples provided from the same producer or the same winery, or even different samples of whites, reds, blends and rosés. Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluatuon of wine and became more popular after the 14th Century.

There are 4 Stages to Wine Tasting. First is the appearance of the wine, the color and thickness, then, the aroma of the wine in the glass, hence why you smell the wine before you taste. Thirdly is the in mouth sensation; what is the flavor, what hints does it have and how much does it appeal to your pallatte. Lastly, is the after taste. I am a big fan of the after taste. I find it very important that after I drink the first sip, that the after taste is very prominent.

By evaluating those four steps, by practise and knowledge, you will start being able to establish the complexity and character of the wine, its potential to be suitable for aging or drinking, and any possible faults. During several wine tastings, you will be able to compare the quality of wine and thier price with others, the region and counrty of the wine, their type of fermentation and aging and even any remarkable or unusual characteristics. 

Some more complex wine tastings happen blindly, called Blind tasting, especially when someone is trying to purchase wine for their esytablishement. They might have favorites and in order to not be biased, they will taste them without knowing the making and the winery.

Wine Tastings are definitely beneficial and are provided in every country and region. It helps you grow your wine knowledge and to make great choices when you are choosing your wines. If you are doing it for fun, it is a great social builder and a friend and team builder, however don’t expect to go there and start drinking out of control. It is only a sip or two each wine, so that you can evaluate new and interesting wines.

Go on, try a wine tasting near you and I guarantee you would want to go on more! Cheers!

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

Twistees

The Forever Delicious and Popular Twistees

On one of my trips for work, leaving from the airport in Malta, I noticed a slightly bigger packet of twistees and with a different packaging. As I went closer, I noticed 6 different packets with 6 different flavors! I didn’t know what to do! I had to get on the plane fast but decided to buy 1 so I could taste. Heaven is all I could say. Wow, what a flavor! This was the Truffle Cheese, and my favourite from the 6. 

Anyone residing or visiting Malta knows about, or even more so, has had Twistees at some point. You can call them the National snack chips of Malta. In fact, you will also notice that on the new packets, there are new designes and also the advertising of the highly anticipated Valletta Capital of Culture 2018- V18. Yes! What better snack to have represent Valletta, Malta, than its favorite snack.

The 6 flavors are the Buttery Cheese, Caramel Cheese, Roast Beef Cheese, Truffle Cheese, Vanilla Cheese and the Classic Cheese. These are all Gluten Free and seriously tasty. 40 years of Twistees has expanded so much and it is even exported to a few other countries like Norway, France, Australia, U.K and more countries.

The next thing you need to do if you are in Malta right now is to go and buy these extremely satisfying snacks. If you are planning to visit between the rest of this year and next year during Valletta European Capital 2018, is to make sure you get your hands on them. If you don’t want to wait until the next visit, then you can order online through the Twistees website.

See ya’all. Time to open a new one! 🙂

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Who Works for Who?

What Some Managers Get Wrong

I don’t mean to start off with the negative, but it is unfortunate to see so many employees become the manager of the team and suddenly think they are better than the rest. Of course, you are now the manager, or one of the managers, for a reason. You have worked hard, put in your efforts, did more than others and so on. But the moment you feel that because you are the Manager, you have a team to work for you and that your team owes you, is the moment that you are devaluing your team, yourself and what you do.

In any management training workshops that I do for many managers in hotels, firms, companies and cruise ships, I start by asking the same question; ” Who are you here for?” In the case of hotels and cruiseships, the majority of the managers tell me that they are here for the guests. WRONG. Managers that have thier own staff/ team to work directly with guests are not there for the guests. These managers are there for their team and their team is there for the guests. Of course, they are there to make sure the guests are happy, but they need to take care of their tram first. Same goes to firms and companies with clients. These managers don’t deal directly with the clients so, but their employees do. I’m not the first one to say this. 

