Your impact will have a long shelf life

At the recent Florida Attractions Association conference, we got to hear from Brett Culp, an award-winning filmmaker who helps tell the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  One of his main messages was about impact, and the fact that you never know when or how your impact will be felt.

I had an experience at that very same conference that proves this theory.

One of the breakout sessions was lead by my colleague and good friend, Josh Liebman.  Josh and I have known each other for years through various industry endeavors, and currently we get to work together through my partnership with Amusement Advantage and his role as their Director of Business Development. He was also one of my very first guests on #3 Questions.

At the conference, his breakout session topic was “Create Guest Loyalty and Exceed Expectations” – something I know he knows a lot about, so I was excited to go to his session to support him and learn from him.

Since doing presentations like this is not something he does everyday, he asked me to give him some feedback on his session.

Josh is a natural.  He had great content, spoke from the heart and engaged the audience.  After his presentation, we talked about some small improvements he could make for next time, but overall he did a very good job.  He then shared with me that one of the conference interns told him she was impressed by his public speaking skills and asked where he learned how to do it.

He said he did it by watching me.

I was blown away. I don’t share this to be boastful or to brag.  I share this because I truly didn’t know that I was having this kind of impact on someone.  And my internal reaction was somewhat surprising.  I discounted it.

I thought, surely he had some other resources besides me!  He’s got natural skills, no way I had that much influence over his speaking style. He just gave me a huge compliment, and I didn’t know how to take it.

There are a few lessons here.

  1. Know that your impact may not be known to you for many years (if at all), but you are making a difference.  Leaders (like teachers and parents) are shaping the view and work ethic of others. They will follow your lead if you make it compelling enough.  If YOU believe that what you are doing is IMPORTANT, they will too.  They may never tell you outright, but just know that somewhere down the line, a former employee is following your example (so make it positive!)
  2. Take the compliment! For someone who talks about giving compliments and feedback on a regular basis, I had a hard time receiving it.  If this is you, own it and accept it.  Let yourself be complimented on something outstanding that you did.  Resist the temptation to squash their recognition efforts by saying something like, “oh, it was nothing”.  To them, it was something.

The big lesson here is to keep on keepin’ on.  By doing the right things now, you are setting the example for how people will behave in the future. There is no expiration date on the impact you are making.

Thanks for reading!

Some call it peer coaching, some call it a support group! Whatever the label, being part of a Mastermind Program can help you get advice and guidance from a trusted group of industry peers. Performance Optimist Consulting runs the ONLY Mastermind Program specifically for attractions professionals.  Check it out here!

3 Ways To Improve Company Culture

I now live in North Carolina.  Feels kind of weird to say that.  I honestly never imagined myself living here until a few years ago when my wife and I started talking about the possibility of moving away from Florida.  Now I that I am here, I really like it.

What I also like is the “culture” of the community that we moved into.  We are in a small mountain community about 20 minutes from downtown Hendersonville, and I quickly noticed that there was a shared behavior of everyone once you got inside the community walls (i.e. subdivision).

Everyone waves.

And it doesn’t matter if you know the person or not. If you pass them in a car, if you see them out getting the mail or taking out the trash, the neighborly thing to do is wave in an effort to greet and acknowledge. And I have to say, it’s kind of nice.

But where did this “wave culture” come from and more importantly for this post, how is it sustained?

Since I only moved here about a month ago, I can’t speak specifically about where it came from or who started it.  For this discussion, we’ll agree that it simply came from a group of nice people who wanted a friendly environment to live in.

Great… but what happens when new people (like us) move in?  Is there a meeting, an in-service, a memo or handbook that says we should wave?  No.  It just happened.

And as I was bringing in the garbage can today (after waving at a neighbor I have yet to meet officially), I realized the steps that were taken to indoctrinate us into this culture.

  1. The culture was established.  Long before we got here, someone at some point had started waving.  Again, I don’t know the specific origins, but I do know it happened.  Many companies talk about “creating a culture of this or that”, as if they don’t HAVE a culture already.  The step they often miss is working to overcome the culture they DON’T want in order to achieve the culture that they do want.
  2. The culture was communicated.  Again, not through a formal process, but through the actions of those already here.  The interesting thing about being the “newbie” is getting to observe my surroundings to see what sticks versus what is talked about.  Waving wasn’t talked about, it was done.
  3. The acceptable and desired behaviors are reinforced. Everyone waves. Everyone buys into the notion that if we don’t have time to converse, we should at least acknowledge our neighbors with a friendly wave.  Sometimes they wave first, setting the example, other times I beat them to it but they return the favor with a wave of their own. It’s quite remarkable.

