Episode 296 – Matt and Josh talk about defining your DEFCON

All Articles, Attractions Operations, Company Culture, Human Resources, Leadership, Podcast, Self Improvement

We all want to enjoy our time off.  However, as leaders, there is often this nagging feeling like we’re missing something or we are going to be needed for an important decision. What follows is an endless parade of checking email, texting co-workers, checking email, thinking about the work left undone, checking email…

When does it stop?  When you proactively put a plan in place to identify the things you SHOULD be contacted for vs the items your team should be able to handle. In this episode, Matt and Josh talk about defining your DEFCON, operational communication, and empowering your team.

Defining your DEFCON

“If I am going to hear about this from external sources, then I want to hear it internally first.”

You’re getting ready to leave for an extended period of time and tell your team, “Only contact me if there is an emergency.”  However, your version of an emergency and their version rarely line up – without some conversations and expectations.

Defining your DEFCON refers to creating a system or tiered approach to emergency or off-time communication. Similar to measuring a nuclear threat, you can assign DEFCON ratings to various situations that may or may not require your intervention. DEFCON 1 (worst case scenario) could be a team member or guest injury, a 911 call, or social media event about to go viral. You NEED to know and possibly act on these situations. A DEFCON 5 (lowest priority) could be a routine guest complaint or needing toilet paper. Your staff should be able to do these things and do not require immediate attention. 

Operational communication

“It’s not just about delegation, it’s also about communication.”


Defining when and how to communicate goes beyond preparing for a vacation; it should be the rule for figuring out the best way to run your operation. With so many communication methods and strategies available, there is no reason for someone to be out of the loop.


As you are defining your DEFCON, you are likely identifying areas of the business that your team should be able to handle but maybe can’t. This gives you a great place to start regarding tasks and processes you should discuss with your team. This not only prepares them for your absence, but ultimately this process strengthens their individual skills and builds the confidence needed to function without you.


Empowering your team


“Fewer employees having more autonomy means we HAVE to empower them.”


Teaching your team how to handle situations requiring more and more responsibility not only increases their aptitude and confidence but also gives them a greater sense of ownership and autonomy. The true definition of empowerment is to literally give power to another person – you are doing this by teaching a skill and trusting them to carry it out without your supervision.


Whenever you empower someone, the results may not come out as you thought. Maybe they are better, maybe they are worse. If they are better, celebrate and recognize your team for improving a process or practice.  If the results are not what you expect, then this would trigger a coaching conversation where you can discuss the decision-making process and actions taken. 


This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our amazing team:

  • Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas

To connect with AttractionPros: attractionpros@gmail.com


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