Posted by: COSI | September 23, 2008

Weekend COSI CEO Trips

Sometimes as CEO I have to recognize that I need to switch my focus from one COSI attribute to another. When I’m in meetings with state leaders, we discuss how COSI is a valuable education resource. When I’m meeting with potential partners or donors, we talk about how COSI is a national innovator and experience developer.  At a cocktail party, I remind community leaders of the powerful role that we can play as a community gathering spot.

But the primary way our community views us is as a great place for families—particularly on weekends during the school year. That’s the kind of experience that makes memories and that earned us the #1 ranking by Parents Magazine.

That means that as CEO, there are times I just need to show up at COSI on weekends—no fancy meetings, no Monday to Friday regular hours. I don’t do this to watch over our team members (we’ve got great leadership with our new VP of Experience, Steve Langsdorf). Rather, I just feel it’s important to show the team on the weekends (when we have some of our greatest interaction with the public) that I appreciate the work they do, thank them in person, and observe how our guests experience COSI—particularly during changes or special events.

New.Cafe.092108_005On Sunday we were open for our first weekend since Labor Day. We were hosting the Franklin County Children’s Services “Children’s Day at COSI!,” and we were able to show off some of our new look like our entrance solar system carpeting. We also were experimenting with how and where to feed our guests while our Atomic Cafe is shut down for major renovations. It turns out that moving carts and tables up to our Mezzanine worked out pretty well (as my fuzzy Palm photo shows).

Bike.Shot2.Downtown_092108_002The other advantage of taking time to come in on weekends is that it assures that I get at least one decent bike ride in. I live near OSU where I pick up the Olentangy Bike Path. Coming into town, it has some long noisy sections along the highway, but it also has some great views to balance those. This photo shows one of my favorite views at the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto. As I got a bit closer to COSI near the start of the new Scioto Mile construction, my Palm photo and video give some sense of how nice of a view and convenient of a location COSI has to the bike path and river, even when I was taking the shots almost in the heart of downtown Columbus!

Sometimes this part of my job is my favorite—it contributes to my health and hopefully helps our team know that I care enough about their work to get in on weekends to join them.  If you happen to see me walking around COSI some weekend, let me know what you think about our new look!

As a former board member friend told me once, “80% of leadership is just showing up”—even if it is hot and sweaty in bike clothes! 😉

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