By Alonzie Scott / Published on May 17th, 2007 / Management
What does it take for any highly effective leisure industry professional to meet and exceed their customers needs under a concept I coined “ICEE?” ICEE connotes individual, community, environmental and economic a benefits movement premise advocated by the National Recreation and Parks Association. Bill O’Reilly, a Fox’s television news anchor, might say I added “SPIN” to benefits movement. My inimitable background working with the United States Navy, Morale, Welfare and Recreation program compels me to create provocative and mind dazzling abbreviations.

Memorable acronyms make concepts and ideas appear simple and quite frankly easy to remember. Highly effective leisure industry professionals must know the benefits of what they do for their customers. This futurist premise is the guiding foundation of the benefits ideology. For example, an “I” or individual benefit could be, “reduce my cholesterol by 40 points as a result of me using the community fitness center and their nutritionist food management control program.” I hate the word “diet.” Meanwhile, an economic benefit, yes I leapfrogged to the $$$$ because money is what most administrators want to know more details about. An economic benefit might be “increase tourism net profit 15 percent annually in all local parks and tourism attractions with seniors.”

While I acknowledge the importance of strategically operating a profitable market focus food, lodging, hospitality, tourism, recreation and parks organization or business, I discovered the best way to achieve this feat through these time tested “7 M’s” of every highly effective leisure industry professionals. Years of direct frontline industry specific work and persistent reviews of academic literature indirectly confirms that these “M’s” are the keys to building, transforming, changing, restructuring, leading, forecasting, innovating, delivering and evaluating a dynamic product, event, program, facility, good or service customers desire and deserve. Highly effective leisure professionals always apply the “M’s” to find, fill and exceed their target customers needs and interest. In short, professionals consistently exhibit what Napoleon Hill calls “burning desire” to satisfy customers.

Perhaps, the “M’s” bedrock premise directs highly effective leisure professionals to think globally and to anticipate, innovate and achieve excellence then take action locally. Home-based is where their greatest contribution and impact lies. This ideology means highly effective leisure professionals accomplish their goals and objectives with customer knowledge management(CKM). CKM directs professionals to use data or knowledge based decisions to include but not limited to these components: technology, accountability, leadership, innovation, people and fiscal management and of course the right cultural mindset. The right way to manage requires the continuous application of the 7 M’s of highly effective managers and organizations. Either managers become innovators, those who create something new, or they become what Harvard Business School Professor and management expert, Theodore Levitt’s describes as “innovative imitators.” Meaning, highly effective leisure professionals modify, copy, adapt and reinvent what is already successful in the market place. The “7 M’s” of highly effective managers are time tested methods. They work if you put them to work. The first key factor of any winning and admirable organization is “management” with the knowledge that no organization exists with employees and customers.

MANAGEMENT

The premier guiding force of any leisure service organization falls and rises on the broad and robust shoulders of management. This absolutely powerful bunch creates the systems, strategies, structures, standards, specifications, satisfaction and success for people to do the work management hired them to do. Because management comprehends what it thinks is the right way to manage without the knowledge from the people doing the work, this rift creates factions that produces wastefulness, flaws and fruitless outcomes. Unfortunately, top management habitually forces their most important asset…people…to endure these hardships and defunct facets even if the work and work processes fail to coincide with the organization’s vision and mission. In short and by default, management neglects their customers needs and requirements. Since the management echelons determine and control most facets designed to meet and exceed their customers needs, they are ultimately responsible for achieving and sustaining the organization’s solvency or profitability. The latter can never be under estimated. Mark McCormack, CEO of International Management Group, the world’s largest sports management and marketing company, says and I paraphrase, money is how bosses, competitors, colleagues and interest holders keep score. When the organization makes changes and it should always be changing, the change is bound to be among management. Why? These critical thinkers hold the keys to every organization’s success or failure. In short, the top brass or charlatans, depending on what’s happening in the organization, are accountable under most industrialized and knowledge based organizations. Don’t expect this FACT to change anytime soon.

Management acquired the privilege of setting the course and pace for the organization. Strategically, everyone, customers, workers and stakeholders, hopes management follows a specific change oriented success path lined with data based decisions and yes, some fast track or spontaneous decisions. The latter prevents organizations from getting left behind as they attempt to verify and validate everything before taking the risk. The rub as NIKE would say, “Just Do It.” Highly effective leisure professionals prefer decisions anchored with anticipation, innovation, excellence, creativity, critical thinking and revolutionary transformation merged in constant change at the zenith of their core management competency. In short, management remains the foundation for the interdependent “M’s to carve a block of ice into an astonishing masterpiece of choice.