How does this apply to you?  Looking at the three things above, how can you improve the culture of your team, department or company?

  1. Establish your culture.  Don’t forget to figure out how to “un-establish” the old culture if it’s not what you want.  Then define in specific terms the behaviors of the culture you desire.  It’s got to start somewhere, at some point and with some one. It’s not going to develop by osmosis.
  2. Communicate your culture. Yes, you can talk about it in training, but don’t let that be the only vehicle for letting people know what you value and what’s important.  Live your values and culture, and find people to surround yourself with that will live the values, too.  Communicate with actions, not just words.
  3. Reinforce the acceptable and desired behaviors. Set the example, first and foremost. If someone on your team is living up to your standards, let them know you appreciate it. Recognize it, and it will keep happening. If they can’t or won’t display the behaviors that support your culture and values, let them know how they can improve.  If they choose to behave in a way that does not uphold your standards, they are not a good fit for your culture.  Might be time to thin the herd.

In business, there have to be consequences for those who are not fitting in with the culture you are trying to establish.  When less than the standard is tolerated, that level of performance will become your new culture.

In my neighborhood, I have yet to hear what the consequences might be for NOT waving at others.  Quite frankly, I am not too worried about it.  Waving at my neighbors has now become MY culture, something I WANT to do because it’s accepted, reinforced, and it’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author:  Matt has lived in Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Connecticut, Florida, and now North Carolina.  He has worked at an amusement park or attraction in four of the states, and has held a drivers license in five (soon to be 6 with NC). There is only one state where Matt didn’t have a drivers license AND didn’t work at an amusement park.  Can you guess it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie made it all better

NOTE: This is Part 4 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on March 13-14, 2015. This will complete the series. For Part 1 “I don’t care about $2, click here.  For Part 2 “Maybe I didn’t exist”, click here. For Part 3 “You sent my bag where?” click here.


After coming to grips with the fact that my suitcase would not be accompanying me during my 12 hour stay in Chicago, I still had to pick up my rental car and get to my destination.  So I boarded the shuttle to the rental car area.

That’s where I met Jackie.

Jackie had a “how ya doing, friend” kind of attitude.  Warm, engaging and genuine. At the risk of sounding redundant, she was real AND genuine!

After the morning I’d had, interacting with someone like Jackie (just on the above merits) was quite refreshing. But the story doesn’t end here.

Jackie pulled up my reservation and noticed that I had booked my car through a 3rd party “bundle” site (like Orbitz or Travelocity). It just seemed easier booking the number of flights, hotels and cars over such a short period.  As Jackie was about to point out, it’s not always cheaper that way.

She had a confused and bewildered look on her face when she said, “Do you know you are getting charged $68 for your car for one day?”

“No, it was in the bundle.” was my response.

“Well then,” she said with a wily smile, “you are going to love me. How does $11 sound?”

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“I changed your reservation… I re-booked it directly through our site.  Don’t go through the bundle sites, a lot of times they are much more expensive.”

“Wow” was about all I could muster.  I was amazed at her honesty and goodwill and I began to smile.  Of course I would need a GPS, but even with that added to the rental I was still getting a bargain.

As I returned the car later that day, a nice young man asked if everything was okay with the car.  I told him the car was fine, but that Jackie at the counter was a real rock star.  He agreed and said, “yes, she’s the best”.

So how did Jackie make it all better?  How did she make me forget all the other junk that happened in the last 28 hours. She cared. Plain and simple, she cared about me, my experience, and my wallet.  She cared enough to take action on my behalf.  She cared enough to right the wrongs (or overchargings) perpetrated by others.

Based on the young man’s comment when I returned the car, this was not an isolated incident. He has either seen Jackie in action or has heard other happy patrons say similar things about his colleague.

Thing is, you can’t teach people to care.  You can’t give them a handbook of the do’s and don’ts and expect them to care.  I would imagine Jackie cares because she is a role that allows her to do what she does best.  How many of us can say that?

How many of our employees would care a whole lot more if they were in roles that aligned with their natural talents and abilities?  How much happier would your customers be then?

That’s something that every leader should care about.

Thanks for reading!

PS – I debated whether or not to mention Jackie’s employer, because if what she did was against policy, I certainly wouldn’t want her getting in trouble for it.  In the end though, through her actions she created a sense of connection and loyalty that will guide my rental car decisions in the future.  So, Alamo, you have a great employee in Jackie, and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this and ALL of the great experiences she creates.  Oh, and I will always check your website first when in need of a rental car.

