Three years ago when I came on board at the CRVA, we knew we had hurdles to overcome. Our reputation needed work, employee morale was suffering and we were still operating as individual brands under one organizational umbrella. My background is rooted in the hospitality industry and I’ve found myself in transition with major brands more times than I can count. I’ve never been afraid of change. And while these may have been obstacles for us at first at the CRVA, they turned into the building blocks that put us on the path of where we are today.
When you find yourself up against these odds, my experience has told me that the best place to start is with the people who work there. Building those relationships became the foundation of trust that I needed and that’s where Doug Bacon came into the fold. As I was establishing my executive team, he drove us to focus on the collective strengths that we brought to the table as opposed to the weaknesses or holes we needed to fill to get us where we needed to be. Breaking down the walls we had put up between our departments and our brands become priority number one and Doug helped shape perspectives for us that are sometimes too hard to see when you’re in the throes of greater organizational change.
What I enjoyed most about working with Doug was his engagement and immersion into how we do business. My team and I weren’t delivered a step-by-step roadmap or a laundry list of recommendations on how to achieve our goals. Instead, Doug was with us every step of the way using our strengths as a way to forge better ways to work together. He was there for almost every type of meeting we had – executive team, senior leadership team, board of directors and our organizational wide CRVA team meetings. It was this finger on the pulse of what we were doing that enabled him to understand what we needed.
In the course of these years, the CRVA has really cemented its commitment to the community and the value we bring to it. We took a hard look at our vision and mission as well as the core values that voice who we are. A new strategic plan has provided a clear direction for years to come. It was hard work to get here, but I think what’s helped us more than anything is the emphasis we’ve put on our relationship with the employees. An “employee first” culture isn’t necessarily a novel concept. But we believe that by keeping our employees top of mind in our decisions, we can create a culture where they thrill and delight the visitors who come to Charlotte and the customers who frequent our venues. Once we had building blocks like these in place, the real proof of success is how we live out these ideals every single day.
Doug has been a valued partner, consultant and friend in this process. He digs deep to learn what makes an organization and its people tick. From where I sit, his greatest strengths lie in executive coaching and I know this is what will take Throwing Words far in helping other organizations in our community. Through his work with us, I see that focusing on people’s strengths is incredibly powerful. It’s shaped the trajectory of our organization and can for yours too.
CEO, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
The CRVA works to deliver experiences that uniquely enrich the lives of our visitors and residents. Through leadership in destination development, marketing and venue management expertise, the CRVA leads efforts to maximize the region’s economic potential through visitor spending, creating jobs and opportunities for the community.
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