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The Scenario:
Worldwide Studios Entertainment Parks (WSEP) recently contacted you to provide consulting services. The parent company, Worldwide Studios Entertainment, began as a movie studio but over the last 20 years diversified its business portfolio to include television, real estate holdings, and amusement parks. WSEP is a $400 million division of the company with three large amusement parks in Hollywood, Orlando, and Paris. WSEP has grown rapidly since its inception in 1998 and performed well economically against its competition, including its success against Disney.
From the beginning, the basic business strategy has been to create parks that are more “edgy” and “thrilling” than the competition with direct connections to recent movies. Unlike most of their competition, WSEP attractions aim at the teen to young adult market and have little to offer young children and their families.
Over the years, WSEP has recruited very bright, hard-charging, and aggressive leaders from a wide variety of hospitality and restaurant organizations to join the organization. WSEP pays these leaders extremely well and expects them to deliver economic performance (the numbers) without fail. These leaders do indeed “deliver the numbers.” However, the organization is known as a rough environment where only the most aggressive and competitive leader can survive, and internal competition is rampant.
Four months ago, WSEP hired a new President, Sharon Weber, to run the division. A former Disney leader, Ms. Weber believes that WSEP is “leaving a lot of money on the table” by ignoring the young children’s market. Weber immediately outlined a large-scale change initiative that includes the following key elements:
Transform the culture into a more family-friendly organization.
Soften the aggressive nature of how leaders “deliver the numbers” and create more teaming behaviors among the leadership group.
Develop new attractions aimed and young children and their families within 24 months.
Weber and the rest of her executive team contacted you to provide guidance on a number of issues. They would like your help with the following items:
How might these strategic changes affect WSEP’s culture?
What aspects, if any, of the dark side of leadership are likely to emerge?
What can WSEP do to prevent the leadership plateau and derailment among its leaders?
Taking a systems-thinking approach, what should WSEP do to ensure the success of these changes regarding leader performance measurement, selection, development, and succession processes?
What should the ELT do to “lead this change” effectively?