Matt

 

 

 

About the author: Some people don’t like to travel – Matt loves it! Not only does it provide for great stories like these, but it also allows him to do what he feels he does best – Helping Leaders Lead!  He does this through interactive keynotes and customized training workshops.  Click here for more details or to find out how to book Matt for your next event!

Nick proves your argument is invalid

Last week I posted this tweet after a wonderful experience with an employee at my local Apple store.

Nick TweetWhile sending this tweet satisfied my desire to provide immediate and public praise for an amazing customer care experience, I don’t think it did Nick’s performance justice. For his efforts that day (and I am going to guess everyday) he deserves much more than 140 characters.

Here’s the situation… my 4 year-old Mac was having issues.  I had visited the Genius Bar (in-person Apple support) before and had a good experience with the “genius”, but ultimately we couldn’t pinpoint the problem.  When I left that day, the next step (after trying a few things at home) was potentially going to be wiping my hard drive clean and starting over.

I came to terms with this, backed up every last PowerPoint, spreadsheet and email, and trotted off to the Apple Store in the Altamonte Mall.

When I arrived, I took a seat at the Genius Bar, and was quickly greeted by Nick.  He looked me right in the eye, shook my hand, introduced himself and told me he was going to take care of me.

I’m terrible at judging age, but I would guess that Nick is in his early-to-mid twenties.  I was happy for that, because while I don’t like to stereotype, I felt much more comfortable with someone like Nick working on the problem than I would have been if it were someone more like… me. (i.e Old)

Nick went to work, troubleshooting and explaining things along the way.  He made me feel comfortable enough to ask questions, and patiently answered all of them as if it were the first time he heard it.  Nick moved around the computer and keyboard with ease and speed, never stopping his motion or his thoughts about what to try next.

When he started a diagnostic program that was going to take up to 10 minutes, he asked if it would be okay if he got started with another customer.  He assured me he would be back to finish up, and I no reason not to trust him.

The next 30 minutes saw more diagnostics on my computer, and more time for Nick to help others.  Here’s where it gets good.  Nick was now helping three people, myself and a person to both my right and left.  Normally, this would make many service providers cry for help.  But not Nick.

He would start a process on one computer, have to hold a key down, then shift his body to the other computer, start a process there, explain what he was doing, answer a question, start another diagnostic, etc. This went on and on.  It was like he was three people. It was really a beautiful process to watch.

Much like a symphony conductor, Nick navigated his way through an abundance of situations, guiding us and the computers along with him, ultimately to a successful resolution (at least in my case – I left before the other two were finished).

Once my computer was fixed, we high-fived and Nick wished me a good day and a Happy Thanksgiving.  He was then on to helping the next person…

So what argument does Nick invalidate? The one we make when we say “we can’t find good employees”, “these kids have no work ethic”, “they would rather text than have a face to face conversation”.

Is Nick the norm? Maybe not, but he provides hope that rock stars are out there. But unfortunately, hope won’t help you hire the right people. Hope won’t help you train them properly, and hope won’t teach them to have a good work ethic.

That falls to you and your staff, and if a little tough love is what you need to see what it takes to develop the Nicks in your world, then so be it.

And here it comes.

Stop wasting your energy on what used to be and start figuring out how to deal with the here and now. Your products and services have probably changed to meet customer demand, so why wouldn’t your internal processes change to meet the changing needs of your employees? You may need to look into technology solutions, consider more people resources, or turn your onboarding/training/employee relations process on its head. Can’t pay a lot?  Okay, what other ways can you show your staff how valuable they are? (hint, a thank you goes a LONG way).

If what you are doing now isn’t working, don’t blame your employees… they aren’t the ones who came up with the system that is now obsolete.

Like many of the problems we face, we probably know what needs to be done, but something (most likely our ego or assumptions) is getting in the way.  Could you have a Nick on your team?  Yes!  Could you have a whole team of Nicks? Absolutely, but not if you continue to argue that it’s not possible.

So there, your argument for not having a team of rock stars is invalid.  Now, stop invalidating your team by not putting forth the effort, energy and resources needed to foster a rock star employee experience.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

 

 

About the author: Matt is not too fond of going to the dentist, but recognizes that DIY dental work is a really bad idea.  If you see that your people processes are broken, but don’t know what to do, don’t go it alone.  Matt can help. Click here to find out how.