Finally, management is often and mistakenly identified as the organizational leaders. Fact…this role consistently rests with the knowledge holders. The people doing work or working with the people on the frontlines are the organization’s best knowledge holders. Occasionally, management and the people doing the work are operating like a well tuned Mercedes Benz, Lexus, BMW or Jaguar. Those paradigms of truth are simply magical for the customers receiving these programs, activities, events, products, goods, facilities and services.

MAINTENANCE

Under this “M,” highly effective leisure industry professionals must make time to rejuvenate their attitude, spirit, wherewithal, synergy and keen senses. These characteristics transform their very essence of success. Of course, maintenance in the literal context does also connote repairing, altering, revamping, adjusting, updating, upgrading, replacing, adapting, analyzing, monitoring, evaluating, and changing people, places and things. Enhancements vividly reveal a requirement and a need to simply do things different, better, easier, safer, surer, faster and cheaper than ever before in the history of both public and private organizations or businesses.

As a seasoned leisure industry professional battling day-to-day issues, I foresee this life changing “M” dominating current and future management vernacular. The concept is now a necessary fabric tightly woven like a black widows web in every industrialized country and now knowledge management conciseness. To become a highly effective leisure professional, I strongly advocate the use and practice of “self-maintenance” wisely. As this continuous application evolves, watch the rebirth of the organization or the beginning of empowerment taking roots in the organization. In short, maintenance can never be left up to chance. Always include this vital component in every component of the organization. If management elects to discount maintenance, it shall face certain and permanent decline in its interrelated work and work processes…guaranteed. Going out of business or replacing people isn’t far behind…believe it.

MULTICULTURALISM

Let’s talk about what strategic innovation thinkers and I view as one of the most important strengths in America. Unfortunately, the dichotomy zaps us because multiculturalism remains one of the least discussed topics with the highest impact on America today. Every college, university and knowledgeable think tank concedes this vital factor. The general population and mass media rarely focuses on how multiculturalism is an overwhelming transformation on the horizon. What the masses read mostly is adverse or negative aspects of this NEW America. In essence, the CONTEMPORARY America evolved over the last two decades and reached another galaxy right here on earth. The migration transformation from a significantly European origin to a largely Latin and Asian cultures inundated the American core fabric. These new cultures adopted the American ideology and made the founding or freedom philosophy uniquely theirs. They simply transformed America on the fast track towards bi-lingualism, ethical appreciation and a truly diverse society while the status quo will change through attrition or death. The traditionalist views this rapid onslaught as regressively changing America. These Neanderthals often reject the multicultural wave hitting America’s shores then washing away the deeply imbedded stewards of power and control. The paradigm of truth is, “we don’t change the message, the message changes us.”

MOTIVATION

Fredrick Herzberg’s 1987 Harvard Business Review article, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees,” supports my perception that motivation is simply internal drive, energy or attitude that influences behaviors such as achievement, recognition, interesting work, responsibility and advancement. Joe Capozzi, author of “100 Secrets In Business,” paints a stunning motivational image to conceptualize. He says “if you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.” Without recanting Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and other motivational research, I would rather offer some simple yet profound motivational success secrets. Use these ideas to reenergize, revel-up, synergize, entice, influence, encourage and transform workers, managers and supervisors.

1. Take very, very, very good care of your employees.

2. Always establish a value for what you offer customers.

3. Do whatever is necessary to entice, influence, encourage and promulgate customer involvement in every program, event, activity, facility, product, good or service offered. Hint: CUSTOMERS are the reason you are in business. Never, never, never forget it.

4. Follow Zig Ziglar’s philosophy, a renowned world class motivation speaker, writer and leader, “get rid of that stinking thinking. Meaning, never surrender or give-up on your customers: FIND ways to get their attention and gain their trust.

5. Establish clear and definite objectives for every program, product, good, service or facility offered. Make sure your employees understand them.

6. Build relationships with customers via partnerships then formulate a community-web designed to tackle most needs and interest.

7. Question EVERYTHING. Questioning is the only way to challenge what you do and pursue continuous improvement. Welcome and reward ideas from your employees.

8. Accept the fact that you want win everyone the first, second or third time. Play the clean-up role and always give 100 percent effort.

9. Employ information to tackle two key things people address every day. Appeal to their EMOTION and LOGIC. The William James rub is, “the deepest human need is the…need to be appreciated.”

10. Make what you do and offer easy for customers, frontline workers, managers and supervisors to digest and feel excited about everyday. Always sell the BENEFITS of what you do for CUSTOMERS.

11. Listen first and explain second. My GRANDMOTHER use to say to me, “Son god gave you two ears for a special reason. Use them more than the one mouth he gave you.”

