Creating Magical Moments
Bumping the Lamp
In the old live action/animation movie, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" there is a scene that involves a real lamp swinging and cascading light onto both live and animated characters. This was before digital remastering and CGI effects. In other words, every animation was hand-drawn and very time consuming. (Watch the clip).
The easy way to handle this scene would have been to leave Roger Rabbit in a part of the room where the swinging light wouldn't reach.
But Disney animators were adamant about convincing the audience that Roger Rabbit really was in that room interacting with the other characters and the props (seriously, watch the clip). So they meticulously drew every frame (24 frames per second) and changed the opacity and shadowing of every fill to make it look like the light was swinging on and off of this animated rabbit.
For the 2 min 14 second clip above, it took 3,216 INDIVIDUALLY HAND-DRAWN PICTURES!! Hence the phrase, "Bump the lamp" has come to mean, "Go the extra mile to create a wonderful experience for others." TRADITIONS and all other GAR North University materials are all about bumping the lamp for our customers.
Regarding TRADITIONS, there are four of them: Keep it FRESH, keep it FRIENDLY, keep it FOCUSED, and keep it FUN! (Have you STILL not watched the clip? Bruh! Watch it NOW!)
Keeping it Fresh
Our goal is to be one of the few gyms in the region that does not look like a war zone and smell like a locker room. There is so much to remember about keeping this place fresh, it is a good thing we as staff only have to remember ONE thing. And here it is: IT IS EVERYBODY’S JOB...ALL THE TIME! What does that mean? It means… When you are walking through the lobby and you see an empty bottle or snack wrapper, grab it and toss it in the garbage can. It means... When you wash your hands in the bathroom and you toss your paper towel away, and you see that someone missed their shot, throw theirs away too. It means... If you see that the bathroom needs serious attention, let the office know so we can work to keep it fresh, too. It means... When you finish teaching, stack your equipment where it is stored or at least neatly out of the way so the next class and instructor have room to stretch and warmup. In other words it means seeing the place as something you personally take pride in and want to look good and smell good all the time.
Keeping it Friendly
GAR NORTH has a program called PREMIER. These kids' parents pay a hefty tuition that allows them to be here everyday and get other discounts and perks. We have asked dozens of PREMIER parents why they are “all-in” at our gym, and they only ever give one answer: It is the ENVIRONMENT that keeps us coming back. Here are a few quotes: FROM AN ATHLETE: This place is like my second home. I love it here. FROM A MOM: Every single one of them...every staff member is smiling. You don’t have one staff member that doesn't genuinely love kids and love what they are doing. FROM ANOTHER ATHLETE: This is the only place where I truly feel like I can just be myself. FROM A DAD: I was sold after day one. I did not know a gym like this existed, but I knew I wanted there to be one like this. What makes us so special? We keep it FRIENDLY. People will want to come if they are continually reminded that WE want them to come also. So how do we do that? 1. WE WELCOME THEM BY NAME—Learn the name of every child you come into contact with and make sure they know your name, too. In fact, take it a step further and introduce yourself to their parents when you can, and when you do, wrap up that exchange by saying, “Thank you for letting me work with your son/daughter.” 2. WE SMILE...A LOT! - Smiling doesn't cost you a dime, but it will give great rewards. Dolly Parton said, “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.” Everyone here can smile. Maybe you think you have a resting sour face (we don’t use the other word)...then don’t let it rest! Say it with me: I AM PAID TO SMILE. Keep smiling. When kids are frustrated or frustrating, smile. When parents are unhappy with something, smile? When you are sick or tired or sick-n-tired, smile. Your smile can disarm a scared child, lighten a heavy moment, and reassure others that someone genuinely cares. And that means the world to them! 3. WE DO NOT YELL AT KIDS EVER - Your tone of voice can completely change what you are communicating. If your tone of voice is harsh, you are not encouraging, even if what you are saying IS encouraging. For instance take the word, “Hey.” How many messages can you convey with this single word? SURPRISE, EXCITEMENT, ANGER, GREETING, FLIRTATIOUSNESS, INCREDULITY, EMBARRASSMENT, WARNING. All of these happen simply by changing your tone of voice. So when you speak to a child, ask yourself, “Is my TONE strengthening or changing the message of my WORDS?” This is even more important than we realize because we do not know how they are spoken to at home, at school, by another teacher/mentor, etc. 4. WE GIVE GOOD TOUCHES - There is so much research on the power of physical touch. Studies have shown that it doesn't just feel good to receive physical touch, but that there are actual health benefits for it. Physical touch stimulates receptors under the skin and lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress. Dr Matthew Hertenstein, psychologist from Depauw University, says that this is so significant, that being “touch deprived” is actually a thing now. Bottom line is, kids need reassurance, and good touches are a key to this. What makes a touch GOOD? What makes a touch BAD? Here are some guidelines: GOOD touches are invited/respectful...BAD touches are forced/awkward. GOOD touches are appropriate...BAD touches are inappropriate. GOOD touches are given publicly...BAD touches are only given in privacy. GOOD touches are to reassure others...BAD touches gratify ourselves. What if a child is a hugger? RECEIVING appropriate affection (even a hug) from a child who offers it is fine. GIVING a quick, reassuring hug (preferably side-hug) to a young one who is emotional and clearly needs it, also is usually ok. But to SOLICIT affection from a child beyond a high five or fist bump is crossing a line of both appropriateness and comfort.
