Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs owner, Steve Beckley (pictured here with his wife and business partner Jeanne) spoke to an audience of entrepreneurs at GlenX Space in Carbondale, sharing his thoughts about company culture with business owners of all ages.
As one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the Roaring Fork Valley, Steve Beckley was invited to share his approach to business at GlenX Space in Carbondale, a co-working space, educational center and business incubator that encourages collaboration and seeks to connect entrepreneurs with mentors and potential investors.
AnnMarie Deter, CMC Radio Sales and Marketing Manager and event moderator opened the evening by sharing Beckley’s background and the impact his businesses have had on the Roaring Fork Valley. Both Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs have become destination attractions that benefit Glenwood Springs in a myriad of ways from generating revenue for the city and jobs for hundreds of individuals to creating one-of-a-kind amenities that are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. “As you grow, strive to make your business an asset to the community; one that both you and the community can be proud of. Grow smartly and add assets that are positive,” Beckley said.
Much of the evening focused on developing a healthy company culture—intangibles that define a company’s personality. In the case of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park those include the company’s mission: to make people smile, its long term vision: to be the destination and employer of choice, and its core values: safety, teamwork, efficiency, presentation, guest service and communication. The company’s seven guiding principles—patience, kindness, trust, unselfishness, truthfulness, forgiveness, and dedication—follow those outlined in the book Love Works by Joel Manby, a faith-based, servant-leadership management model. “Most people want to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves. People will do so much for you when they feel special.”
When audience members wanted to know how to find people who are a perfect fit for a company’s particular culture, he went on to describe Glenwood Caverns’ unique hiring methods. “Our interview process is based on our core values; it’s almost theatrical, we use role playing, games and encourage people to be silly and be themselves. It’s been an effective process to find people who match our core values.” While the Caverns’ interview techniques might not work for all businesses, Beckley reminded attendees that hiring the right people was critical, “You can’t teach core values, you can teach skills.”
Beckley also stressed the importance of listening to ideas from everyone on staff—management to front-line personnel—and cited an example to illustrate that employees have great ideas if only you’ll listen. “I have always dreamed of doing a drop ride. The problem is we have limited space; I couldn’t figure out where to put it because we have caves everywhere. One of our employees suggested a building location that I never would have thought about. As a result of listening to him, we were able to build the Haunted Mine Drop, and it was named Best New Amusement Park Attraction of 2017 by USAToday!”
When asked how he gets through business rough spots, Beckley said the hardest times are when the Park is in the midst of a building project—a time when employees and management staff need to rally. “We are fortunate to have a very low turnover rate. Many of our managers have been with us for nine to 13 years! Good thing, the expansions have been prolific in recent years, with more to come. Iron Mountain Hot Springs opened in 2015, the Haunted Mine Drop in 2017, and a new tram will replace the old one with construction starting in the fall.
At the end of the evening, speaking from experience Beckley encouraged fledgling entrepreneurs to “Know your core values, have high integrity, be honest, listen to others, do what you say you are going to do, help others achieve their goals and have a mindset that says ‘let’s build something great together.’”
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