From Hot to Not!

out of business

Occasionally I get suckered into clicking on a link that is quote “news” when opening my Yahoo account.  This one caught my attention; I wanted to know the answers to: “10 Chain Restaurants that are Boring, ”  with a secondary tag line of – “10 most Disappointing Chain Restaurants.”

I was shocked.  I had eaten in six of the ten restaurant chains in the last 15 years: Chili’s, Applebee’s, Golden Corral, Red Lobster, Olive Gardens, and TGIF’s.  It wasn’t that long ago that these were the best available; these were the places that were destinations if traveling to Des Moines.  These were the talked about places to eat.  Today… they are called boring!

What happened that they went from hot to not?

15 years without a facelift equals boring.  15 years without a major shift in the quality or variety of food served equals boring.  15 years of the same equals boring.

What about our camps?  Are we living on memories of what we used to be?  Are we still serving the same type of menu as 15 years ago?  Does our decor date the building?

I don’t know about you, but I want to stay relevant.  I want our camp to be just as attractive as it was 15 years ago to guests when they arrive.  No, on the second thought, I want our camp to be more attractive than it was 15 years ago.  I want to be able to offer more for less.  I want to give more value for the buck.  I want each guest to leave with a good taste in their mouth so that they will be back again next year.  I want our guests to be our primary promoters and marketers.

So my challenge to you, “Be discontent!”  Never be satisfied with the “as is” condition.  Shelf life is short without updates, changes, and face-lifts.  Re-invent, re-imagine,  and re-configure.

Cupcakes and Kisses


Today I am in the middle of thinking through the process of next week’s end-of-year reviews for the entire staff.  I have spent the entire year working alongside each staff member: giving direction, observing results, and helping to prioritize their work.  Each staff member responds differently to my influence and input; some take me seriously, while others pretend to understand – but don’t.

The staff has been given some questions to answer prior to our meeting.  I want them to write out their answers.  I want to see their written answers prior to our meeting.  I want to give some thought and prayer into each staff’s position and role at the camp.  Our one to two-hour session will try to delve into their answers and develop some strategy and goals for 2015.

As part of my preparation, I am rereading the book Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown.  Here is one paragraph that jumps out at me as I rethink how I evaluate and interact with the staff:

“One of the most critical insights from our study of Multipliers is how hard-edged these managers are. They expect great things from their people and they drive people to achieve extraordinary results. They are beyond results -driven managers. They are tough and exacting. Indeed, Multipliers make people feel smart and capable; but Multipliers aren’t “feel-good” managers. They look into people and find capability, and they want to access all of it. They utilize people to their fullest. They see a lot, so they expect a lot.”  (Wiseman, Liz; McKeown, Greg (2010-06-03). Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (p. 24). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.)

Wiseman and McKeown continue:

“The Multiplier approach to management isn’t just an enlightened view of leadership. It is an approach that delivers higher performance because it gets vastly more out of people and returns to them a richly satisfying experience. As one early reader of this book noted, these leaders aren’t about “cupcakes and kisses.”  (Wiseman, Liz; McKeown, Greg (2010-06-03). Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (p. 24). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.)

Cupcake and kisses!  Nobody has ever described my style of leadership that way!  I pray that you too have gotten past the “good job” mantra that has permeated our child-rearing culture of the past 20 years.

I trust you are going to sit down with each staff member during the next month.  I encourage you to look at it as a time to interact on a level that will set the tone for the next year.  Clear, measurable goals need to be set by the director and the employee.  The key is the word measurable; not wishy-washy, high-pie-in-the-sky talk, but exacting and precise.  “My goal is to increase the retreat business by $50,000 during 2015.” And not, “My goal is to improve on our retreat business.”

Be gracious.  Be grateful.  But be precise and exacting.  But be a man and do it!