If you feel that your team owes you and that they are there for you, you are very very wrong my friend! YOU work for them. THEY don’t work for you. If your team is not successful, then you are definitely not successful either. The manager needs to be the one working more than his team, developing them, helping them, supporting and empowering them. And this can only be done when the manager is highly present, attentive to his team, guiding and leading them.

When managers think that they have the team to work for them, the guiding, leading, coaching amd empowering stops, and instead, you get an unhappy, overworked, scared of the boss kind of team. Show them you are there for them to help them be better, to succeed and to develop. Remember that the manager’s success relies on the employees’ success, happiness, advancement, empowerment and so much more.

I have always worked hard for my teams. They didn’t work for me. I WORKED FOR THEM. AND STILL DO.

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

What makes Italian Wines so good?

A Few Italian Favorites

When talking about Italian wine, you have to realize that it has been around for a very very long time. Just like most Mediterranean/European wine, you will see that the labelling style is just a little different than the rest. There are more than 350 common indigenous wine grape varieties in Italy, and that’s why if you study and learn Italian wine, you would have learned a big majority.

There are 4 main things that you need to know in order to be accustomed with thebasics of reading an Italian wine list or label. 

  • The Producer
  • Wine Type (listed by grape variety, regional wine style or wine name. When it has a wine name it means that it is a blend)
  • Region ( there are 20 main regions in Italy)
  • Vintage ( the year the grapes are grown)

As an example, if on a wine list or the label, you see: Il Molino di Grace, Chianti Classico, Riserva, Toscana, 2005, that means that the wine Producer is Il Molino di Grace (think of it as the brand name), Chianti Classico is the grape varietal in this case, Riserva, Toscana means that it is made in the region of Tuscany and 2005 was the year the grape was grown.

The Producer can be a single producer, a cooperative between producers or a large firm wine company for example, a name I’m sure many of you have come across is Ruffino. That is a very large wine brand. The majority of the Italian wines are named after the region as the regions are classified. Below is a picture of all the wine regions taken from the wine experts Wine Folly.

If you notice an Italian wine bottle carefully, you will find that on the cap or on its neck, there are a few abbreviations. These are very important. That small label is indicating a category of wine.

  • DOC means Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata, in english translated to controlled designation origin. That means they are produced in specific, well-defined regions with specific rules for preservation
  • DOCG has the same verbiage but the G stands for Garantita, meaning guaranteed. It is similar to DOC but more stringent.
  • VdT means Vino ta Tavola, meaning table wine, intended for everyday drinking, cooking and has few restrictions amd rules
  • IGT means Vino a Indicazione Geografica, which means geographical indication. It is a wine that is produced in a specific area

Next time you want to buy Italian wine at the store or at a restaurant, or even better, if you are travelling to Italy, this will help you choose different types so you can taste more and get a feel for the different wines 🙂

Cheers! To you, and to Italian wines!

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

PLAIT- The Fast Growing Extra Successful Company

The Joys of Receiving Plait

 I am away most of the time. And by away I mean in a different place every couple of days or on cruise ships, which is a big part of my career as a manager and coach. But I love Malta and I miss certain products that can only be found there. Sometimes I want that Kinnie, or that litte bit of Twistees or Gallett. Joy ran through me when one day I found out about the Maltese company Plait, and guess what. I ordered the Maltese Plait. I sent it to my partner’s house (not in Malta) which is where I stay in between ship visits for work. Man was I happy to receive my first Plait!

Looking through their website http://www.plait.com.mt, I was impressed by how many box styles and types had come out. I had a chance to be in Malta for 3 weeks, last September and I wanted to try the wine box, since you all know I am a wine fan and student. You can choose either 2, 4 or 6 bottle boxes. This is perfect whether you live on your own or with your partner, or if you are having a little gethering with friends. You simply buy the 6 bottle Plait box and you are set. The variety is awesome too. The person that delivered this box was extremely happy to be delivering this box and even striked a cool conversation with me. 