Indeed, my leisure colleagues, these quote or unquote secrets are always there for you to implement and employ accordingly. Russ Walden’s buzz conveys the message better for every highly effective leisure service professional, “if you aren’t having fun in your work, fix the problem before it becomes serious; ask for help if you need it. If you can’t fix it and won’t ask for help, please go away before you spoil the fun for the rest of us.”

MONEY

According to Mark McCormack, the world’s best sports marketing and management guru, money is how most business people keep score. I say most leisure service organizations should apply the same revenue philosophy. Indeed, I understand some of you are public service organizations but that distinction never limits highly effective leisure professionals from generating money then reallocating those hard earned funds to pay for services in less fortunate neighborhoods or subsidize other keep industry amentias to satisfy customers. Play Robin Hood. Don’t steal…realign resources from the rich and invest in the less financial solvent communities or business essential entities. Always find ways to develop and operate revenue generating programs, facilities, services, products, activities, events or goods. They are your life blood. The leisure industry profession showcases unlimited “moneymaking and money saving” options both nationally and locally. Aspire to become and remain lifetime intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs then start analyzing what you can do using various business platforms or models now. The supersonic change management air bus always leaves platform #1 on time everyday. Please Don’t Miss It.

MODEL

Models are excellent and fascinating ways to benchmark your organization against. Leisure professionals immediately discover who, what, when, why, how and where the success emulates. Once you discover the critical answers, any leisure professional can download this data then reopen the concept to benefit their organization or community. Models are McDonald’s, Foot Locker, Family Golf Centers, Ruby Tuesday, Hawkins Theaters, Pizza Hut, Gymboree, Body Shop, Busters and Dave, Wendy’s, AMF Bowling Centers, Chuckie Cheese, Disney, KFC, Burger King, Ms. Field’s Cookies, Disney, MTV, VH1, CompUSA and others. These models offer leisure service professionals an opportunity to formulate smaller scaled versions in their communities either directly or indirectly. For example, create a Burger King Express at your golf course club operation or place a KFC Express in your downtown park or partner with a Ruby Tuesday or Bahama Breeze in you hotel. My suggestion leads you to constantly scan and read domestic and international leisure and non-leisure specific newspapers, data bases, bulletins, magazines, lectures, newsletters and watch international television broadcasts especially business news and travel shows. You should constantly be on alert to these paradigm impacting ways to discover NEW and exciting ideas.

If you say you don’t have time to explore these resources, bull…make time or you will quickly find yourself and your organization constantly playing catch up while your competitors and colleagues sprint several meters ahead and remains there… FOREVER. Pursue your marathon training then start the model principle in your day-to-day management practice. In short, make time to stay ahead of Father Time.

MARKETING

Dee Hock’s comment says spotlights marketing everywhere, “the problem in never how to get new, innovative thoughts in our mind but how to get old ones out.” Even if you offer customers the best product, facility, good, program, activity or service, you’ve done a disservice to your organization when you fail or never market them. To often, leisure industry professionals view programs, products, goods, service, facilities, events, or activities exposure from a publicity perspective vice a marketing direction… the world’s dynamic business model of gaining and keeping customers. Marketing advocates you adopt a systematic process for enlightening or SELLING what you do, offer or provide customers. NIKE and McDonalds understand the importance of employing this essential tool. Without employing a marketing ideology, strategy, system, structure, skill or style to your organization, you doom yourself and organization to marginal success.

Highly effective leisure industry professionals spend a dedicate quality time formulating and incorporating marketing concepts in their development and delivery of programs, services, goods, activities, events, products and facilities. In the knowledge management age, professionals can never allow the ship to leave port without their them. Employing the right street smart marketing strategy for a specific customer places every leisure service manager on the forefront of what Fons Trompeneur, an international management consultant and author, might describe as riding the waves of light or atomic speed change. People, their preferences, their ideologies, their interest and needs all change. Future oriented leisure service professionals marketing philosophies and methodologies must respond and transcend accordingly. If an organization desires to swiftly move toward a marketing paradigm and it should, management must remember two old proverbs, “variety is spice of life and don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” Michelangelo skyrockets pass the proverbs by saying, “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is to high and we miss it, but it is to low and we reach it.”

Finally, marketing is simply a constant revamping of how highly effective leisure professionals want customers to view their programs, products, goods, services, events, activities and facilities. They simply fit what they do or offer to CUSTOMERS. Use various tools to SELL and entice customers to participate, buy or use what you offer. The adage is quite simple don’t you think? Now translate as Gandhi would say, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Change word “world” to your organization’s name and let the innovations virus infect and rewrite the way you do business.
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Article by Alonzie Scott III is recognized Leisure Industry specialist with 18.5 successful years of experience. For more articles, subscribe to “Innovations@Work by visiting www.flatrss.com or email flatrss@hotmail.com