Ruby Newell-Legner - 7 Star Service
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How To Get What You Want … Today

leadership, get what you want, happy employeesI disagree with The Rolling Stones. I think you CAN get what you want, but you need to know what you want in order to get it. Then, you must tell those around you to make sure they know what you want, too.

All too often, I work with people who haven’t really decided what they want and spend most of their time looking at the negative side of things, seeing only what they DON’T want.

To help you get better at visualizing and obtaining your wants within your organization, write down three key concepts that describe exactly what you are looking for.

  • For a general manager, it might be a revenue-generating, safe and fully booked event.
  • For a parks and recreation leader, it might be fulfilling a community need, helping people enjoy leisure and creating a positive work environment.
  • For an aquatics manager or amusement park supervisor, it might be a safe, fun and clean environment.
  • For coach it might be trust, hard work and dedication.
  • For a referee, it might be sportsmanship, fair play and friendly competition.
  • For a stadium manager, it might be a staff that always remembers to be customer friendly, team-oriented and attentive.

You get the idea.

Next, ask yourself, What have I done today to make sure the people who can make all that happen know my expectations?

As a recreation facility manager for over 20 years, the characteristics I looked for in my staff members were customer service, teamwork and initiative. Here are seven ways to make your wants reality — especially when hiring new employees:

  1. Identify three specific areas of expectation you have for your staff. These can include the items on the wish list you created in the previous exercise. They should embody what you feel is the most important aspect of employees’ jobs.
  2. Use those areas of expectation to format your interview questions when hiring. Design your dialogue with each job candidate to make sure you include scenarios and questions around your wants. If customer service is a critical aspect of the job — and a skill you want all of your employees to possess in spades — ask the candidate how he or she would handle an angry patron.
  3. Let employees know why you hired them. Say something like this: “Mary, you were selected for this position because you demonstrated a high degree of customer service, a desire for teamwork and a knack for initiative. Those are the most important elements required of our employees, and I am delighted to offer you a position with our facility.”
  4. Reinforce your specific criteria through training. 
During new-employee orientation, bring out a stack of applications and say, “You were chosen over all these applicants because during your interview you showed us that you radiate customer service, teamwork and initiative.” Then use your criteria as a framework of the specific skills you want them to learn during training. Let new employees know that they will be evaluated on those skills, and make sure they know what each criteria looks like. I recommend showing them specific examples of good and bad behavior, so they know what to do and what not to do.
  5. Check for understanding. Ask new employees at the end of the new employee training session to reiterate what they think are the most important expectations of the job. If they haven’t mentioned your criteria, you haven’t been clear enough.
  6. Follow up on initial training by reinforcing specific behavior when you observe it. You can do this on a one-on-one basis or create a reward and recognition program to acknowledge positive actions.
  7. Use your training outline as an evaluation tool. If you listed them on the training form, make sure you are measuring performance in those areas.

By using these simple steps to reinforce your expectations, you will begin to instill in your employees an understanding of their jobs’ “bigger picture.”

I encourage each of you to do some soul-searching regarding your specific criteria. That will help you hire the right people and define for your staff exactly what you want. That way, you’ll find — as The Rolling Stones predicted — you’ll also get you need.

(Photo by iStock)

About Ruby Newell-Legner

As a Fan Experience Expert, Ruby helps leaders in sports, leisure and entertainment build strong teams between front line staff and management, and make exceptional customer service a way of life. She has consulted with and designed customized training programs for more than 60 sports and entertainment venues, 80 leisure facilities and 29 professional sports teams. From the only 7 Star Hotel in the world to Convention Centers, from Denver to Dubai, Ruby brings unprecedented expertise and insight on how to create a service culture that motivates employees and promotes customer loyalty and retention.

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