Six Ways to Build a Sustainable Tribal Member Development and Leadership Program

Sustainable Tribal Member Development - Paula Allen Training

Recently we interviewed Paula Allen, Raving Partner, Leadership & Development and Enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Dan Stromer, Raving Partner, Executive Tribal Development and Senior Operations, and asked them how they’ve helped organizations build a sustainable leadership program. Read the full interview here.

This question came from conversations like this from Raving clients:

“We’ve invested in guest service frontline and management programs in the past; it does well for a while, but then there’s a disruption or several months go by and team members become disengaged and service levels plummet.”

Or …

“We have Tribal members who we’ve put into management roles that we’re grooming for senior positions. They’re frustrated and not performing well, and the teams that they are managing are resentful that they have more experience than their manager!”

Allen, who serves as her Tribe’s Director of Leadership Development and Guest Service, has worked with Indian gaming organizations throughout the country. Stromer, who heads Raving’s Executive Development and Operations team, has devoted his career to developing Tribal members and team members for career advancement through his long-term role as GM for a Tribal casino.

Following are their top three pieces of advice they’d give to Tribal casinos that want to embark on strengthening their leadership and service culture:

Paula gained her initial experience working with her own Tribe. The process to build a top-down leadership program and THEN incorporate guest service took several years to lay the foundation. Now it’s part of her Tribe’s culture. Her top three ways:

1. It’s important for a senior leadership team to collectively agree on where their organization is and where they want to be.

We call it “Baseline View”; we set metrics to measure our success throughout the journey and take leadership inventory to assess the primary needs.

2. After the team agrees on the status of the organization, it’s important to create the vision.

What do we see our leadership teams accomplishing? How do we want them to conduct themselves while leading our teams? The senior leadership team should set the tone for leadership; it’s important for them to articulate their expectations.

3. Next is implementation.

Far too often we spend way too much time and resources on tools, and very little attention is given to implementation. How will we incorporate this into our culture? How will we ensure accountability? How do I get my teams involved in a way that they feel organically connected to the team? We need a visual roadmap, a plan.

Raving Leadership - Tribal Member Development Program

Dan, spent his career in Tribal gaming, most recently, 17 years as a General Manager. Developing Tribal leaders has always been a passion for him. His top three ways:

1. Develop material that is relevant and meaningful to the running of a casino.

This is important from both a practical and theoretical perspective. Understand the results of the decisions you make each day and the impact they will have on the business. Provide them information that they will actually use.

2. Choose people committed to the program.

Contrary to popular belief, being a GM or Director is more than walking around and shaking hands. People coming into these positions need to understand that it is hard work. Being a Director or GM is not sitting behind a desk all day. Be visible and let your team know that you are aware of what is going on.

3. It should be more than just a program to choose a General Manager.

Not everyone wants to be a GM. Having material that addresses all areas of development is important. This includes Directors, Managers, and Supervisory level positions that all members have an opportunity to advance in. The skills necessary are not that far apart, but until someone explains the significance of those skills in use, it may go unnoticed.

To read the full interview go here.

The above only gives a taste of our 360 degree approach to an effective and sustainable leadership and mentorship program that is specifically tailored to your organization.

To find out more about about Raving’s Tribal Member Development and Leadership Program go here to take a short quiz and see if our program is right for your organization!

We’ve helped hundreds of commercial and Tribal casinos across the globe. What makes our trainers different? Operators for operators. They’ve walked in your shoes! Call Amy Hergenrother at 775-329-7864, or email [email protected]

Raving Leadership - Tribal Member Development Program

Paula Allen