Pat Koch: Humor and Humility

For those fortunate enough to attend the Pat Koch Lunch And Learn at the IAAPA Attractions Expo, you already know what I am about to tell you. She rocks.

I went in to the lunch expecting insight, but walked away with so much more. After hearing Mrs. Koch speak, it’s not surprising why Holiday World has enjoyed the success they have over the years. It starts at the top.

Here are a few leadership golden nuggets I took away from her presentation.

First, she said she was humbled to be given the opportunity to address the association. Humbled. As in not putting too much importance in yourself or taking yourself too seriously. How many leaders do you know that would qualify as humble?

Too often leaders are under the impression that they have to keep spouting their accomplishments to be taken seriously. Even if they want to be humble, there could be a feeling that their vulnerability could be perceived as a weakness.  Mrs. Koch showed that putting others first is how you succeed.

Mrs. Koch was also not short on humor.  Whether it was sharing with us where NOT to put the dispenser of free sunscreen (right next to the hot dog condiments) or her favorite pizza that turned out to be a bust (baked potato), you got a sense that she embraced learning from the silly things we sometimes do.  Can’t underestimate the importance of a sense of humor, especially in this business!

Lastly, Mrs. Koch reminded us how critical it is for us to role model the behaviors we want out of our employees. “Do what you want them to do, be what you want them to be.”  Again, it starts at the top.  If she isn’t doing it, she can’t expect anyone else to.

Mrs. Koch also shared how Holiday World has been able to earn the Golden Ticket award for Friendliest Park for 13 years.  I’ll be sharing some of those insights in a future post.

If you were there to hear Mrs. Koch speak, what did you take away?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

Where’s your passion?

The IAAPA Attractions expo is almost here. For those attending, the excitement about this week is palpable. It’s like Christmas morning that lasts for an entire week. And I was reminded recently why this week is so special.

The other day, a good friend and I were spending the day at Busch Gardens in Tampa. We were lucky enough to be joined at lunch by my friend and colleague, Robbi Lepre, who oversees entertainment at the park. As a bonus, Robbi was able to spend time with us after lunch, showing off the parks animal exhibits, and demonstrating a deep knowledge and passion not just for the entertainment offerings in the park, but for every aspect of what the park (and the industry) does.

And that one word, passion, really stuck with me as I think about why this one week out of the year is so special. It’s the collective passion we share for the industry, our guests, and each other that make this such a rich experience, both professionally and socially.

If this is your first time attending, do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with… anyone. This industry is full of talented, hard working people who are willing to share so much of what they do for the betterment of the business as a whole. There really is a big sense that this community is a family, and that “we’re all in this together”.

I would encourage any attendee to take advantage of everything the show offers. The trade show is great, full of all sorts of new gadgets. There are behind the scenes tours, social events and one of my favorites, the education sessions. It’s worth your time to do your homework to make sure you don’t miss anything!

I went to my first IAAPA convention in 1997, and it is still just as exciting now as was back then – probably even more so because of the friends I’ve made over the years. It will be great to see you all next week!  I’ll be spending a good amount of time with my friends and new business partners, Scot and Rob at the Amusement Advantage booth #4510, so if you are on the floor, please stop by and say hi!

Have a great show!