Owning and running a dance studio is a “busy business” to be in, and it is easy to find ourselves caught up in the day-to-day operations with little time to think about the very reason we started.
Taking time to intentionally consider (or re-consider) and create the studio of your dreams is powerful – it will help you work from a place of purpose, and this purpose provides inspiration from deep within; acting as your true north, it becomes your guiding light.
Writing your vision will clarify, define and communicate this purpose. It is the first important step, alongside the discovery and implementation of values, in creating a “culture by design”. Put simply, culture is “the way we do things around here”.
I own and lead a large, well-established dance school, and we enjoy a workplace and learning environment that is not only positive but also free from drama. In fact, we couldn’t be more opposite to an episode of Dance Moms. The studio we have created, and the agreed standards we hold ourselves to simply won’t allow those behaviours. My team, our students and their parents are all proud custodians of our culture, constantly seeking ways to share our purpose and how our studio touches hearts and minds.
As the leader, it is essential to take time to pause and reflect on what you have achieved, where you still want to go, how you are going to get there, and who you plan to take on the journey. If you don’t have the knowledge of where it is you are going, you cannot expect others to follow.
While the start of the year might be an ideal time to consider your vision, if your studio does not currently have one, there is no better time than now.
Start with quiet reflection. What do you love about your dance studio? What do you want to cultivate and encourage? Flip that and consider what it is that you are not enjoying. Are there any behaviours that you wish to eliminate? Culture, both good and bad, lives and breathes within the interactions of all the people involved. When asking questions, consider the desired behaviours of your staff, your parents and your students.
Do you have a team? Gather them together, asking for contributions of words that describe the studio in its present and future state. Together, take the answers and begin to create short sentences that describe the impact you want to make. Allow 45 minutes. Any longer, and you will inevitably go full circle. From here, you as the leader take away the suggestions from the group and spend time to carefully craft the final result.
Participating in this creative process brings clarity, excitement and inspiration for both you and your team. In addition, a purpose-filled vision created together provides unity, guides decision-making and helps navigate setbacks and inevitable difficult times.
Benefits to a positive culture aside, taking the time to define your purpose and vision will add greatly to your own sense of fulfilment. It will remind you that the work you are doing is important, that it matters and that it makes a difference in the world.
By Jane Grech of Dance Informa.
Jane Grech is the founder and director of JG Creative, a South Australian company which operates Jane Grech Dance Centre, Pirouettes Dancewear and Adelaide Institute of Dance. An empowering leader, Jane’s businesses thrive from the power of a positive culture by design. Working with vision, her teams are a united and determined force. By embracing and enjoying challenges and celebrating success through having fun, her people are not only personally and professionally fulfilled but her businesses’ greatest assets.
Jane is an author and speaker on the topics of dance education, entrepreneurship and leadership. Passionate about encouraging, supporting and inspiring others, Jane writes articles for Dance Informa Magazine and at her own blog, Dance Studio Success. Previous speaking engagements include Dance Teachers Unite, Come Together Dance Teachers Conference, Exchange and, most recently, at Victorian Dance Festival. Jane shares her experiences with dance studio owners from around the world through her work as a Leadership Coach for Dance Studio Owners Association.
Jane works part time in an effort to successfully navigate the challenges of combining a career with her greatest role, that of mum to Alana, Caitlin and Liam, and wife to Brian.