Since we first posted these pictures online, a lot of our students have been asking about them. Well, if you know what we are all about - there is a story behind just about everything, and that story will somehow relate back to YOU and YOUR DANCE program.
- Yes, seriously!
(*Note: If it is Chris telling the story it takes much longer. Daisey covers the Reader's Digest versions)
Every Wednesday, your teachers and executives from Arthur Murray Hayward, Livermore, and Redwood City get together for training. We cover all the little details that create the atmosphere, service, and fun that you know and love. One of our themes has been centered around teaching in a way that is more exciting and less predictable.
For example, how would you feel if you had rescheduled your lunch break, hired a babysitter, navigated traffic, and changed clothes in the parking lot only to have your teacher say "Hey, let's review". AAARRRH!!! The "R" word is a criminal offense in our company. In a perfect world, you'd want to feel like each time you walk in there's something new and exciting in store for you.
Well that's what we work on - EVERYDAY!
So, as an exercise to practice what we preach - we decided to surprise the staff. I mean, if we are going to train on being less predictable, wouldn't it be a shame if that training was done in a predictable way? That would be like the military dude from Celebrity Fit Club eating a greasy Pastrami sandwich while he scolds the C-list celebrities on their poor diet choices.
It just wouldn't fit! (Not that the author has anything against C-list celebrities, military dudes, or delicious pastrami sandwiches)
So, in an effort to avoid the "usual" - weekly highlights, teaching training, and dance training - the staff were presented with these instructions:
"As quickly as possible, drive with your team anywhere within a 5 mile radius, text me the directions, and prepare for a photo shoot."
Needless to say, there were a lot of stunned faces which immediately was followed by a stampede through the door. Some students had come in early for their lessons (*so awesome) and were, undoubtedly, shocked to see people sprinting out the door. INTERESTING NOTE: If you're like me and 35 people sprinted past you, you'd probably run too. I mean, think of what that could mean? Yet, the students stayed there. That's some serious dance dedication.
So anyway, the exercise was a hit. It was incredibly fun but it was also an excellent reminder to the staff that if we are the people in charge of changing your comfort zone, then we need to be adept at change ourselves...
... and fast! There could have easily been a logjam of strategy, "who's car should we take?" or "Hey, no! You had 'shotgun' last time!" When they got to their mysterious destinations they could have all made long and interesting cases for their different creative choices for the photos. Yet, they didn't. They all assembled their teams and were on the road before I could even get to my car. How many other businesses can create a group consensus in less than 10 seconds!? The teachers then received instructions to brainstorm on how this related back to work.
The results were incredible! This one simple photo shoot churned out ripples upon ripples of great ideas. The common thread was simple: Change is good. Group consensus may be elusive, but when we are all going in the same direction, we can accomplish a lot more.
Enjoy the pictures, and enjoy your changes. They say that in dancing you work "really hard to make it look easy". Well, we hope that the changes, the communication, and the commitment all seem easy - because these guys do really work hard at it.
All for now!
The methods for this type of training, in particular making things "less predictable" is inspired by the work of Dan & Chip Heath's book "Made to Stick". Their findings give a great framework for us to start with - they didn't have a chapter called 'spontaneous photo shoot', but you get my drift.