During the opening seminar of IAAPA’s FEC Summit this morning, attendees and sponsors scattered throughout a lively meeting room were asked to share how many years they’d been in the industry. The combined experience of the eclectic guests, who hailed from Argentina, Chile, China, the U.K. and over 30 states, added up to 2,100 years. With over two millennia of amusement-focused experience jammed into a sunny, Laguna Beach resort, it’s nigh impossible to not find the answers guests are looking for.
The annual FEC Summit focuses on sharing, engagement and growth, inviting members of the FEC community to share their best practices in hopes of encouraging a closer-knit, more productive industry. The Summit kicked off on Sunday, Jan. 28 with a late night welcome reception at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach, Calif., where the rest of the event is held as well.
The real work started Monday, Jan. 29 with an empowering early morning session titled “A Woman’s Path to Success.” During this session, TrainerTainment’s Beth Standlee invited attendees to reconsider the male-dominated industry and world we live in, not only in search of a more equal society, but also because for years sexism has deprived multitudes of businesses of the intense creativity, unending energy and relentless drive women can provide.
“We’re here to help facilitate the many exciting opportunities for women in this industry, and to address the problems those women may face,” Standlee said.
Standlee and a host of women and men shared the experiences and challenges that have shaped their career. For women, one attendee noted, moving up in business takes twice the work for half the credit. Because of this, Standlee encouraged all those attending to consciously focus on their workforce and try to take notice of women who are making a difference, but may not be braying the loudest for that promotion.
“Men are much more aggressive and will ask for the leadership role,” Standlee said. “Women have been told to be nice and nurturing, and those in your business may need a tap on the shoulder to have the confidence to take on the role they know inside they can handle.”
Engage for Productivity
The morning continued with opening remarks from the event’s moderator, Carla Clark, and from David Rosenberg, Director of Guest Experience at Monterey Bay Aquarium and Chairman of the IAAPA Board of Directors. Following that, Bruce Cameron, owner of Front Line Marketing, gave a presentation titled, “Get Ready to Take the Ride of Your Life.” Cameron focused on encouraging engagement in your workforce, which he says too many companies don’t see as a, ‘Must do.’
“Engagement is not about making employees happier, it’s about making them more productive. Happiness may just be a byproduct,” Cameron said.
Cameron encouraged the crowd to think of their employees as the first ride guests go on, or the first machine they play. He shared tips to encourage engagement, such as coming up with an easy-to-understand, rooted-in-emotion statement of intention that you share profusely with your employees. For example, earlier Rosenberg has shared that at Monterey Bay, their intention is to help encourage the conservation of our world’s oceans. Rosenberg ensures that his employees know that, and his employees feel more connected to the business because, at that point, they are working for something much more than a paycheck.
More than anything, Cameron said, make sure your employees know that their opinion matters, and they feel connected to your business. If this happens, they develop a, ‘my business’ mentality and the incentives to perform well expand beyond the paycheck. It takes intentional development with each employee, but the rewards can be exponential.
“Those of you that think Millennials are just lazy, you’re just wrong,” Cameron concluded. “They just need to be engaged, the passion is there, the work ethic is there, but we taught that generation that they could reach for the stars, and if they don’t feel like they’re doing that, they’ll leave.”
The event continues with more seminars today, and a celebration of IAAPA’s 100th anniversary tonight. Check Instant RePlay on Wednesday for continued reporting, and RePlay’s March issue for full coverage.