Besides being a self proclaimed happenin’ dude, who is Cole Lindbergh? He is the one-and-only Games Manager at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, MO. About a month ago, he was featured on the radio show, This American Life, which he says, “all started with a tweet.” They were looking for people in the amusement industry to profile, and Cole volunteered in under 140 characters.
It’s a great feature, and it certainly made me nostalgic for the many years I spent at seasonal amusement parks. What I thought was especially fascinating was the positive impact Cole was having on his employees. In a time when so many leaders are complaining about lazy kids with no work ethic, Cole gets his employees to work really hard and have fun doing it.
I had to know how he did and what made him tick, so I contacted him to see if he wouldn’t mind answering a few questions about his approach to leadership. Not only did he say yes, but he took the time to shoot and edit this video.
While Cole gives you insight into what he does, I think his success stems even more from who he is. To me that means you can have the wrong people doing the right things, and they’ll still fall short. Cole is clearly the right person doing the right things.
One of my favorite things Cole said (besides “hammer time”) was that we need to “always keep them motivated, always keep them happy, because that will 100% effect the sale.” You could substitute many words for the word “sale” – service, efficiency, safety, productivity, quality… all the important stuff we need our employees to do.
I think one of Cole’s strategies for keeping people motivated is finding the right people for his department in the first place. He needs outgoing people who are not afraid of a microphone, so that’s who he looks for. I am sure cash handling experience is important, but it can also be taught. To treat total strangers as if they are long-lost friend takes desire and love of interacting with people. Not everyone has that.
But it doesn’t stop at hiring. To keep people motivated, Cole’s got great advice. He says to “be honest, be loyal, be enthusiastic, and last but not least, the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
I don’t know that we often talk about being loyal TO our employees, it’s usually about them being loyal to us. But isn’t loyalty as much of a two-way street as communication, trust and respect? What are you doing to show your employees that you are loyal to them?
I would love to hear your thoughts on loyalty and leadership. Add your 2 cents by leaving a comment below.
For more from Cole, be sure to check out his other videos here. You’ll be glad you did!
Thank you, Cole, for taking the time to share and inspire!