Epic recognition fail

Please tell me I didn’t just see that.

Yesterday I was at a local office store, waiting to pick something up from the copy/print center.  Behind the counter, two employees, Dustin and Tina, where feverishly working to complete the orders of the people in line in front of me.

I had worked with Tina before, and she is a true rock star.  Any business would be happy to employ her. She’s knowledgeable, friendly, efficient, and just a pleasure to work with.  Maybe that’s why this recognition fail was so profound to me.  Tina deserves SO much better.

Tina had come up to the computer at the front counter.  She was working on something for one of the other customers. You could tell by the look on her face that she was deep in thought and concentration.

At that moment, a young man in Manager-type clothes walks up to Tina with a piece of paper.  He starts talking to her with little regard for the work she was already doing. I was standing pretty close, so it was pretty easy to hear what was being said.

Manager – “Have you seen this?” (showing the paper to Tina)

Tina – (while still trying to work) “no, what is it?”

Manager – “You were mentioned personally on the President’s list.”

Tina – (1/2 looking at the paper, 1/2 looking at the computer screen) “Oh, uh, okay.”

Manager – (as he walks away) “You can keep that one, I’ve got another one for the break room.”

Do you feel that knot in your stomach?  That’s a completely wasted recognition opportunity.  Kinda makes me sick even to think about it.

Even more so, as I observed Tina just after that, she looked confused and a little annoyed.  Last time I checked, those were NOT the emotions people should feel when they’ve been recognized.

Then again, I cannot really qualify this as recognition. At best, it was a drive-by-manager-doing-his-duty.  I don’t know what the “President’s List” is, but I bet the recipient deserves better than a photo copy and an interruption.

Probably the hardest part for me to fathom, was the look on the Manager’s face as he walked away – the look of total managerial satisfaction. Yes, it does feel good to recognize others and to praise their accomplishments, but he did neither.

He failed.

But he doesn’t know he failed, at least not yet.  My guess is that it will be years before he has the managerial maturity to know that what he just did was about as far from effective recognition as you can get.  Even if Tina’s performance fades or she leaves, he probably won’t equate that to his actions.  And that’s too bad.

So what would you have done differently?  If you were this manager, how would you have recognized Tina for appearing on the President’s List?  Email me or leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author: Along with his business partner, Scott Brown, Matt has helped develop and launch Lessons In Fun – an all-new business training seminar where the world’s greatest theme parks become your classroom. Click here for more information. Registration for our session in Feb. 2015 is now open!

Kordell is a rock star

I knew before venturing out on this years coaster extravaganza that I would be paying very close attention to the way we were treated by the employees at the various parks we visited.  With long drives between some of the parks, my friend Alan and I had ample opportunity to dissect our experiences, and continually came back to one conclusion.

Kordell at Six Flags Over Texas is a ROCK STAR. He was by far the standout employee at the six parks we visited.20130719-121701.jpg

We first met Kordell in the morning when purchasing our Flash Passes (Six Flags’ cut the line pass). Here is what he did:

  • Greeted us with a smile.
  • Processed our transaction quickly (it was almost like we had a Flash Pass for the Flash Pass process!)
  • We were going to get the Gold (mid tier) pass.  Kordell noticed that Alan had an annual pass, and said with that discount we could get the Platinum pass for just a little more.  In the same breath he rattled off the benefits of the Platinum, which were very appealing to us.
  • He then said, “If you have a Discover card, I can take another 5% off!”  We did, and he did.
  • When all was said and done, he wished us a great day.

Alan and I walked out of the office commenting about how fast, friendly and knowledgeable Kordell was, AND the fact that he upsold us (which we agreed doesn’t happen that often)!  But, the story doesn’t end there.

The Platinum pass allows you to reserve a time on the Texas Giant (this was the day before the very unfortunate incident at the park) to minimize waiting. To reserve this time, we had to go back to the Flash Pass office.  Each time we did, Kordell remembered us, greeted us with a big smile and took care of our request.  We left the park for lunch, and had to turn in the Flash Pass device – who was there?  Kordell, rocking the house.

At one point in the early evening, we went to see Kordell again for a reservation for the Texas Giant.  We didn’t know it, but it had closed temporarily and was not taking reservations.  Kordell knew that, and instead set our device for a reservation for Titan (another great coaster at SFoT). He could have simply handed the devise back to us and sent us on our way, but instead he took it upon himself to make up for the fact that we couldn’t do what we originally asked for.  We were surprised and excited, and of course immediately made a bee line for Titan!

