Small things can make a big difference, says Miles Morgan Travel managing director Miles Morgan

I recently went along excitedly to a Q&A with Warren Gatland, the coach of Wales’ rugby union team and the British and Irish Lions. I was looking forward to him talking about players, tactics and the prospects for Wales in this year’s Rugby World Cup. I did not get what I was expecting! What I got was a talk about the psychology of people and management. But my main takeaway was the impact it can have on a team and its performance.

Warren Gatland sees this as key to success. He talked about ensuring he knows whether players’ children are ill, if they have had a row with their other half, or even if their dog is unwell. While these things are all really nothing to do with whether they can play on Saturday, they have an impact on how well they play and the mindset they have going into the game. The small things can make a big difference, like player bonding sessions, and who rooms with who in hotels before games, both of which can help create the winning team spirit and help them play better. No stone is unturned in these areas in the search to squeeze out the extra 1% to win a game; margins in rugby matches are that close these days.

Striving for success

I went home and reflected on an enjoyable evening, and realised that I could directly relate to Warren Gatland in my own small way. I was running a team that was striving for success and looking for that extra 1% – not to win a game of rugby, but to get that extra booking. Imagine each member of your staff doing one more booking and the impact that would have if it happened every week or even every day. I started to challenge myself about how we at MMT score on the issues Gatland talked about.

I know all my staff. I know most of their partners. I know a lot of their hobbies. In short, I take a keen interest in them and their wellbeing and that of their families and pets, as they know!

We hold get‑togethers, such as a recent company-wide event at my farm, where the drink was certainly flowing. It was great for team bonding between shops and helping people feel part of the wider company, not just their individual shop.

I enjoy keeping in touch and regularly text “well done” for bookings people have made. And we celebrate success: after winning High Street Agency of the Year at Travel Weekly’s 2018 Agent Achievement Awards, I paid for all staff, and their families, to have a meal out.

How do you score?

The Q&A was a thought-provoking evening and has made me think more about this area, which might seem left field, but for me seems a crucial but maybe hidden part to a company’s success. Our staff retention is amazing, and I think a lot of that is down to the fact I genuinely care for the people who work at MMT. Before the Q&A, I had never thought about the impact this could have on our sales. For a boss in a big job – and I was once  responsible for 7,000 staff – this is much harder to achieve, but I’m sure the impact of getting this right could have massive results.

How do you score on the Warren Gatlandometer?