Keeping it Focused
Someone once said the only essential difference between a flashlight and a laser is the amount of FOCUS. Sometimes we can be so broad in our focus that we are warm and bright but get nothing done. Other times we can be so narrow that we accomplish one thing VERY WELL while neglecting other things that should not have been ignored. So how do we make sure we have the right amount of focus and on the right things? No matter where you are serving, you just need to focus on what we call the THREE P’s: PROTECTION, PROGRESS, & PASSION. There are three major areas of service that all of our staff get involved in. They are SHOWTIME (classes), PARTY-TIME (PNOs and Birthday Parties), and WELCOME-WAGON (front desk customer service). The three P’s are what we apply to FOCUS, no matter what area we are serving in. This will be covered in great detail in those other individual seminars, but here is the general sense for each: SHOWTIME—We teach roughly 130 classes per week. So what are our THREE P’s? PROTECTION—Protect the safety (physical and emotional) of the kids through smart stations, class flow and atmosphere control, and sensible spotting. PROGRESS—Progress the kids through drills and skills that build on one another, and through intentional engagement of each athlete. PASSION—Do all of this with lots of energy, smiles, high fives, etc. PARTY-TIME—We host about 150 parties per year. These serve as great on-ramps to bring kids into our educational program. What are our THREE P’s? PROTECTION—Protect the safety (physical and emotional) of the kids by maintaining a G-rated environment, implementing safety policies, and staying vigilant. PROGRESS—Make sure the events progress according to schedule and that each child is having a good time. PASSION—Do all of this with a great smile, a beautiful attitude, and an “others first” mentality. WELCOME-WAGON—Our office administrative team is the first welcome anyone who walks into GAR North receives. It is vitally important that we take great care of our guests. Here are our THREE P’s: PROTECTION—Protect the customer’s sensitive information by keeping things confidential, shredding credit card numbers once entered, etc. Also protect the company through implementing policy correctly and properly documenting everything. PROGRESS—Fulfill the customer’s needs swiftly and efficiently by knowing your job well and not getting sidetracked by unrelated stories of personal experience. PASSION—Do all of this with a genuine smile, a kind voice, and a servant’s heart. It is really not that hard to do your job with excellence if you will just keep the three P's on the front of your mind... protection, progress, and passion.
