Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

Do you show appreciation?

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NYCTomorrow is Employee Appreciation Day. I know, to some it may feel like this is just another Hallmark day to celebrate, but did you know that studies show that “recognition” was one of the main things employees wanted in order to produce great work? I mean, we all want a little appreciation now and then, right?

If you are always showing your team members how much you appreciate them, you may not have to do anything big tomorrow, but if this is an area to work on, tomorrow is a great day to start.

Appreciation doesn’t always have to come in the form of cash. Here are a few ways you can show appreciation to your team members, not just tomorrow, but any time.
1. Tell them!

It’s amazing how just telling your team members they are appreciated can go a long way. Be specific. Tell them you appreciate they are always on time to work so you never have to worry about their position being covered. You appreciate them always coming to work with a positive attitude. Once they know you see those things, they’ll know have a true appreciation for them.

2. Have food in the break room.

Let me tell you, my team members loved it when I would bring food! We were a pizza buffet so I had to stay away from that but it could be so simple: cupcakes, cookies, cake, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, really, any food. They didn’t have to eat center food or go out and pay for their own food. It’s fun, easy, and trust me, they’ll love it!

3. Have some fun!

Do something fun during the day. Do a fun drawing every half hour or hour for gift cards. You don’t have to purchase the gift cards. Get out in your community and trade. You are not the only one trying to show a little employee appreciation!

4. Create a wall of fame.

How fun would it be for team members to walk into their shift and see their face on the wall? Have a team member of the week. I love going to Jason’s Deli and seeing their team member of the week on the wall with information about them. It’s amazing how much we don’t know about each other. Reward them with a gift card or a small bonus, say $50.

5. Create center bucks.

Ours were called Buddy bucks after our mascot. All managers and supervisors could give them out when they saw a team member do something above and beyond. Team members could even ask managers to give them out when they saw something extraordinary. At the end of each quarter, team members redeemed their bucks from a selection of prizes. It gives them great incentive and is an instant reward for something they did that was great.

6. Send to training and conference. 

Team members love to learn and this is a great way to let them know you are invested in them and their success. Not only do they feel appreciated, you are getting a huge return on your investment, too.

7. Swap a task with a team member.

Step in one day and run the register or work the snack bar counter for an hour. Ask your team member to walk the floor and look as if they were the owner/gm. Tell them to tell other team members how they are doing and show their appreciation to their peers.

8. Create a team member newsletter.

Create a newsletter you can give or email to team members each month. Recognize the employee of the month. Let the staff know how the center is doing and what’s coming up in the future. Have team members contribute as well.

9. Recognize your team on social media.

Your team members make your center and it’s great to give them recognition. Snap photos of them with their birthday parties, operating rides, or helping out a child. Let your fans see and recognize them, too.

10. Plan a team member appreciation party. 

I know, we are in the business of making money but why not close down on a Thursday night, have a pot luck (you provide the main course they bring sides and dessert) and let your team members have fun!

Hope this will give you some ideas about how to show appreciation for your team members. We would love to hear how you show your appreciation! Want some more fun and easy ideas? Check out our Pinterest board!

FIRST-Connect with Others

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Without connection, there is very little potential for a relationship.It’s interesting to be someplace where you can’t read or understand a single word someone else is saying.

I was having lunch at a restaurant in Sweden surrounded by people from the local business community. There was a lot of chatter and I noticed how everyone seemed to be enjoying each other. I, on the other hand, felt completely isolated and unconnected. I couldn’t understand a single word.

I had no idea what I ordered for lunch. The food was good but I could not shake the disconcerting feeling that came from the low hum of the unrecognizable conversation going on around me.

I can’t say it was uncomfortable. Just isolating….like I didn’t belong. That made me think of the powerful need most of us have for connection with others. All of a sudden I was struck with the fact that the TrainerTainment Sales Process is what it is because it works!

There’s a reason why we call it a process:

  1. C – CONNECT
  2. Q – qualify
  3. P – present (sell)
  4. C – close

Connect is first for a reason. Without connection, there is very little potential for a relationship. With no connection, you don’t have the right to ask a single question. You certainly do not need to “show up & throw up” your pitch all over someone you aren’t connected to. That’s just rude. Without connection, you are isolated from your potential customer and them from you. It is exactly like you can’t and are NOT speaking each other’s language. You must walk through the process of getting connected to another human being before you can begin to sell them anything.

If you saw our Tuesday Tip, you caught me in the moment following an incoming sales call. The sales rep failed to connect or qualify me at all! Jump over to our Facebook fan page. I promise it’s a fun couple of minutes to catch me in the aftermath of visiting with a sales person who has given me reason to learn and teach more!

I also want to invite you to join us for our next webinar on Feb 11th where we’ll be helping you with the approach to use when you are reaching out to people to build new business for your center.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll intentionally practice the art of connecting this weekend. It makes a big difference!

These Kids Today

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StockholmOur parents used this phrase when talking about our work habits and their parents said the same about them. In the Family Entertainment Center world, it is a given that we work with many young people. However, the work world today is incredibly diverse in age, ethnicity, talent, knowledge, values, and beliefs.

With diversity comes complexity, tolerance, confusion, growth, learning, challenge, opportunity, and a great deal of patience.

Often times in business there is a single over-arching goal or vision. In my mind the family entertainment market sees that goal as service to the guest in order to make memories.

Here’s where complexity sets in. In addition to the business’ vision of creating that service based experience, the business owner and the front line team members have independent goals that motivate them to come to work every day. The business owner’s goal might be to create a sustainable (profitable) business in order to provide entertainment and jobs in his/her community. A front line team member may be most concerned about making enough money to buy their first car.

