With lots of activity in your hospitality business, it is easy to get caught up operating by the seat of your pants.

Here is some *** SMART*** advice for your goal setting.

  • Write down specifically what it is it that you want to achieve?
  • How will you know if this has been achieved?
  • What do you need to do to make it happen?
  • Is this achievable or ‘pipeline dreaming’ (head in the clouds) wishing?
  • Put a date in place that you would like it happen by.

Simple plans and structure have a crazy way of delivering big results.


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If you want to be a dynamic leader you must first learn to serve

Challenges are what makes the ride of this life worth memorable.  They are the spices which adds flavour to it and help us become tougher and wiser individuals.   So regardless of how big the challenge is, embrace it, think wisely, be tough, coz the bigger it is, the more stretch we make, the better person we are to be.

Stay focused and determined to reach your goals!  As you are busy clearing the hurdles, tip toe if necessary, you might have realized, you are already one step away to reaching your dreams!

Don’t quit! Be bold!
If you want to be a dynamic leader you must first learn to serve 


From Carrie and the Team at Coterie
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4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them!


UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here’s what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1) The Most Important Question To Ask When You Feel Down

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You may feel guilty or shameful. Why?

Believe it or not, guilt and shame activate the brain’s reward center.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.

And you worry a lot too. Why? In the short term, worrying makes your brain feel a little better — at least you’re doing something about your problems.

2) Label Negative Feelings

You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?

Boom. It’s that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled “Putting Feelings into Words” participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.

Suppressing emotions doesn’t work and can backfire on you.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference.

3) Make That Decision

Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That’s no random occurrence.

Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.

But deciding can be hard. I agree. So what kind of decisions should you make? Neuroscience has an answer…

Make a “good enough” decision. Don’t sweat making the absolute 100% best decision. We all know being a perfectionist can be stressful. And brain studies back this up.

Trying to be perfect overwhelms your brain with emotions and makes you feel out of control.

Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process. In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control…

As Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz said in my interview with him: “Good enough is almost always good enough.”

So when you make a decision, your brain feels you have control. And, as I’ve talked about before, a feeling of control reduces stress. But here’s what’s really fascinating: Deciding also boosts pleasure.

4) Touch People

No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble.

But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t it’s painful. And I don’t mean “awkward” or “disappointing.” I mean actually painful.

Neuroscientists did a study where people played a ball-tossing video game. The other players tossed the ball to you and you tossed it back to them. Actually, there were no other players; that was all done by the computer program.

But the subjects were told the characters were controlled by real people. So what happened when the “other players” stopped playing nice and didn’t share the ball?

Subjects’ brains responded the same way as if they experienced physical pain. Rejection doesn’t just hurt like a broken heart; your brain feels it like a broken leg.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain… at one point they stopped sharing, only throwing back and forth to each other, ignoring the participant. This small change was enough to elicit feelings of social exclusion, and it activated the anterior cingulate and insula, just like physical pain would.

Relationships are very important to your brain’s feeling of happiness. Want to take that to the next level? Touch people.

One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.

Touching is incredibly powerful. We just don’t give it enough credit. It makes you more persuasive, increases team performance, improves your flirting… heck, it even boosts math skills.

Touching someone you love actually reduces pain. In fact, when studies were done on married couples, the stronger the marriage, the more powerful the effect.

In addition, holding hands with someone can help comfort you and your brain through painful situations. One fMRI study scanned married women as they were warned that they were about to get a small electric shock. While anticipating the painful shocks, the brain showed a predictable pattern of response in pain and worrying circuits, with activation in the insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. During a separate scan, the women either held their husbands’ hands or the hand of the experimenter. When a subject held her husband’s hand, the threat of shock had a smaller effect. The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex— that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits. In addition, the stronger the marriage, the lower the discomfort-related insula activity.

So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs.

A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.

Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.

Don’t have anyone to hug right now? No? But there’s an answer: neuroscience says you should go get a massage.