The picture above was taken when we ran into Kordell just before getting on the Texas Giant for our last ride of the night.  He was out in the park sweeping, but he was still smiling. When we mentioned how much we appreciated his service that day, he immediately (and proudly) told a co-worker standing nearby.  You could tell that he was happy that someone noticed his efforts.

When we turned in the Flash Pass device at the end of the night, we met Eric, Kordell’s supervisor.  He said that he had met Kordell when he was 15 and that he was eager to work, but too young to hire.  Eric told him to call him as soon as he turned 16 and he would hire him.  Alan and I are sure glad they both followed through!

If this experience confirms anything, it is the importance of hiring the right people.  Kordell showed signs of excellence long before he was even hired, and that translates to his performance on the job.  It’s also obvious that Kordell enjoys what he is doing, and that speaks to the ability of his management team to make sure people are in the right places and doing jobs that line up with their skills and personality.

Employees like Kordell are not always easy to find, and they will rarely be molded from someone who doesn’t have the desire or personality to perform.  So how (and where) will you find your next Kordell? Are you currently looking?

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author: Matt Heller cannot magically make all of your employees perform like Kordell.  He can, however, help you and your leaders figure out how to find the best talent and keep them motivated!

Praising others is good for you

As has been our tradition, Linda and I took to the skies on Christmas day so we could visit family in New Hampshire.  This year, when exiting the plane, Linda made it a point to thank each employee we walked by for working on Christmas. It’s a sacrifice that MANY people make in the hospitality and entertainment industries, and one that often goes unrecognized.

It was great seeing their faces light up when their sacrifice was acknowledged, but the smiles on the employees faces were nothing compared to the smile on Linda’s face. By the time we got to the terminal, she was grinning from ear to ear, on the verge of giggling.  There was a spring in her step and a palpable air of confidence and satisfaction.

Why was she so happy?

I don’t know the exact science behind it, but praising others feels good. Maybe it’s because we know what it’s like to RECEIVE praise that spreading the sunshine to someone else makes us feel good for being a part of the process. Whatever the case, this experience showed me that we should talk about this more – about how praising others is as good for the person we are praising as it is for us – and it stands to reason.  Many years ago I heard T. Scott Gross saying that the things people do generally fall into two categories: either we do things to feel good, or do things that won’t make us feel bad.  Ultimately he was talking about customer service, but I think the psychology applies here as well.

Many people shy away from praising others because they don’t know how to do it, they don’t want to appear to “favor” someone, or they don’t know what an impact it can have.  Typical “I don’t want to feel bad” type of thinking.

Problem is, you have now made the employee feel bad because they could feel ignored or under appreciated.  Oops.

What if you made the choice to feel good instead of not feeling bad, and praised the next person you see doing something good?  Wouldn’t we all benefit?

Happy New Year!

Matt

It’s never too early to start thinking about how to prepare your leaders and employees for the upcoming season.  I’m happy to help get the ball rolling!

They almost got it right

As we approach “thank you note” season, I thought I’d share an experience that gives some insight about what NOT to do!

A few weeks ago, I was ordering something over the phone. The order became sort of complicated, and probably took much longer than the average call. I had some very specific questions that required both myself and the associate, Lisa, to research before the order could be completed. In the end, the order was completed properly, and I have to say that Lisa handled the entire process VERY well.

Until…

About a week later, we got a card in the mail from that company. Upon opening it we found a hand written note from Lisa, thanking us for our order, and the note even included a few details of our conversation.

Sounds good, right? What’s the problem?

The card was addressed “Dear Linda” (my wife), when it was me who spent over 20 minutes on the phone with Lisa. It’s true that Linda has an account with this company, and we had even put the order in her name for simplicity, but Linda never spoke to Lisa.

Is this a big deal, when everything else went so well? I kinda think it is.

You could argue that Linda is the account holder and it went to her because of that. I would counter that argument with this:  If this company is REALLY trying to make a personal touch and show an interest in the consumer experience beyond the sale, they need to get ALL of the details right, which starts with knowing who you are are talking to.

For most people, there is nothing more personal than their name.  It represents who they are and it identifies them from the crowd.  Unless they have changed their (first) name for some reason, it’s been with them their entire life, which means they are pretty attached to it.

So as you are writing your thank you notes, and taking the time to thank your employees for all that they do all year, remember that one little detail that will truly communicate how much you care about them: Use their (correct) name.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Holidays!

