The first of the year is my favorite time because everyone is so optimistic about their goals and what they plan to accomplish in the coming months.

Many of us make resolutions like we’ll lose weight, exercise more, be well-rested or well-read. And we make business resolutions, too. Maybe to develop better partnerships and relationships, improve customer service at our FEC or park,  or coach a team that is productive and independent. All the good stuff.

Over time, though, that sunny optimism can dim and before we know it, we’re no longer pushing to better ourselves in any area of our lives. Resolutions become a “nice to have” instead of the light at the end of the action plan tunnel. Last week, I noticed a difference in the way people were resolving to handle 2019 – instead of a list of goals, some people declared they were setting an intention for the year. It could be a word, a theme or an overarching value that represents what one plans to get out of the new year.

The idea of using a core value or theme to become a framework for personal and professional development is something that could transform how you train and coach your FEC or amusement park team members.

A Lesson in Service at the Drive-Through

I was scrolling through social media just before the holiday and a friend had posted a recent drive through experience at Chick-Fil-A.  For those who don’t have Chick-Fil-A, they are unique in they have a dual lane drive through. Once you place your order, you merge from two lanes into one before arriving at the pickup window. She had placed her order and merged into line when all of a sudden, she heard the woman in the car behind her yell, “it was my turn…” followed by a nasty name.

My friend mentioned being shocked and having a split second to decide how she was going to respond. In the end, she decided that her kids were in the car and that she wanted them to see something positive. So, she said nothing, got to the pickup window, paid for her own food and then paid for the other woman’s order, too. She didn’t just turn the other cheek but chose to respond with kindness. If she had reacted negatively, the situation would have eaten at her for days. Instead, she left feeling fantastic.

Reacting based on her core value or theme made the decisions simple and gave her instant control over the situation. The result was she was free of the self-doubt and anger that could have impacted every area of her life. And she just might have positively impacted the other woman for the better.

Core Values and Customer Service at Your FEC or Park

Grumpy, angry people are an every-day occurrence at most FECs and parks. Coaching your team to respond based on a core value or theme can help them make smart split-second decisions that have the power to turn an interaction with a guest – or a coworker – around. Plus, a core theme ensures every touch point is supporting your brand—no matter which team member is involved or where in your facility it takes place.

It’s this kind of intention that I think we need more of in 2019.  Not a list of tasks or goals we don’t put our whole heart into. Imagine what we could do just by weighing our actions against a stated intention to decide if the action would be getting us closer to alignment with what matters most. Your personal intention doesn’t have to be kindness. It could be anything you value as a leader, coworker, partner or just as a human being.

Your company intention can be just about anything, too.  Kindness, fairness, integrity or anything else that reflects your FEC or park’s mission and vision can become your team’s North Star—something clear to follow and which does not dim. Imagine what a year we could have!

What intentions have you set for 2019? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter.

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