Five Observations from Five States in Five Months

How to change your focus to see your progress


I did a similar article years ago and felt it was time to revisit the topics and see if anything has changed, especially with the “excitement” of the last few years.

I still love what I do! It is truly a privilege to work for Raving and see how far we’ve come since I joined the ranks seven years ago. I also love the teams I work with on the road. Each one has overcome huge obstacles in the past three years and have really learned to pivot quickly.

Everything I’ve learned in my 36 years of being in the gaming business was done the hard way … on the job and through lots of mistakes! So, if I can help someone do their job better, make their life easier, or hit those goals, then I am a happy person. The bonus is meeting so many people with the same passion: to be the change they want to see in the world; to spread a little more kindness and love in a world that so desperately needs it. So many times, I just help them put into words what they already know or put things into a bit more of a perspective they understand. Other times, I am teaching a brand-new culture or new techniques. It is truly never boring!

The most common observation I’ve noticed is that we aren’t really all that different and neither are the issues unique. Even with the changes from COVID-19, we still are dealing with similar issues. Over the past five months I’ve been all over the place and here are five observations I’ve encountered that I would like to share:

#1. We have all learned to pivot.

For all the struggles, fear, and just horrible things COVID-19 left in its wake, we did experience a few good things. The same old’, same old’ doesn’t cut it anymore. We have all experienced situations that we never thought or imagined we would, so we had to come up with different solutions. We thought outside the box, which, in our industry, doesn’t happen easily or often. We did the best with what we had and most clients I have spoken and worked with have seen better revenue numbers despite those obstacles. Because of this it is even MORE important to …

#2. Make your team members know how important and appreciated they are!

I’ve said it 100 times – people have three basic needs: to be seen, to be heard and to matter. We seem to have gotten it backwards. We have functioned so long with the idea that if we treat our guests well, we are delivering great guest service. The truth of the matter is, if you treat your TEAMS well, they will take care of your guests. When you accomplish this, you will find increased loyalty (more revenue from guests and less turnover from employees, both effect the bottom line!), and an overall improved work environment. If you treat back of the house people (teammates) differently than those in the front of the house (guests), there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Great guest service starts with how we treat each other INTERNALLY, not the other way around.

#3. Excuses are still plentiful and a HUGE waste of time!

If I had a nickel for every “yeah, but …”, “whatabout’s”, finger pointing (the blame game) and “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” I would be extremely wealthy!  You are either a participant in the problem or part of the solution. Granted, we have rules and regulations we must follow, but more often than not, these excuses are used to avoid work. When obstacles occur, look for ways to overcome. Stop making excuses to fail and look for reasons to succeed. Who cares who’s to blame, let’s fix the problem! You can have results, or you can have excuses … you can’t have both!

#4. The Golden Rule Isn’t Always Appropriate

We’ve always been told to treat people the way we would like to be treated (the golden rule). But … we are all different, so how YOU like the be treated may not be how someone else would like to be treated. Especially when we deal with people who are losing!

I prefer the PLATINUM RULE: treat people the way THEY want to be treated. It’s not about you (or always about the rules, for that matter) … we have to pay attention.

#5 Clear and Consistent Communication is a MUST!

The lack of communication causes more problems than any other issue. Whether it’s not clearly explaining things to our guests or a lack of dialogue and sharing of information between departments (that darn silo effect!), communication breakdown is the biggest form of frustration and misunderstanding anywhere!

The key to effective communication is to LISTEN … not to respond, but to hear. This was highly apparent when I worked with a group from operations and the PD team. Neither really knew what the other’s job was especially when it came to what hosts do. Once the lines of communication were opened, the walls came down! It was really cool to see!

As I said, we are far more alike than we are different and, in all actuality, things aren’t really that bad. We get so busy digging our ditches, we forget to look up and see the progress. We seem to focus on the few negatives that happen instead of the good that surrounds us. Change your focus!

Janet Hawk is the President of Player Development and Guest Experience for Raving Consulting. Contact Raving to learn more about training and development solutions for your property.

Janet Hawk 27 Articles