This year marked the third edition of the Holland Casino Management Days event, for which PROOF helped develop the concept. Spread over four days, the company’s nearly 900 managers from its 14 locations, plus headquarters, were invited to spend a day learning about the latest strategic developments at Holland Casino and the newest national and international trends in the leisure market. And as each day was also meant as a gesture of appreciation for everyone’s commitment and involvement, they concluded with drinks and a gourmet dinner.
To measure is to know
Holland Casino evaluates every Management Day extensively. From the two previous editions, the company learned that managers wanted to use the day to get to know each other better and to discuss with the Board what was on their minds in even more depth. The Board, in turn, wanted to use the day to go even further in signing off its strategic choices with all managers.
This led to a decision to replace the workshops that were a feature of previous editions with an all-day plenary session. The managers also no longer sat in rows facing a stage, but at round tables in groups of ten. And they regularly changed tables, so they could make new contacts. In this way, the third edition became less of an ‘event’ and more of a joint work session.
5,000 years of experience
Every day for four days, the casino in Amsterdam West welcomed all the company’s managers and showed how high they set the bar when it comes to hospitality. Inspiration for all the other locations. Each day began with that day’s chairperson asking how long the people in the room had worked at Holland Casino? On some days, the average turned out to be over 25 years, and the cumulative experience in the auditorium could easily exceed 5,000 years. Equipped with this playful bit of knowledge, the managers then discussed their challenges and dilemmas with each other and the Board. The goal was to figure out what were the best solutions and how they could work together to implement them quickly and thoroughly.
To get things going, the organisers had prepared a series of short videos about various developments in the world. Next, the challenges these developments posed for Holland Casino were outlined. For example, how to comply with the ban on smoking indoors while ensuring that guests who smoke continue to feel welcome. Or, how to ensure all people continue to feel truly welcome when the government mandates the implementation of increasingly strict regulations and extra checks.
Possible solutions were devised in pairs, discussed and evaluated with the whole table and then shared with all tables and the Board. The final year of the company’s ‘Together towards 2020’ strategy was also discussed jointly, and the Board asked the managers to give dos and don’ts for the development of a follow-up strategy. These joint discussions allowed everyone to profit from – and enjoy – the wisdom of the crowd. Fully in line with the adage ‘we stand strong together’.
A brave leap
With live presentations of the latest international games, a guest speaker, Danny Makkelie, who talked about teamwork in his own inimitable way, an unexpected give-away and a dinner that turned out to be a culinary tour de force, complete with the latest meat substitute – there was plenty of variety and surprises every day of the event. These were all appreciated and welcomed by the managers.
Making dialogue the centrepiece was a leap of faith, because what do you do as an organisation if nobody says anything? But that bravery was rewarded, and Holland Casino was able to look back on a Management Days event that earned an average approval score of eight.