Our customers understand the cruise business as a series of vacations that they experience over time. Each experience reflects the features of the ship, the daily activities, the personal service from the crew and the offerings in the destinations. And so it should be.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, whether on land or onboard, there is the fundamental business reality of people leading and managing other people to develop the strategies and execute the myriad tasks that enable a fleet of cruise ships to run successfully over time. The cruise business is extraordinarily complex because it mixes the worlds of hospitality and shipping, each of which on its own contains innumerable variables. The confluence of the two worlds yields something unique in the business world, IMHO.
One consequence of this reality is that our leadership team spends a lot of time talking about our people. Sometimes we are trying to determine if a particular person is ready or could eventually be ready to take on more responsibility. Sometimes we are trying to determine if our company culture is facilitating the behaviors we hope to see our people demonstrate. At Royal Caribbean International we have fabulous, hard-working people. Many readers know such people onboard our ships. You are less likely to know our people in the IT department in Miramar, Florida or the call center in Springfield, Oregon or the sales team in Shanghai. But they are making the business happen too. And their dedication does justice to that of their amazing shipboard colleagues.
This is on my mind because the other day at my staff meeting we discussed the ever-present request of our managers to be more empowered to do their jobs better. My question to the readers is: is empowerment something you are granted or is it something you feel? I asked my leaders to keep their antenna up for whether or not a manager identifies two or more possible paths and asks his/her supervisor to choose which path to follow versus whether or not a manager him/herself makes a recommendation as to which path to follow. My sense is the latter of the two innately feels more empowered and is the type of manager we should seek to enable. I look forward to your thoughts.