Keeping it Fun
You are privileged to work in one of the coolest places in the world, engaging in the coolest sport in the world, with the coolest generation in the world. Think about it, you could be burning your arms with French fry grease right now, or getting yelled at by an adult customer who was unhappy before they ever walked in the door because their sweater has a hole in it. But these kids come in EXPECTING TO HAVE FUN! All we have to do is deliver on that. So how do we do that? Just THREE BIG WORDS... IMAGINATION, INNOVATION, AND DETERMINATION. Get these three big ideas, and you are just about guaranteed to destroy boredom in this place. Lets look at them more closely: IMAGINATION—Start thinking creatively about ways to inject more fun into your time with these kids. When we talk about imagination, we are talking about changing how kids SEE what is going on. Here are some examples: PNO Fort—Tell them it’s an ice cream shop instead, and then periodically walk by and order ridiculous flavors that do not exist...I’ll have a double scoop of squirrel tail with glitter glue sauce! Ninja Course—Make it not just a course; put out extra blocks or mats and play “the floor is lava.” If you touch, you have to name a food with the same letter as your name before you can get back in. Birthday Parties—Make it an adventure. Get there early and set up an obstacle course leading to the inflatable. Tumbling Class—Throw a little silliness in. See who can do the best wrong handed cartwheel, or finish class with a handstand contest instead of conditioning. Imagination can bring freshness to the redundant. It can take the edge off of grueling strength work. It can even help a scared, “mental block” stricken athlete disarm and enjoy themselves again. By the way, imagination can make it fun for YOU again also. And enjoyment, like boredom, is contagious...so make sure YOU are also having fun. INNOVATION—While imagination affects how the kids SEE, innovation affects how they MOVE. Innovation is the art of approaching a skill or an activity in a new way, with a new drill, or a new use of the gym or the equipment. It is important to remember that imagination, as important as it is, doesn't have a very long shelf life. Even if you change the way they see something today, in time they will go back to seeing it as it is. A cartwheel is still just a cartwheel, a speed vault is just a speed vault, etc. But if we can REALLY change the way we do something or teach something through innovation, that will bring an authentic renewed enthusiasm that tends to stick. Take a moment and reinvent an aspect of your job. Maybe you can think of… ...a faster/more efficient way to sweep and mop the lobby at the end of PNO. Or gosh, maybe even a FUN way! ...a drill that helps fix what everybody seems to keep doing wrong on their cartwheels. ...a better way to help preschoolers stand up out of their forward rolls. ...an added touch to better serve a parent at a Birthday Party or to make it even more special for the guest of honor. ...an impromptu organized game to make your zone at PNO more interesting for the kids and easier to manage for you. Opportunities for innovation are all around you all the time. There is a resort in Mexico where they hire a falconer to hang out on the beach near the resort with his bird of prey to scare away the seagulls so that the guests can eat their lunch in peace. Now that is thinking innovatively! What new idea will you come up with that will make GAR North even more special? Before we leave innovation, we must remember that all innovations must be S.M.A.R.T. That is they must be Safe, Manageable/Measurable, Attainable, Repeatable, and Tested. Let’s break that down a bit. Safe - If it is a new drill, it must be inherently safe or easily spotted to keep the athlete safe. Manageable and/or Measurable - Bringing 5 puppies to PNO to make it more fun is not a good innovation because it is not manageable. And by measurable we mean, if it is a new drill, you must be able to correct it and clearly communicate to the athlete how to know when he/she is doing it right. Attainable - Your innovation must be attainable by the kids. A drill that is not doable or a course that no one can complete will only bring a spirit of defeat or frustration and is therefore NOT a good innovation. Repeatable - Your innovation cannot hang on the shoulders of especially talented people. It must be repeatable by those you work with. Otherwise, it will just be YOUR personal trophy, rather than an asset to the whole staff. Tested - Somebody besides you needs to see this innovation before it is implemented. Test the new drill on another seasoned coach or an advanced athlete. Bounce your game idea off of the PNO floater or desk manager. Do NOT just throw it out there because it popped into your head. DETERMINATION - When we think about determination, what we really mean is “be the thermostat” for your class or event. In other words YOU (not the kids) determine the tone and temperature of the event. We must always be ready to compensate for whatever kids or parents bring to the table. Here are some examples: *Kids have no energy and are lazy in tumbling...YOU show extra energy and enthusiasm. *Mom rushes in frazzled for her child’s party...YOU take the reins and instruct her to relax and let us do the grunt work while she just sits and says what goes where. *There is an ominous feel to the class because someone is very afraid or feels the pressure of not making the squad at tryouts...YOU lighten the tone with a little humor, lots of reassurance, and hands on spotting. What if you don’t feel the energy yourself? Show it anyway! Do we mean be fake? No, but get in character and play the role you were cast to play, and you will see your energy become authentic and contagious!
Answer the questions below (yes, you can go back and cheat).