The Wrecking Crew



I rarely mention my employment on my blog but today I wanted to share with you some perspective.

This one simple photo is a defining moment in my life. I took a job in a theme park and landed in perhaps the most boring area of the park. After a few days on the job, I realized that the guys on my team were pretty intelligent people and my management team was as well. Four months later, this photo was taken. I was promoted to Operations Lead which in some places would be the Unit Manager.

So my co-management types and I took our boredom and began to experiment with giving our employees projects and out of the box routines. Soon, my employees began to receive promotions as well and were moved around the park. This led to my next promotion and thus a bigger journey.

After a few years, things had changed drastically. The park was expanding and the executives were happy with our performance. We were trained in more and more avenues and for myself; it never really dawned on me that I was doing more than seemed possible.

After I left, it really hit home.

I was like a mercenary of management.

The area was divided into 5 areas and we had one manager and several supervisors to support him in each area. Each attraction within the areas had several Operations Leads that provided the support at each location. So this freed us up to handle a myriad of issues.

Within one week we could have completed the schedules for the attraction, completed payroll, handed out and counseled the employees, attended park wide meetings, investigated and documented guest complaints and accidents, oversaw special events and night events for corporations and groups, closed shows due to bad weather or attendance, and attended meetings for our committees such as mine which were the Safety Committee and the Training Committee.

Then we had the occasional rare problems. A ride evacuation, a guest with a severe medical issue or guests fighting, a chemical spill. We even had a wild brush fire come dangerously close to us. Anything was not beyond our ability to solve.

But that was the past and now I am at a different job. A bored mercenary in a sea of soft management types whom I am 100% certain could not perform CPR on a child and then calmly conduct a meeting with the staff and fill out paper work 30 minutes later and continue on with the work day.

The lesson to be learned here is simple.

Empower your employees. You will be surprised at what they can rise up and do. It will not happen over night but once you begin to work at it…they will get the big picture and respond to what is needed.

Recently I opened my e-mail at work. Organizational Changes – the headline proclaimed. We are adding an assistant to the Assistant General Manager.

My former employers got it right. With 5 or 6 people, we did the job of 15 at my current job. You can have lots of employees doing very little or a few doing a lot.




About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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