(Published by Infinity Gaming Magazine – July 2020)
Essential dialogue and dealing with difficult conversations are critical if you want your operation to remain focused, competitive and productive, and here’s why you can’t achieve success without them.
As Casinos across the globe start to re-open after lockdown, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air and operators will have to adapt to a new way of life in order to remain competitive. Companies will need to re-define their strategy to survive, which might include reducing staff levels, reducing spending, and even closing down less profitable venues.
The need to adapt, change and become more productive is more essential than ever so slot managers everywhere will need to engage in some essential, but sometimes uncomfortable, dialogue with their bosses in order to address the fundamental issues that impede progress, put the brakes on productivity and inhibit success.
Many people choose to remain silent during essential dialogue and avoid giving an opinion for fear of retribution and the loss of their job, Others often resort to verbal violence to protect their power at any cost which may include, encouraging negative feedback, hiding the truth, and throwing the slots manager under the proverbial bus! However, those who understand the need for essential dialogue recognize its value and use it as an integral part of their improvement strategy and as a part of their day to day operations.
Some say that part of essential dialogue is knowing and understanding the answers you seek before asking the big questions, and if your boss doesn’t listen and take note while you’re engaging them in a good or difficult conversation, then success will remain an illusion and failure imminent. I’m certain that no dedicated slots manager wakes up in the morning thinking, “today I’m going to fail,” so if you’re like me and choose the path that leads towards continual improvement and learning, then you might find the following examples of essential dialogue useful the next time your boss ask’s you about slots performance, especially if you want to avoid being part of a failed operation that you could have helped save if only you had moved out of your comfort zone and spoken up.
COMMUNICATION – “If some senior management team members fail to listen, understand, or participate after agreeing to their role in a project, how will we reach our revenue targets and remain competitive?” Have you ever been in a situation where you did everything perfect and even went above and beyond normal expectations to help make a project succeed only to see it fail because other department heads you needed cooperation from simply failed to execute their part of the project work even after agreeing to it? If you have, then you’ll recognize this as a failure to communicate effectively and a failure of an executive team to do what they get paid to do. When communication is fluid and feedback is used as a way to improve and maintain focus then synergy can be achieved, engagement levels increased, and revenue expectations met and exceeded on a consistent basis. A great leader knows the power of communication so if the problem persists, you have to ask yourself who is really at fault.
PRODUCTIVITY – “Instead of putting out fires and concentrating on the short term, shouldn’t we be focusing on long term goals and the steps we need to take to achieve them?” In such difficult times it’s really easy to lose focus on your number one priority which should be adding value to your guest experience. How often have you had your day well scripted only to finish it by accomplishing nothing that improved productivity towards achieving your most important goal? If this hasn’t happened to you then you’re either extremely disciplined or very lucky. Either way, ultimate success comes down to being able to focus relentlessly on achieving your one ultimate goal. A great leader will let their management team do their job. However, what if the boss is unaware of your frustrations because every time they offer support, you stay silent for risk of sounding incompetent or weakening your position? A great leader will always support their staff, but the choice to remain silent is yours. Is the consequence of your silence worth it?
ACCOUNTABILITY – “You hold me accountable but fail to deliver on the co-operation I need to achieve the results that you demand.” Did you ever feel like the scape goat in your own horror movie? If so, you may be a victim of an accountability crime that you didn’t commit. It’s a well-known fact that without clarity and unity there can be no accountability. When expectations aren’t made clear and your boss wants to remain popular your next big idea can quickly become your latest nightmare. A great leader will maintain unity, focus and productivity while making sure the project manager gets the support they need. They won’t walk in the room and take over; they will be the guide you need to be successful. You want to be part of successful team, and so does your boss so why not remind them that you’re in it together because identifying a common purpose is part of a successful dialogue.
TRUST – “You hired me to do a job but continue to micromanage and ignore my advice” Trust is arguably the most important factor in any kind of relationship regardless of whether or not it’s related to your business or personal relationships. If your boss is micromanaging you then it’s obvious that they don’t trust your ability to do the job, so why did they give you the job in the first place? You meet and exceed revenue targets; your staff are engaged and motivated and you’re always looking to improve on your success, but they continue to glare over your shoulder even when they’re not present! Micromanaging and not trusting your key employees, kills focus, motivation, productivity, and innovation so maybe it’s time to address the issue and dig deep by using positive dialogue to reach a positive compromise.
SUCCESS – “lack of Clarity, innovation and compromise is causing our best customers and staff to leave.” There are many definitions of success that both staff and customers love to be associated with, but the bad news is that there are just as many different ways of describing failure. Building success takes time and effort but it can be gone from one day to the next, and if leaders fail to recognize the importance of communication, compromise, accountability, and a clear vision, then success will remain an illusion. When your customers and team members fail to buy into what you’re selling, and your executives fail to see the warning signs (or maybe they’re in a state of denial!) then the time to act is now before your hard earned success become a distant memory soon to be forgotten.
CONCLUSION – Recognizing the need for essential dialogue is critical for the success of you slot operation and whether your boss likes it or not there are some conversations we cannot and should not avoid as the consequences can become unsurmountable. A great leader will listen, understand and use essential dialogue to introduce the kind of change that will promote success, transform your employees into engaged and enthusiastic brand ambassadors, and leave your customers applauding your success as they queue up for more. Essential dialogue can and will feel uncomfortable at times, but if you lack the motivation, consider the tragic consequences of remaining silent and burying your head in the sand. Stay safe.