The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels, which helps you create new good habits… Massage reduces pain because the oxytocin system activates painkilling endorphins. Massage also improves sleep and reduces fatigue by increasing serotonin and dopamine and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

So spend time with other people and give some hugs. Sorry, texting is not enough.

When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. What about when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all.




From The Team At Coterie

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I am excited to announce the new branding for Coterie has moved from Coterie Australia to Coterie Hospitality.  If you are wondering why, it is because we have gone “INTERNATIONAL!


Last year I did a lot of research on how to continue to help the ‘global’ hospitality industry.  This resulted in some international networking around the globe and travel across the pond to the United States of America.

I set sail across to California last December to (of course, a wise business operator would do their research first) see if there were any opportunities for Coterie in the US hospitality market.  I have personally always had a connection with North America as I started my life in Southern Maryland as a bubba, popping out to meet the world in the Patuxent River Naval base (on this day – 7th April) back in 1980.

This research of the USA hospitality industry has now resulted in two very exciting partnerships for now, Coterie ‘Hospitality’ –


We are by no means leaving Australia, we are just on a mission to help the global hospitality industry – driving Education – which in turn empowers business independence, increases business assets, building stronger more profitable teams, driving profits to the bank, and for the greater good – impacting people’s lives with greater experience for Customers.

Our first stop of the expansion is sunny California.

On Monday and Tuesday (11th and 12th April – PST) I will be flying the Coterie team flag along with representing the Australian Hospitality industry at the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Industry Conference.

I am a guest panelist on two panels for the Conference:

  1. The Tipping Point – discussing America increasing the award rate to $15 per hour by 2019. They are moving to $13 an hour by July 1st.  And exploring the effects of a ‘non-tipping’ structure.

Australia, a non-tipping culture, I am able to share with the California Restaurant community how Australia is still in growth considering the economic climate of high wages, high labour costs, high running costs.

  1. Your Brand Is Your Backbone – America is very much a focus on outward bound Branding and Public Relations. I’m excited to share the strategies that we are using at Coterie and across Australia by building your brand from within your hospitality business (the backbone of success) – increasing the loyalty of customers in a noisy world, how to reduce your costs by learning the steps to do your own Marketing and Advertising – and some of the cool examples that is, again, putting segments of the Australian Hospitality in a position of growth

Check out the conference here if you want a little gander of what we’re doing –


Coterie is changing the game in hospitality business away from the consultancy model.  With high running costs for businesses, loads of competition (customers spoilt for choice, even if it’s not of high value, the hospitality market is saturated) we are building foundations that breed loyalty, communities and sustainable business growth all through our education programs – giving YOU the keys to control your own success.

If you want to jump on board, learn more, or simply follow the journey please do stick around.

We’re excited to be Australian, excited to now be spreading our wings in helping more global hospitality businesses live the life they want, and continuing to grow one of our favourite past times – socialising with friends and family – this being in the hospitality industry.

First stop, California!!

On behalf of Coterie Hospitality, I’m excited and proud to be part of the global hospitality industry. Let’s make it one HECK OF A SPECIAL COMMUNITY, uniting together.

Cheers from the birthday girl, embracing the number 36 today!!  And what a great day to announce our international expansion and hospitality partnerships.

Carrie White



CEO and proud Mother to my brain child – Miss Coterie.  Plus team member of our fabulous Partners.

Happy Days!



Image cred: Journalist Francis Lam (far right) moderates a conversation with Chef Traci Des Jardins, Chef Gavin Kaysen, Mina Group President Patric Yumul, and Union Square Hospitality Group’s Sabato Sagaria at the 1st Annual GGRA Industry Conference

Monday Inspiration

Sometimes to see, understand, increase your vision of the future, you have to take a step ‘back’.
Often the hardest thing to do when you’re a busy, hungry for success and outcomes type of business personality, is giving yourself permission to stop.
The impact of stepping back to have a breather, assess the bigger picture, be ‘present’, can often result in great gains.
Work out your vision, your goals, your target …… Reset – reboot – and then take off for your next flight journey ……
Dream big, think big, achieve EVEN BIGGER!!!
My moment of stepping back was in Sausalito looking across at the beautiful city we know as Miss San Francisco ….. The view ahead!


