12 Resolutions That Don’t Have to Wait Until New Year’s

Crossroads #1
Crossroads #1 (Photo credit: Tristan Garrett)

Yes, it’s that time of year. The holidays are behind us, bringing with them introspection and thoughts of the year past, inevitably leading to well-intentioned resolutions for things people wish to improve upon in the year that has just begun.

Really, there is never a need to wait until the ball (or the guitar, or the potato, or the Moon Pie) drops to resolve to do something better than you did before. Here are some things that would benefit us all to do better, starting whenever you decide to give it a whirl. Cheers!

  1. Be nicer to the people you see every day.  It’s easy to take them for granted: the people in your home or workplace who make your life more entertaining or infuriating, in turns. Take a moment to invest some of your emotional capital in them and it will pay dividends. (At the very least, the infuriating moments won’t be as bad…)
  2. Use your manners.   As we are more connected to the global community, we often forget those who are within arm’s reach. Hold doors for people behind you. Say, “Excuse me.” Offer a sincere, “Thank you” whenever it’s appropriate. Be courteous. Remember what you learned in kindergarten and apply it to the world around you.
  3. Don’t give up easily.  Just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean the effort should be abandoned. Keep working at it. Don’t let failures keep you from trying again. There are a great many conveniences we enjoy today that might not exist if their inventors had given up after a handful of failures.
  4. Learn something every day.  Start with a new word, or use the internet to ask a question. Seek the answers to things you’ve always wanted to know. Explore in books, museums, nature, wherever you are…the possibilities are endless and the internet is often at your fingertips. Use it to expand your horizons.
  5. Try new things.  That cute little shop on the corner you’ve thought about stopping by?  Go in.  The scary-looking flaming dish you saw at the restaurant?  Order it.  The roller coaster you’re fascinated by but are afraid of?  Ride it.  You don’t have to do it again if you don’t like it, but you should at least try it so you won’t regret the missed opportunity later.
  6. Make a bucket list.  This one is self-explanatory, so this is the thought to take away: you can’t start crossing stuff off if you don’t have a list.
  7. Don’t waste time on regrets or worry.  Neither one will change the situation and both will only make you feel worse. Plan, dream, commiserate, scream it out, draw, write, sing, do whatever it takes to still the voice that says it’s all bad… and allow the hope to blossom.  (Using your “call a friend” option is a good one here if all else fails. )
  8. Be flexible.  Even if you are an obsessive planner, things are not always going to work out the way you envisioned.  When that happens, see #7, then deploy Plan B (or C… or Q if that’s what it takes) and move on.   Take a deep breath and work through it.
  9. Give everything you do your best effort.  Whether you’re getting paid for it or not, if something is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing right?
  10. Give back.  Donate something: time, clothes, food, expertise, or even cash.  Nothing feels quite as good as knowing you helped someone else by giving something without expectation of a reward.
  11. Remember who actually contributes the dollars you get paid for doing the work you do.  Yes, you have to answer to the boss when something goes wrong, but he is not the one who votes with his business, ultimately providing the cash that makes its way to your bank account.  Your customers, no matter what industry employs you, are the ones who pay you for your work.  Please remember that when you are frustrated with them (or co-workers, or the situation) and it will help ground you and enable you to provide the service they deserve for their patronage.
  12. Give yourself a break!  So many of us rush from one responsibility to another that we forget to take time for ourselves, and we are often harder on ourselves than necessary if we fail to accomplish everything we have set out to do.  It’s okay if you’re not perfect; in fact, it would be terrifying for the rest of us if you were.  It is acceptable to say, “No” sometimes or to ask for help.

Take a deep breath, look around, and imagine what the world would be like if more of us resolved to live with gratitude and a positive outlook.  It’s not as easy as it sounds, but just like any thing worth having, it takes work.  Habits are built, not decided upon.  Good or bad, you get out of life what you put into it.  Resolve to put good in so you can have good to share.

May this be a year for the record books…in a good way!


Holiday Cheer for Casino Workers Everywhere

Thank You
Thank You (Photo credit: mandiberg)

Today is the beginning of the biggest holiday weekend of 2013, and my (party) hat’s off to all of you who are wearing casino name tags, big smiles, and (soon) party hats.  December 31st is the Black Friday of gambling, when all your best players vie for the best room in your hotel and the best seat in your fanciest restaurant.   Reservations agents, banquets teams, casino hosts, players club reps, cage cashiers, servers, and dishwashers alike are preparing themselves for the big night: New Year’s Eve.

Having been there, it seemed appropriate to say this now, while you’re gearing up for it…and please share it with whomever you feel deserves to hear it, too.  Please.

  • Thank you for working so hard while many people are enjoying time off with family and friends.
  • Thank you for saying in an extremely nice tone of voice the things the guests want to hear rather than shouting the stuff that first crossed your mind.
  • Thank you for picking up extra duties when crunch time hits and your help makes all the difference.
  • Thank you for never letting them see you sweat the small stuff!
  • Thank you for all the small “miracles” you will perform for your guests over the next few days.  You’ll make more than one person happy, and that’s awesome.
  • Thank you for placing tablecloths, flowers, party favors, plastic champagne flutes, is sculptures, delicious foods and gorgeous centerpieces in beautiful arrangements for your guests.
  • Thank you for wearing your party dresses and nicest suits to work on the big night.
  • Thank you for all you will do to ensure this is a great and memorable event for your guests, your co-workers, and yourself.