Receiving this box from me to me was a gift that was well deserved I felt. Why not!? Or should I say wine not!? hahahaha. Ok. Focus Marie! As you can see below, I was enjoyong this wine straight fromthe box after delivery. I wasn’t enjoyng it alone, my friend was over, but I decided to have some fun with photos to commemorate such a great product.

Plait’s CEO, Daniel Fenech has worked extremely hard, and after giving him a call to let him know this idea and these products are amazing, I saw what a big passion he had to make his company succeed. So much so, a few days ago, he won the Entrepreneur of the year at the JC awards. Companies don’t just happen. They are the result of a lot of work, dedication and lots of passion. Daniel along with his team believe in what they are doing and they love doing it. They have introduced the Beauty Plait to join their other Plait boxes like the Beer Plait and the Organic Plait, apart from the ones I have already mentioned; the Wine Plait and the Malta Plait.

Listen, it’s almost  Christmas and a little birdie told me (well, I meant on Plait’s social media), that they are already taking orders  for the Christmas boxes. So don’t be disappointed this Christmas. Whether you want to buy a box for yourself or for a loved one, there are many choices and a huge variety as well as lots of special items and deals. With the high demand that Plait receives, my reccomendation would be to order now. I did! Visit their website http://www.plait.com.mt. It is very nice and user friendly. Happy Plaiting! :p I’ll keep on enjoying my Plait box for now. Cherio! 🙂

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Working with Guests and Customers- Continuation from Last week

How to deal with an Irate Guest

Last week on Managing Mondays, we started talking about the steps to take when you are faced with a very upset guest, and most of the time, it is because as a company or product, it failed their expectations. We mentioned the first 4 steps which were to remain calm and poised, to use your best listening skills and let them know you are truly listening to their concerns, remain calm and aknowledge the guest’s right to be angry, and to not take the encounter personally. You are there to help and they are reaching out to you because it is part of your work to assist them when they encounter a problem.


Today, we continue the rest of the steps. After listening to the guests, however long that needs to be, we then need to react and action. The next step is to actively Sympathize. After the customers vent, they want to know that you understand where they are coming from and how they are feeling. Express sympathy for their unpleasant customer experience. Respect and understanding go a long way towards smoothing things over. With sympathy comes in the next step which is to show Empathy. Put yourself in the customer’s or guest’s shoes. Would you be happy with what happened or what was supposed to happen but didn’t? There should be a show of emotion, without giving off your emotion, but your empathy. If this doesn’t happen, the next step of apologizing will not be as effective.

Apologizing grcefully is your next step. Whether the cutomer’s complaint is legitimate or not, is really irrelevant. You need to express an apology for the problem they are having (or perceive to be having). A simple straightforward statement like “I am really sorry that this has happened to you. Let’s see how we can be better for you. Don’t forget the Power of a Name. Addressing them by their name or last name is extremely important. Once you use a name, you are suddendly speaking with a real person, an individual that has a job, family, and a reason behind their frustration. 


It is important to speak soflty, especially if the guest is raising his or her voice or screaming back at you. If this is happening, you might want to take them inside an office or to a side, so that the other customers or guests are not being affected. The softer and quiter you speak, the more the guests need to listen to what you will be doing for them. If you try to shout over them, it becomes a verbal battle. The customer will eventually lower his or her voice to hear what you have to say for them. After all, they approached you for a resolution and you are letting them know what you will be doing. The next steps are finding a suitable solution and owning responsibility of the situation. The worst thing you can do to a guest or customer is to give their concern to someone else and they have to repeat, making them work during their vacation, or visit or experience. Don’t pass the buck as that makes you look incompetent or that you don’t feel like helping them. Make their problem yours and work towards fixing and providing a resolution for them.


Remember, this doesn’t come immediately, it takes practise, and patience with yourself to learn more of how better you can be to your customers or guests. If you missed last week’s Managing Mondays post, go to Captin Falzon on facebook or add Captain Falzon on wordpress blogs to be able to read it. Remember, the happier your guests, the easier your work will be! Happy Monday!

