Summer Survival Guide

By George Deines 

You’ve filled your pools, hired and trained your aquatic team and the sun will hopefully shine bright for the next 100 days.  Now, you just have to survive!  Aquatic professionals across the State of Texas have the collective goal of keeping their guests safe, providing them a great experience, having a well-trained (and behaved!) team, and making it through the daily grind of another summer season.  To help you get through another summer, I’ve talked to some of my trusted colleagues to compile a “Top Ten” list to help you survive the summer of 2017!

Tip #1

The success of any aquatic facility ultimately depends on the on-site leadership team who handle the daily operation and take care of risk management, guest services, cash handling, food and beverage and maintaining a world-class facility.  To this end, make sure you train your supervisors well in all of these areas and trust them to make great decisions.  But, you also must keep in mind throughout the hiring process that not all great lifeguards or guest services staff will make great supervisors.  You shouldn’t be afraid to admit you placed the wrong person in a supervisory role as it’s never too late to make a switch and get the right person in that position.

Tip #2

While a no-brainer, in-service training cannot be overlooked or underemphasized when it comes to keeping your team up on their skills all summer long.  And, remember to not just focus on the tangible skills and behaviors for your lifeguards and guest services team members, but also incorporate teambuilding, engagement and visioning into your weekly in-services.  Your team needs to know the importance of their job and how their work helps create lifelong aquatic experiences for your community. 

Tip #3

An essential piece to getting the behaviors you want necessitates that you communicate your expectations and standards with your team which then necessitates that you develop standards and expectations!  You’ll find your team won’t display the behaviors you want unless you develop and communicate them. 

Tip #4

Unfortunately, managing an aquatic facility doesn’t also go easy and your days can be stressful. Because of this, always have a “worst-case scenario” plan in your back pocket for anything and everything that you can think of that can go wrong.  Spend time each day with your leadership team and front-line employees planning for the myriad of issues that come with operating an aquatic facility including unconscious guest incidents, the guest who cannot be pleased, mechanical equipment failure, or not having enough employees to open your facility.  You’ll be better prepared, not if, but when these scenarios come up!

Tip #5

Appreciate your team members!  Fill your vocabulary with “please”, “thank you” and “great job,” making sure you use those words in connection with specific instances when your team exemplifies great behaviors.

Tip #6

Focus on the positive.  You may (correction, will!) have a bad employee, poor guest interaction, or a facility maintenance issue and you need to keep in mind that at the end of the day it will get resolved and you need to keep focusing on all the great aquatic experiences you provide to your community.

 

 

Tip #7

Don’t be afraid to say no (at home and at work!)  Aquatic professionals need to take a break in the summer time too.  Trust those awesome supervisors you trained and take a day off.  You’ll be glad you did and it will give you a little refreshment in the middle of the summer season.

Tip #8

Remember that you can rely on your aquatic colleagues for emotional support during the season.  You will face some hardships through the long summer, but it’s helpful to have a handful of other professionals that you can call on when you need support or advice.  The situation you currently face, although unique, isn’t something that another aquatic professional hasn’t faced (and most likely conquered_ and they’ll be glad to help you through it.

Tip #9

While living in the present, don’t forget to plan for the future.  Keep notes all summer long of all of the good and bad issues that came along making sure you document the situation, who it involved, and how you fixed it.  These notes will come in handy when planning for future summer seasons.  Also, remember while you are fixing the bad things to stop and take time to celebrate the great things that are happening with you and your team.

Tip #10

Lastly, make sure you have fun during the season, knowing that you make a difference in the lives of others, whether a community member or an employee.  Aquatic professionals get to provide life-changing aquatic experiences for all ages, be someone’s first supervisor and give your community’s families a place to spend time together and have fun. 

 

 

 

Check out the complete article here from TRAPS:

Summer-Survival-Guide-George-Deines-TRAPS.pdf