RAINBOW Tourism Group (RTG) last week announced the appointment of Tendai Madziwanyika (TM) as CEO.
Businessdigest’s Senior Business Reporter Clive Mphambela (CM) got the man to speak about his first impressions after only a few days on the job, his personal experiences and outline some of his ideas on how he intends taking on the challenge of leading RTG. Below are excerpts from the interview.
CM: Tendai, congratulations on your appointment as RTG CEO. It’s been only few days since you assumed the reins at RTG, what is your first impression?
TM: RTG is a group with great potential in terms of its asset base, location of properties, human resource capital and a loyal customer base.
However, there are significant challenges to be overcome which include restructuring of the balance sheet as we need to immediately develop strategies to drive our revenues whilst at the same time aggressively reducing costs.
CM: What personal experiences will you tap on to be effective in leading change at RTG?
TM: I have been fortunate to be in situations in my previous appointments that demanded change. Change in the business philosophy as in the case of the economy moving to a multi-currency regime. Change in organisational culture as in moving into a cash-driven business.
CM: What do you consider as the most valuable assets in the hospitality business?
TM: People are the most valuable asset in our industry. In this industry, this asset is highly specialised. This regard, national training institutes as well as our national culture of warmth, respect and service has created a large pool of individuals who can be employed in our industry.
Because of these qualities, Zimbabwe has exported skills to neighbouring countries. One just needs to walk around in the restaurants and hotels and other hospitality establishments in the region to hear Shona and Ndebele being spoken.
We therefore need to continue investing in our institutions of training and as a people continue to apply ourselves in the qualities of tolerance, love for one another and respect, as these are the fundamental building blocks of our industry.
CM: How does RTG measure up and what changes would you like to see so that shareholder value can be enhanced?
TM: We need to invest in our product, people and business processes. On our product, we must invest in our properties so as to bring them to the level which is commensurate with our customers’ expectations.
This investment in properties is not unique to the Rainbow Tourism Group expectations but permeates most hospitality groups across the country. In this regard, the industry has been most grateful to the government in extending duty relief on defined items of a capital nature for the tourism industry.
On people, we need to align our personnel correctly for the jobs they are meant to perform. We need to invest in training and development programmes to make them more efficient and effective in their roles.
In our business processes, we plan to effect significant changes that will aggressively reduce costs, drive revenues, at the same time delivering an exceptional service to our valued customers.
CM: What do you think will be critical success factors for RTG?
TM: Our success lies in our ability to harness the promise of the Rainbow. The Rainbow is an assurance that never again will there be a deluge and disappointment in people’s expectations, be they customers, shareholders or business partners.
It is a promise of a fresh beginning, newness, springing of life after the rain and a refreshing aroma in the air. This must permeate throughout the key pillars of our business and these are: our product, our operational efficiencies, a healthy balance sheet as well as our people and their ability to deliver an exceptional service to our customers.
CM: Are we likely to see a rebranding of the group? A tie-up with an international technical partner perhaps?
TM: A potential rebranding of the group is an area that we need to assess as a team to ensure the brand fully expresses its key pillars stated earlier.
CM: What do you consider as the low-hanging fruit, ie short-term high impact goals for RTG?
TM: We believe there is significant low-hanging fruit the organisation can quickly exploit. However, the task of further understanding these opportunities and prioritising their execution is urgent work being undertaken by the team.