Defining & Aligning Vision, Values and Behaviors with Operational Realities

Client
Our client is a one of 20 branded casinos of a ~ $3 billion gaming and hospitality corporation. The parent company is on a growth trajectory, while this property (combining a 500 room hotel, casino and three restaurants) has become dated. A new general manager recently arrived with a clear ambition to ensure this property not only survives a market downturn but reasserts its prominence in a community of eight casinos.

Challenge + Opportunity
The casino is located in a market that had been historically popular, with ten gaming facilities developed within an 8-mile radius. Recently local market conditions have deteriorated, prompting a neighboring casino to declare bankruptcy and close, while another entered receivership. These market conditions have caused the casino’s team of 430 cast members to become anxious about their future. This anxiety was exacerbated by a weakened morale and drop in the property’s financial performance.
The newly appointed general manager arrived with a commitment to excellence, sophisticated financial and operational skills, and a strong desire to make the casino “shine.” He quickly sensed general complacency, a lack of willingness to get behind new initiatives (previous ideas had not been well implemented and cast members believed
they could ignore them and/or wait for the next one) and wanted to take action to reframe the culture. He engaged TayganPoint to collaborate with his leadership team to define, articulate and operationalize clear vision, values and behaviors while reinforcing his commitment to the property, the staff, and their mutual success. A team of two TayganPoint culture and change experts developed a strategy to drill down and
understand the current state of the managerial mindset and to engage executive and management teams to create, validate and align around core values and key operational behaviors.

Approach + Solution
The TayganPoint team collaborated with HR to issue a brief survey to the top 40 managers to assess how employees view the current state, identify aspirational values, and obtain qualitative feedback on behaviors and attitudes. The survey identified
clear areas of strength including:

  • Friendly atmosphere with a family dynamic,
  • Teamwork and integrity are highly valued,
  • Improved fairness and greater engagement with senior leaders.

Several opportunities for change were also identified, including:

  • Demonstrate respect for different points of view,
  • Deliver timely, effective and widely distributed communication to shifts and cast members without email access,
  • Inform cast members about the rationale for
    decisions and consider the broader impacts of
    change to other operations,
  • Leaders are expected to “walk the talk,”
  • Offer opportunities to learn and be promoted,
  • Recognize staff experience and seek their input on major operational challenges.

The TayganPoint team also organized a set of workshops, facilitated over a 5-day period, that engaged the full C-suite as well as the top 40 managers and supervisors. The workshops were designed to:

  • Identify the current state of the casino’s culture with the executive team and compare it to that expressed by managers and supervisors.
  • Draft a vision/purpose statement for the property.
  • Strengthen the commitment to teaming across all operational functions
  • Articulate, define and validate the property’s core values.
  • Provide a primer on change, the tools and levers of effective change management.
  • Identify key behaviors within each functional area that support the core values.
  • Outline the first 90 day plan to communicate the vision and core values while embedding the values and correlated behaviors into performance management
    plans, metrics, rewards and recognitions.

Results + Impact
The executive team quickly engaged and committed to the proposed process and outcomes. However, there was staunch skepticism on the part of many managers and supervisors. Because of the GM’s positive impact in his first 90 days, this effort led
the majority of top line managers and supervisors to demonstrate willingness and even eagerness to move forward with the vision, values, and behaviors effort. As a group, executives and managers aligned around a common vision “(The casino) is committed to being the destination of choice for an authentic, fun experience by providing our cast members, guests, community and stakeholders a ‘chance to win.’” Their values spelled out SPIRIT – Service, Pride, Integrity, Respect, Invested, and Teamwork, and all were able to connect the dots between the values and their operational behaviors. The 90-day communication plan helped embed the values and their correlated behaviors into the reward system.

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