Take a moment during the madness to reflect on the fun that is going on around you, smile knowingly, then get back into the fray.  The gratitude will give you a boost, and the smile will make people wonder what you’re up to.  That’s a win.

Seriously, thank you.  Thanks to each and every one of you.


Have Confidence in Your Direction

When you get in your car to drive to work or to the supermarket, do you stop to think about where you will guide your vehicle, or are you in more of an “autopilot” mode?  As you make the turns and stop at lights or signs, what’s on your mind?  Are you thinking about your first meeting of the day?  Are you repeating, “bread, bread, bread” because you forgot to write it on the list?  Odds are, you aren’t concentrating fully on the route, because you’ve been there hundreds of times and you know the way.

Like muscle memory, any task repeated often enough becomes second nature, and you can complete that task with total confidence.  You’ve been there and done that.  A lot. Practice makes perfect, right?

In Player Development, hosts and team leaders need to spend time cultivating “PD memory.”   Set up role playing activities so inexperienced hosts can learn how to handle upset or disappointed players.  Use one another as guinea pigs to try out different ways to approach a slot player who isn’t using a card.  Make tons of phone calls to invite guests to an upcoming event in order to become good at delivering the same message in different ways.  Write drafts of e-mails to new players.  Brainstorm to come up with catchy sayings to add to greeting cards.  Talk to players you don’t know so it becomes less terrifying.


Do things that don’t necessarily come easily to you, and do them often.  Then, they’ll be easier to do when the need arises.

And always pay attention to the road.  Know where you are and where you are going.  You can do this.  (Don’t forget the bread.)

Define “lost”

Is your Casino Host team lost?  Do they know when and where to turn? Are they contacting the right players for the right reasons or do they count on “the usual suspects” to fill your events and hit their numbers?  Does everyone on the team know where they stand in terms of goal achievement?  Is there a clear path for them to take in order to reach their goals?

Road blocked by landslide

An old friend once suggested that the difference between “lost” and “temporarily misplaced” is roughly half a tank of fuel.

That means if you aren’t sure where you are or which way to turn, some careful observation and  the courage to drive around a bit combine to improve the odds you’ll reach your destination without much fuss.

In Casino Player Development, it’s much the same.  Understanding the destination (goal) and one’s current location (pace) enables the driver (team leader or host) to find the quickest and most efficient course to the finish line. Now, imagine driving around a vaguely familiar city with an appointment at a location you have never before visited, and you do not have a navigation assist of any kind.  Your knowledge of the city is enough to get you to the right part of town, but there’s a lot to keep track of as you look for the right street.  There’s traffic all around you, signs to read, signals you must obey, noise, and sometimes there’s even road construction or detours.  If you’re doing it alone without a reference, it can be both difficult and frustrating. Time is of the essence, and if you don’t have a map, GPS or navigation app, you might not make it in time. If you’re having trouble focusing on the right things, you might even end up in a fender bender. That’s no good.

Many Player Development pros in the casino world have been driving around without GPS for far too long. It’s difficult and frustrating to work so hard, and try to make all the right turns and still not make it to your destination in time. It is demoralizing to finally reach your destination and discover you were five minutes late, so have lost the opportunity and will have to reschedule. Sadly, it happens a lot.

Just like in the auto industry, there are advancements that will help your team reach the destination with time to spare.  HostMAPP and Host GPS (featuring the Daily Action Plan) can provide your team with the directions they need to arrive right where they are supposed to be. With more new resources hitting the marketplace every day (it seems), don’t you want to know if the right solution for your team is available?

We’d love to hear what you use to keep your team from getting lost (or stuck in the weeds).

Goal Positioning WHAT?!?

Loads of GPS devices in our car
Loads of GPS devices in our car (Photo credit: mroach)

At Harvest Trends, we are always looking for new ways to simplify the tasks of Player Development pros.  Our Daily Action Plan and HostMAPP products combine to comprise the most robust toolset I’ve ever seen.  But this post isn’t about that, really.  This post is to share with you the concept of Goal Positioning Solutions.

As part of our continuous improvement process, we regularly discuss the challenges our clients face in the ever-and rapidly-changing gaming world.  We know that it’s a players’ market these days, where every offer they receive is weighed against all the others that fill their mailboxes (and inboxes and social media streams), and that often Player Development is the best line of defense when it comes to securing the loyalty of a property’s best players.

We know it’s a daunting task to identify and effectively activate the best players on a regular basis because all too often the resources necessary to make that happen are stretched too thin to focus on Player Development’s needs.  We understand that it can be difficult to quantify the contribution that PD makes to the bottom line.

As a result of one of these discussions, Goal Positioning Solutions was conceived.  Think of it like this: the PD team leader uses a road map to determine the department’s course, taking into consideration the property’s goals and objectives as well as the skillset and toolbox available within the host team.  Each host then uses his or her own GPS to reach the destination provided.  Some hosts will use similar routes while others may blaze a trail of their own.  But with Goal Positioning Solutions, each member of the team understands where they are along the way and can quickly change course to stay on track.  This happens daily so there is time to make adjustments before a goal period ends, rather than everyone discovering after the fact that course corrections might have helped them achieve more.

Comments, feedback or suggestions are welcomed.