Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Time for a Check-up

by Dr Jack Samuels

At this time of continued financial pressure, it is time to think critically about managerial functions and attitudes throughout our industry. The parks and attractions industry is not devoid of the problems that are facing other businesses around the world, but we also have to ask ourselves a number of unique questions.

Have we become too hardware reliant? Does the presence of good attractions hide the errors of good management? Have we forgotten that it is people that make our industry successful and bring guests back time and time again?

What else is going wrong? We are violating most of the cherished principles relating to corporate culture and ethics. Ask yourself which of the following two options you are following in your organisation (as noted by William A Howath in his book The Seven Elements for Influencing Corporate Culture):

1) An environment that’s focused on revenues only and talks about its hardship. While the average employee sees their boss’s entitlements and benefits as much greater than their own, they are constantly told to keep up the hard work so the company can stay in business – almost a fear culture.

2) An environment that engages its workforce. Leaders are visible, develop strong relationships with their workforce, and are mindful of double standards. They are committed to sharing the rewards of the workforce’s hard work equally throughout the company and to building a co-operative and healthy work environment for all.

Many managers like to say that they are subscribing to option two, but unfortunately, they are blind to the fact that they are subscribing to option one and that is why we have got into the mess that we are now enduring!

It may appear that, due to our showy products, external customer service and showmanship, everything is OK in the amusement business, but below the surface problems may exist that will eventually lead to the same situations that are hurting other industries.

So, now is the time to do perform a check-up of your company culture. Ask yourself:

-Is it clear what my venue’s mission is and how it influences my employees?

-Do we have a sense of corporate community and pride?

-Am I giving my employees a chance to help direct the management of the company? Am I rewarding them properly given their contributions and effort?

-Is everything I do designed to benefit the good of the operation rather than just me?

-Do we celebrate our heritage or have we forgotten about it and its importance?

-Am I maintaining the highest ethical standards in all of my business dealing?

In an industry like ours that celebrates people, it is time to get back to our roots. If you’re already doing some of the above, I’d love to hear about it!

Dr Samuels has written over 150 articles for the amusement, theme park and entertainment industries. He provides consulting services in marketing, facility development, customer service, safety, crowd and event management, plus promotional activities such as birthday parties. samuelsj@mail.montclair.edu

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