You’ve probably heard the metaphor that business operations are like rowing a boat; everyone has to pull together to win the race! As Harvard rowing coach Harry Parker has famously said, “No one guy can make the boat go faster by himself” and that’s certainly true for dance studios: forward motion can only happen when everyone works together as a team. And a key part of your team is the group of people who make up your administration.
So how do you develop a strong administrative team? What needs to be done to build the muscle of these rowers? Here we’re going to dig into three essential steps for creating your strongest administration team ever.
Tap into complementary strengths and skills
Before your team can row together, it’s important to identify key players. Who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Where are there missing links? On the other hand, where might there be too many of the same strengths, weaknesses, or personalities? Your staff might be rowing hard, but if all their oars are in the water on the same side of the boat, you’ll only spin in circles.
Cross-train your team
When it comes to building a successful team and cross-training, the “I do, we do, you do” method (see worksheet) will provide the best outcome. This process creates a culture of follow-through and feedback for your staff, and it ensures that all employees, when confronted by similar situations, will give similar answers or provide similar service. Your clients should be experiencing the same response from each and every employee. Consistency is key!
Cross-training allows you to discover your current staff members’ strengths and interests, information you can use to expand or tweak their roles for a better fit. Just because someone has “always” done a specific task or project in a certain way doesn’t mean it is what’s best for the business (or for that employee) as the organization evolves.
Build bench strength
The hiring and firing process is a never-ending cycle. New employees join the team; current team members move into different positions. Both roles and the people in them change over time.
In hiring new staff, always look to hire with a culture-first mindset. Have a clear understanding of the position and what your top candidates should bring to the table. If they can wow you as the owner, they will wow your customers as well. What are the non-negotiables of your studio culture? Look at your mission, your vision, your values. Identify these qualities in candidates and continue to emphasize their importance during onboarding and training.
The best hires are those who are lifelong learners, eager to show what they can do; they believe in your mission and have a culture-first mindset. Tasks and systems can be taught and trained; integrity, heart, and passion cannot.
Administration, by definition, is “the process or activity of running a business.” And it is the responsibility of an organization’s leaders to lead their administrators to success. Train your staff to understand and lead with the why, and get ready to enjoy years of smooth sailing!