Matt

Recognition Vulture

In a previous position, I was responsible for ensuring that the proper safety training was completed for a large department within a large company. I didn’t necessarily perform the training itself, so much as serve as a liaison between the people who needed the training and the people who offered the training. In other words, I had to make sure the right butts were in the right seats.

One day, my colleague who was responsible for offering the training came to me and said, “Man, your department is like vultures. As soon as I put something on the calendar, they https://i1.wp.com/www.how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com/image-files/cartoon-vulture-9.gifscoop up the seats.”

Taking this as a compliment, I wanted to pass along the kudos to the person responsible for scooping up all those seats. Her name is Nikki, and she took it as a compliment, too. She was proud to be called a vulture, because it meant she was doing her job and someone noticed.

It didn’t matter that her actions were being compared to a roadkill-clearing scavenger, what mattered was that there was an acknowledgement, a recognition for what she had accomplished. She may have been toiling away quietly at her desk, doing her job to the best of her ability and hoping it was creating a positive outcome. And then someone noticed and they cared enough to mention it.  And Nikki started scooping up the seats even faster!

I ran across a similar example from some friends in a call center environment. The goal was efficient calls and resolution, and each call was timed.  The person with shortest call time average got a little Hot Wheels race car to put on their desk.  The person with the longest call time average got a little toy turtle.  They said you would not believe the buzz and friendly competition that erupted in the center because everyone wanted that car and no one wanted the turtle.

I think we can sometimes get too wrapped up in WHAT or even HOW we are going to recognize an achievement (before it even happens) that we lose sight of WHY we are recognizing. I think the vulture status was motivating to Nikki because it was directly related to something specific she had done.

And WHY do we recognize? Because we want people to know that they are doing the right thing so they will keep doing it. The folks at the call center increased efficiency and satisfaction because they wanted a little toy car on their desk.  Bragging rights.

So before you go planning an elaborate (and expensive) recognition and reward plan, remember what people really want (and what will influence behavior):

  • Acknowledgement – they need to know that way they did meant something to someone.
  • Sincerity – the acknowledgement has to be real, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to be real.
  • Personal – Nikki was the Training Vulture. No one else could take that title. It was hers because she earned it.

Did I miss anything?  Let me know!

Thanks!

Matt

Ever wondered what I do when I am not writing blog posts?  You can find our here: What Matt Does. How handy is that?

More proof that money isn’t the best motivator

If you attended the IAAPA Expo last week, you saw the results of a lot of hard work. Did you know that much of that work was done by volunteers?

Here are some of my favorite volunteers – The IAAPA HR Committee!

Me, Shaun McKeogh, Linda Gerson, Alexis Means, Mike Manassee, Brad Loxley (Missing: Mary Burton)

 

While at IAAPA, did you…

  • Go to an education session? The people that have been working since January to pick the right topics, speakers and mix of programming for you, along with the speakers themselves, are volunteers.
  • Attend the Brass Ring Awards? The people who sift through the entries and determine the best of the best of our industry… volunteers.
  • Interact with a Show Ambassador? Maybe they checked you into an education session, helped you find Dippin’ Dots or welcomed you onto the bus on the way to Universal. Yep, volunteers.

Why all this talk about volunteers? Because in this day and age of tighter budgets and doing more with less, we have to find out what really motivates people, and I think we can get some really good insight by looking at why the volunteers do what they do.

So why do people volunteer?

They believe in the cause.  Whether it’s helping clean up after Hurricane Sandy or planning education programs, something about the process connects to the individual on a deep level.  They feel “compelled” to do what they can to help.

They feel they can make a difference.  They understand that their contribution of time, effort and care will help someone else grow, learn, or sometimes, survive.

They know they will be supported. Causes are not taken on by individuals, but by teams.  A united front gains momentum through helping others and continuing to move forward, even if it is only an inch at a time.

Let’s apply this to your business…

Do you have a “cause”?  This could be why you are in business, how you want to serve your guests or treat employees.  The cause itself isn’t as important as getting your employees to believe in it.

Can your employees make a difference?  YES, and they can choose to make a positive difference in the lives of your guests or a negative one.  Many people don’t know how they impact the company, so they don’t know what a difference they make.

Are your employees supported?  By you, perhaps.  But what about the rest of the leadership team or the other employees?  No employee is an island.

Remember all the things mentioned above that are accomplished by volunteers?  Now think of the things you struggle to get your employees to do… What’s missing?

Here’s a hint… it’s not money.

Thanks for reading!

In case you haven’t seen it, I recently launched a brand new version of www.performanceoptimist.com.  Come check it out!