My name is Bill Squires, and I have worked in the sport facility management industry for 22 years. During that time, I have managed the following facilities:
- Yankee Stadium, director of stadium operations (1987-1990)
- Giants Stadium, assistant general manager of stadium operations (1990-1996)
- Disney’s Wide World of Sports, general manager (1996-1999)
- Cleveland Browns Stadium, stadium manager (1999-2000)
- Giants Stadium, vice president and general manager (2000-2002)
Currently, I have my own sport facility consulting company, The Right Stuff Consulting. In addition, I was a member of the board of directors of the Stadium Managers Association from 1999 to 2008 and the president of the association from 2007 to 2008.
Before entering the world of sport facility management, I was a pilot in the United States Navy. My leadership and management philosophies were developed during the 4 years I attended the United States Naval Academy and the 12 years of active duty that I proudly served this great country.
I have always believed that leaders are only as successful as their staff or teams will allow them to be. As a result, every leader needs to develop trust within the team and motivate them to do their best. Although I am a hands-on leader, I will allow my staff to manage their areas of responsibility once they have earned my trust and confidence. I understand that people will make mistakes, but I don’t expect them to make the same mistake twice. It is very important to be a good communicator; a good leader will meet with his staff and provide constructive feedback on their performance. I view the team of employees who work at a sport facility, both full-time and part-time staff, just as I did the officers and enlisted personnel in the squadrons I served in. We are one team with one mission, and if everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and performs to the best of their abilities, then the mission will be accomplished.
In any business, ethics, integrity, and character are extremely important. If you are an honest, hardworking, and motivated person, good things will come your way. I have been extremely fortunate during my career to have had several terrific people work for me who are now leaders in various facilities, and I fully expect them to continue to grow within the industry. I think it is very important to groom your staff and provide direction since these people are the future of the sport facility management industry. When I retire from the sport management facility business, if I ever do, I want to be judged on the success and the accomplishments of those who worked with me in this business, not on my personal accomplishments.
An effective leader will seek out good performance and make sure that those who are exceeding expectations are recognized and complimented. A leader who focuses on and addresses only poor performance is, in my opinion, not doing all that she can to build a strong team. I also believe that an effective leader will have an excellent working knowledge of the organization’s mission and vision statements. These statements are the core beliefs of the organization, and every member of the team should fully understand them.
Finally, the following are some helpful tips that I think an effective leader should follow and encourage:
- Don’t tolerate tardiness. Encourage staff to be on time, all the time.
- Work the different job functions (e.g., usher, concession stand worker) during an event to fully understand the job function and the issues that event staff encounter. This will not only provide a good education but will earn the respect of the event staff as well.
- Follow the six Ps: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
- The safety and security of the facility, staff, and ticket holders is your most important job function.