Fit Fridays

Fit Fridays

Not all Sweet Treats are Bad for You

Fit For You Cupcakes

I really wanted to have a few cupcakes made for a Halloween Party but wanted to keep it extremely healthy. I found Fit For you Cupcakes advertised online and contacted renowned dietician Jessica Borg ghigo. I was immediatey given so many choices; Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free and the list went on. All of them were sugar free by the way. I was invited to see her making them after I told her about my interest and my blog, and was advised of certain ingredients that she was using that had the same effects and result as other unhealthier ingredients.

Behold, the Halloween Cupcakes- Vegan and Gluten Free!

I got to know about how the water in the chickpea or broadbeans cans can solidify the same way as eggs, for example. We used vegan protein powder and coconut flour. All the other ingredients were as healthy and as effective, but I will let you ask her to make you some and then you will relaize.

She was making other cupcake orders in the meantime and it was fascinating to see the vast amount of different ingredients and requests. As she put some in the oven, the smell was so inviting, I couldn’t wait to try one! They all looked and smelled delicious.

We all get the urge for something sweet whether once in a while or many times a day. Truth is, that’s fine, as long as you choose your food well. There are always several parties to attend to or host every week, so why not enjoy a treat that will not affect your health and your waistline in a negative way! You can simply find Jessica Borg Ghigo on Facebook and tell her you want to order some delicious cupcakes and exchange numbers. Easy peasy!

Excuse me! But my 24 cupakes are ready, but I’m only taking 23 of them to my party…because one of them has just been devoured!! Mmmmhmmm yummylicious!!

Have a great and healthy weekend! x

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

How Long does it Take to Make Wine?

A little look at the time spent to produce that bottle of wine that you love so much

Wine making is not a simple “I want to make some wine and drink it” type of thing. It can take up to between 3 to 5 years to produce the bottle the wine for you to enjoy. As an example, if you have recently bought a field to fill it with vines, you are not going to be able to profit from it until 3 to 5 years time after you start. Same as when unfortunately vineyards get wrecked from fires or even an infestation of pestes and disease. The winemakers need to start from scratch.

Winemaking is a very creative process and unique to many factors like the winemakers themselves, terroir, climate, grapes and so much more.

The first process is Planting and assessing the soil, climate and also planting smaller amounts of other grape for blending purposes. The vineyard manager needs to decide how to form the rows of vines and their spacing. After that, the winery needs to patiently wait for the first harvest, however during thoses years, the young vines need a lot of attention like protecting them agains pests and pruning.

After about 3 years, comes the dormacy stage. At this time, the vineyard will produce full bunches of grapes. In the winter the vines are dormant and without foliage, but as the roots would have gone deep down into the soil, the vines are feeding on the nutrients needed. As the vines are dormant, it is time to prune. Pruning is highly important in ensuring to produce good quality wine.

As the vines emerge from dormacy, around March, the first buds start to appear. This is called Bud break. Most grapevines self-pollinate and after that fruit set occurs. Diring this time, the workers need to control the amount of sunlight and air that the fruit clusters receive. Some vines will pollinate and some will not. Fruit clusters are also inspected at this time, as well as canopy management.

After that, the green looking grapes turn ino plump juicy grape clusters. This is called Veraison. And after all that comes the Harvest. The warmer the temperatures, the faster the ripening. It is the flavor profile of the grape that determines the pick date. Harvesting normally starts very early in the morning as the air is cooler. We still don’t have the wine by now. What happenes after the grapes are picked? The winemaking process begins; crushing, pressing and primary fermantation are the next steps. After primary fermantation, the wine is taken from the fermantation tank to another one for aging. There are so many differet practises and ways how to do this dependig on the winemaker and the winery. 

The winemakers will taste the wine frequently to ensure the right flavor, and finally, after all those steps, comes the bottling and the drinking!
Cheers! I raise a glass to you!