Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
In these times of COVID-19, I think all of us have these types of insights. What we took for granted is no longer an absolute – a truism.
This is not in every case a bad thing, as our expectations and values need a calibration now and then.
But it can also be challenging. Especially when you actually knew what you had, but never thought you would lose it.
At Liseberg, we’re almost two months into our summer season. A season that has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.
On the positive side, we have been sold out for most of the season – and continue to be so through most of August. Which is a good sign of the market rebouncing, even if we operate with reduced capacity.
On the negative side, it has been difficult to reopen. Really difficult.
Partly because we have a hard time matching up against guest expectations, that have changed substantially the last couple of years. A change that many of our colleagues around the world probably recognize.
But partly also because of all the strength we have lost as an organization over the 17 months we were closed.
Historically, one of the things that I have been most proud of about Liseberg is what you could call operational excellence. The fact that we as an organization want to deliver high-value experiences, whether this is in terms of service level, the quality of retail and F&B, facility maintenance, and – first and foremost – uncompromising safety and security.
This culture of operational excellence is not because of me. I am just trying to secure the resources. No, it is this complicated, sophisticated engine made up of experienced people, well tested processes and organic networks, developed over many years.
But it is also an engine that fuels off continuity. It only works, when it is in use. Organizations like ours are not meant to stand still. And when disrupted, the consequences are far greater, than you might assume at a glance.
At Liseberg, we have not just lost colleagues or competencies over the last year and a half, but also what I call muscle-memory. As well as self-confidence.
The good news is we did not completely lose it when we were shut down. And with each day, we are getting a little better. But it will take time to rebuild the strength we once had.
And to some extent took for granted.