Ever experienced this? 

It’s funny sometimes the psychology behind the human brain.  Often working in business we can box at shadow’s, always wanting things to be perfect – everyone’s happy.

Well guess what?  We talk about having Raving Fans in a business – this is a surviving platform to profitability and long-term success.

What if you were told that ‘Raving Fan’s’ can come from complaints?

Don’t lose sight of the power behind showing how you deal with chaos or a crisis, and the positive impact it can have on your business.  Of course, it’d be great if the world was full of Champagne, cute puppies, Rainbows and big happy smiles everywhere you go.  But, it isn’t because life exists and it moves around us.

You are not going to make every customer that enters your venue happy, unfortunately. But it is how you deal with customer complaints that can really gain respect, engagement and ongoing business.

I’ve seen it, I’ve assisted in the strategy to diffuse incidents with clients and their customers, and I have also been on the receiving end ‘as a customer’.

Mistakes happen, but use that time to really step up and show ‘how you do business’ by solving the issue at hand, and be human in the process – your customers are human too!



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Michael Jordan video – Failures To Success

This inspirational clip from Michael Jordan shares with us to not be afraid to test things that may not always work, but with measuring outcomes, use our failures and pitfalls to help drive success.



From The Team At Coterie



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What is your Motivational Trigger?

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle – long days – pressure of chasing targets.  Identifying something that inspires you, triggers your personal “Get Up” – having it on hand or making it a mandatory moment of stillness.  Balance is absolutely VITAL to have and run a successful business.  In order to inspire others, you gotta keep that flame burning inside.

What is your instantaneous motivational trigger?

  • Favourite song that makes you twirl, break-dance and/or fist pump
  • Watching an old sport final of your favourite team
  • Fighter jets taking off, in launch to break the sound barrier
  • Punchy business quotes
  • Watching a video of your idol giving a power speech
  • Scene from a favourite movie, like the “Rocky Speech”
  • Running up that hill ……..
When you are motivated, it digs deep, and inspires you to move mountains!
Taking this aspect serious can have a strong effect on your state of mind, your daily productivity, and the impact your have on the people around you.
Don’t forget to focus on YOU and keep yourself energised for when times get tough and weighty – Inspire yourself!

Cheers from our Team to Yours,

Carrie, The Team and Partners at Coterie!



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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reinbeer, had a few beers in tow
To help him guide Santa and the reinbeers far away from the snow
With Molson and Castle, Guinness and VB
And Badger and Tusker, Red Stripe and Caffrey’s
He burps and he pops and he heads for the stars
But his satnav will only direct him to bars
Moosehead and Abbott are additional crew
Dos Equis and Carlsberg join up with them too
So the jolly fat guy in the gaudy red suit
Decides it is time to join in on the hoot
They dropped in on Coopers, Cascade and Fat Yak
And ended up laying flat on their back
Rudolph thought flying this way was the ticket
But it only resulted in being drunk as a cricket
No present reached its target, no chimney was seen
They couldn’t even remember where they had been
They saw the empties that lay on the floor of the sleigh
Then smiled at the new friends they met on the way
Rudolph wondered if there would be another same flight
Most definitely, Merry Christmas, and to all a good night!!!!!

Poem owned and written by Col White – Coterie Australia 2015.


Merry Christmas from the Team at Coterie




From The Team At Coterie


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 with the team at Coterie

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We’d love for you to share your thoughts and opinions…


5 mistakes made by a leader – Owner, Manager, Team Leader

  • Attempts to do all the work themselves
  • Doesn’t trust in their team to delegate
  • Doesn’t outsource to the experts
  • Doesn’t empower their team
  • Everything is a ‘cost’ rather than seeing the ‘investment’ and working out a strategy for an “ROI”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING – work ‘smarter’ not ‘harder!




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