You see what I mean about complex and diverse. It’s no wonder that leading a team can be difficult and frustrating at times.

Have you taken the time to find out what your team members value? Do you know why they work at your center?

If you use the analogy of a sports team it’s easier to see how a diverse group of people come together for the purpose of a single mission. A baseball team, for example has 9 people with different backgrounds and positions on the team. Each of those positions require something different from each team member. Each player has differing results when they go to bat. Some of the players are superstars and some of them are supporting team players. And the goal is clear. They are trying to score enough runs and keep their opponents from scoring at all in order to win the game. It’s clear.

I’m not sure that we do a good enough job in business defining what it means to win the game. How are you keeping score? Does everyone on the team know when you’ve hit the single or the winning run? What’s the focus?

Listen, you can’t adequately coach your team if there is no clear definition of how you play the game.  Your team has to know how to score when they are playing offense and when to play defense in order to minimize the competition.

I encourage you to think about the rules of the game when it comes to your business. Clearly state what it takes to play for you team. Recruit players that understand and buy into those rules of the game. Then create a meaningful scoreboard. Keep track of the things that are most important to you winning the game. I promise, it will make a big difference.

Change & Letting Go

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I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I tend to make my resolutions when I’m ready, instead of when people say that we should make them. A few weeks ago I was ready, and set a goal to give up non-essential sugar. I mean, who can really give it up 100%? It’s in our food and my deep need, yes a need, for Starbucks grande, non-fat, extra-hot, vanilla lattes was something I just couldn’t part with. Living here in Indonesia for the past year and a half has been an adjustment, and one that that I have done is found comfort in sweets! Yes, when we celebrate, when I was stressed out, when I thought I needed to reward myself, didn’t matter; I turned to sweets.

It doesn’t help that they are EVERYWHERE and so cheap! Donuts here are a snack instead of what you eat for breakfast once in a while, gourmet cupcakes are essentially a $1 where back in the US are $3.50, every mall has a bakery that sells sweet treats that are gourmet and $2 or less and worst of all–a liter of coke here is about $.75. So yes, it’s easy access, it’s yummy, and it’s hard to give up. I made the choice that I needed to do what was best for my body and my sanity, and it was not easy. I mean, it’s been a week and I still want something sugary and sweet, but I know that I shouldn’t do it. I am dedicated to changing my habits and letting go of the sugar.

Isn’t that how most things in business are? Making the right choices, no matter how hard and emotional they are?  Giving up sugar is pretty freaking emotional. I think sometimes we know what we need to do, like hiring the right people even if it means paying them just a little more and providing them with the right training to get them on track for huge success in order to get a return on our investment. How about investing time and money into creating training programs, for new and current team members, so they can meet their full potential and be the best team members they can? Or how about biting the bullet and adding online booking systems or upgrading our centers that will in the end help increase sales?  Think of all that would put fear into any manager and owner’s mind.

What I have learned over the past 9 years being an operator and consultant in the FEC business is that with change comes fear, and we know that decisions should not be based off of fear. I know when I decided to give up sugar I was fearful of headaches, fearful of my ability to be able to do it, fearful of being able to face realities head-on instead of finding comfort in sugar.

When I was a younger manager in a center, I had fears when we had major changes. I was fearful if they would really work. I was fearful if my team could get on board and adapt.  I was fearful if I would be able to execute it at the highest level and do what was best for my company. Now, I know that I have to change and let go of the fear and look at it as what is best for the company, not what is going to make me the most comfortable.

The reality and best part about change and letting go is that most of the time you don’t have to do it alone. For my giving up on sugar I have turned to a few friends who are doing it with me and we encourage each other. With training and development, we are here to be the rock for you and your people. Don’t be fearful of the change; let go and embrace it!

Are you driving your bus?

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are youMy first experience as a leader of a team came when I became the party manager for iT’Z in Albuquerque. It seems like forever ago, but I learned so many lessons growing with the company. I think it was my time in Houston where I grew the most. It was a much larger and higher volume center than in Albuquerque, which also meant that I had a bigger team. I was still fairly young, and I was fortunate to work with some amazing managers that really helped mold me to the leader and manager I am today.

One of the things that really helped motivate me and understand my role as a manager and leader was when Beth gave me the book “The Energy Bus.” If you haven’t heard or read it, pick it up today! It’s a great and easy read and will change your perspective about being a leader. I know, being a leader, especially to a younger generation can be challenging. Heck, even when you are working with other adults and lead them, it can be a challenge. At the end of the day, it really all comes down to the same thing; you are the leader and are leading them.

I love that this book gives us 10 Rules for the Ride of Your Life, and there is one that has always stuck out to me – You’re the driver of the bus. I mean- seems simple, right? We are in charge of the places we go, the things that we do. We are the driver of our business, our attitudes, our actions, our goals and the driver of the attitude and actions of those around us. That’s a pretty powerful position, and one that is an honor.

Think about it this way; if you plan a trip and know exactly where to go, but you allow someone else to drive the car and don’t tell them any information how to get there, will the trip ever go anywhere? Maybe, but it will probably take longer to get there, have more detours, and run into more problems than you need to.
With our business, we hire managers and team members to be on the bus with us, but we have to be the one to make sure the bus is moving forward and that everyone is on the same ride. We have to drive the bus. We know the plan, we have the vision, we know the direction and it is our jobs as leaders to be sure that we are providing that direction and driving the bus with a great attitude and the actions needed to move forward.

So I challenge you as we are closing out 2015 and heading into a new year, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where am I going?
  • What direction is my bus moving?
  • Is that direction where I want/need to be going?
  • What can I do daily to make sure I am driving my bus in the right direction?

Start today and get your bus on the road to success!