Life as an Estate Development Programme Manger
Meet Pete Gough
You have to be brave sometimes.
I’ve learnt that when you’re given the backing to try something new, it can really pay off to step outside of your comfort zone.
You see there’s always the opportunity to challenge yourself here and I’ve leapt into the unknown more than once. It started right back when I first joined Whitbread and I took a secondment to run one of our busiest hotel sites just a few months after joining the business.
It’s a mindset I’ve taken with me. You get the opportunity to learn fast here and everywhere I have moved, there has always been a great line manager to support me. They all work differently and push, drive and develop you in different ways and I’ve learnt from some of the best.
I began as a Operations Manager in Premier Inn seven years ago. I ran a various sites across Birmingham before moving to Manchester when the role of Hotel Manager was created, in order to run several larger sites and develop as a leader.
That was how I became a Regional Operation Manager, with my first position starting in Merseyside and ending with a spell in our Restaurant business.
It’s all led me to my current role in the Estate Development team. My job now is to get our teams ready for new openings and refurbs so we’re delivering the hospitality we’re famous for from Day 1. From 20 weeks out I start liaising with ROMs in the region and Operations Directors to ensure they have a plan for who will go into the site. Along with a Readiness Manager who supports with tracking and monitoring of induction and skill gap of the new team, we start managing them to ensure they are set up for success.
I work with my colleagues in Estate Development and Ops teams to ensure that people and operations are ready for change. I work closely with a wider network of functions back at Support Centre and on a number of projects to look at the operational implementation of change and alignment of activity.
I wouldn’t have been able to take this on without the skills and experience the ROM role gave me. There communication was key - at many different levels. I might be presenting to directors one day and then working with operations team at a Job Centre the next. Understanding your own values and how to use them to get your message across and have the desired impact was vital.
Managing your time and workload is something which I’ve carried across with me – in my various regions there was a lot of travel – and there is here too. How to work with that and keep yourself in check is really important… it’s something I’m still working on!
But I have a great line manager whose clarity of purpose and communication has stretched my thinking. This role makes you really focus on your influencing skills – I don’t have a big team underneath me now, but rather work with lots of teams across Ops and Support Centre – as well as external organizations - to get things done without having the line manager ability to simply delegate.
This role forces you to think about what good looks like in a really different way and think about time in a different way too. You have to be future focused I’m now working on projects which are over a year away – however my activity will eventually have direct impact on an operations team.
I adore working for this business. My journey’s taken me across the UK and the investment in my development has also taken me to training at the Disney Institute. It was a really profound thing for me and, just like everything I’ve achieved at Whitbread, I carry those learnings with me through everything I do.