END THE DEBATE: Four Simple Steps to Getting Things Done


During my time in leadership at Universal Orlando's front gate, I got a lot done. I led the charge to transform the ticket booths at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios into more ergonomically-friendly workspaces. I introduced electronic sales tools into the sales conversation which transformed the dialogue and focused guests on one admission product at a time. I improved accountability within the sales program by creating a sales dashboard where we could track our Vacation Planners' sales and behavioral metrics over time. All of these accomplishments helped to reshape the culture of the Pass Sales team and earned them recognition as a primary sales channel within the resort. The key to our success was our ability to problem-solve and to get the job done.

Here are the four steps that guide me as I strive to solve problems and to achieve my goals:

Communicate. We hear it all the time--communication is key. In order to be effective at problem-solving, we must communicate effectively with others. I believe that the best ideas and solutions are found within the hearts and minds of those who work the front lines every day. That's why it is essential to spend time with your teams--observe, participate, ask questions, and offer potential solutions. At Universal, I was known for asking questions like "What do you think about...." And "How would making change X affect you (or the guest)?" Asking questions allows us to uncover solutions we would have never found on our own.

Break Down Silos. Variety is exciting to me. I enjoy working with other departments and teams to get the job done. When communication includes collaboration across departments, we're able to accomplish more. In fact, just this last year, my client at The Brevard Zoo combined their membership and admissions operations--previously two separate departments--into one singular team which they call The First Impressions Team. As one unit, this team has combined their efforts to transform membership sales at their front gate.

Keep an Open Mind. When I was in college, I worked part time at the burger grill in one of my college's busy cafeterias. One day, our head chef came to me with a project. He asked me if in addition to my duties of grilling burgers to order, I could also pre-cook and wrap as many hamburgers and cheeseburgers and I thought we could sell under a heat lamp. He explained that the reason for this was to increase sales during the 'between class' lunch rush each day. I embraced the idea and worked tirelessly to ensure that we minimize food waste and filled the need for our students on the move. The problem was that my direct supervisor was not behind the change and it failed primarily due to her objections and lack of support. Keeping an open mind and being supportive of initiatives makes all the difference.

Have a Strategy. I've written quite a bit about this in previous issues of Monday Morning with Marty. As an organization, how do we keep our problem-solving efforts focused on achieving the primary goal. The answer is simple--planning. Have a strategy and be true to your organizational mission and goals. Effective leaders plan in advance, set goals, and communicate effectively down the line to our entire team. Everyone needs to clearly understand not only what the goal is but what their individual role is in achieving that goal. That's how we solve problems and how we win!

Have a great week.

"I'm not afraid of problem-solving. There is always a way."

Hanneli Mustaparta