Are you a Shark or a Goldfish?

A VP of Player Development posted a meme on LinkedIn with the question “Are you a Shark or a Goldfish?” It caught my eye and make me ponder.

In our culture, a Shark seems a bit negative and aggressive versus the cuddly Goldfish. But the point is that a Shark is a hunter and will pursue its dinner. Whereas a Goldfish will circle around the glass tank hoping that someone will bring the dinner. The question is, do you make things happen?

I found out that the meme was based on a book “The Shark and the Goldfish“. I haven’t read the book yet but the blurb on his website says “Jon Gordon shares an inspiring fable about a goldfish who has always been fed, a nice shark who teaches him to find food and a wave of change that brings them together. The Shark teaches the Goldfish that the difference between a full belly and an empty stomach depends solely on your faith, beliefs, and actions.”

I think it’s worth challenging ourselves on these points.

1. Do you have faith in your ability to grow the business? To get more trips and play? (I am sure you have faith in your ability to ensure that your players ‘love you’) But do you have faith in your ability to not only meet but exceed your goals for this quarter? We are 63% through the quarter. Are you at 63% of the Total Theo that you have to deliver in Q1?

  • If you don’t have faith in your ability then why not? What are your fears or constraints that are holding you back? Who can help? Can you talk your manager into getting sales training for the team? Can you take some classes at your own expense?
  • If you do have faith but you are at less than 63% of your quarterly goal then you see yourself as a Shark but you must be acting like a Goldfish.
  • And if you smirked that the goals are impossible to meet because management is unrealistic then you just made a Goldfish excuse. (Why leave my safe bowl and go off into the Ocean just because management claims there are big fish out there?)

2. Do you have set of beliefs? Do you have your own theories about why people visit your property, about how you can influence their behavior, and about how you can grow your business? You can have faith in yourself but you need a set of concrete beliefs, theories if you like.

  • Where are those fish? Where do they like to swim? Are they visiting someone else’s pond?
  • What times of day do they swim?
  • How often should you contact them, and how exactly should you approach them?
  • What are some good opening lines to sign up new players?
  • What are your personal techniques to increase their trips and play?

You will never be a Shark and successfully fill your belly unless you create your own beliefs about how to grow your business. Read, talk to your peers and your manager, and brainstorm with close associates. Don’t rule out talking with Pit Bosses and Slot Directors for their ideas. (Most people love to give their opinion.)

And then go test your ideas and learn from your mistakes. Yes, a Shark has the courage to make a mistake and miss a catch but learn for next time. A Goldfish stays in the safe zone, and does not try a new opening line on a guest playing without a card. A Shark has an idea, tries it out, and learns from the result. A Goldfish sticks to the same old, same old, approach. When did you last try something new? If it was a month or more ago then you are acting like a Goldfish.

(Read this from Wikipedia! “Sharks constantly replace their teeth throughout life; some sharks lose 30,000 or more teeth in their lifetime. ” Take this as an analogy! You need to constantly replace your ‘teeth’ by getting stuck into new approaches and seeing what happens.)

3. And, lastly, do you act like a Shark each and every day? Are you constantly monitoring the situation and seizing every opportunity? For example, a Host is talking to a valuable player and they mention that their friend Vic likes to go to Vegas. A Goldfish will listen intently and may even make a note in the software that ‘Joe has a friend Vic that goes to Vegas’. Now that was going in for the kill! A Shark will immediately say – ‘Hey, let’s get Vic in here for your birthday party next month and have a good time!’. The Shark already had a belief, a theory, about what to try and do in this situation, so the Shark was ready to pounce.

And if you are a Manager then run through the list of your Hosts and PD Executives and ask yourself if they are a Shark or a Goldfish? Are they making things happen or are they waiting for things to happen? And what are doing, as the leader, to instill faith, create beliefs, and track actions? Are you, yourself, acting like a Goldfish, executing the same old same old approaches, or are you brainstorming with your team each month about how to act like Sharks?

63% of the Quarter already! Let’s get out into the waters and find the fish.

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