Early on I learned that no matter what is going on externally – economy, trends, competition, etc. – my business will only succeed if I stick to the core values that my company was founded on. As long as my decisions stay true to these values, I am able to adapt quickly to an ever changing landscape. Value based adaptation is a the heart of everything we do.
The mission at the core of my business – to facilitate positive change in groups and individuals through the use of experiential education tools and adventure programming.
The relationship I keep with my facilitators – give them your trust, pay them a decent wage, expect their best, and then step out of the way.
The relationship I keep with my clients – promise only what I can provide, provide more than the client expects, create a foundation of trust that the client can build on long after the program is over.
As long as I stick to those core values, every decision I make is easy, and so far I have been fortunate enough to make decisions that have helped my company to thrive.
For instance – this year, one of my University clients had their budget slashed. Although they had expected to be able to return this Fall to have us run their Freshman Orientation programs, the money just wasn’t there. The school pulled out entirely and was forced to run an in-house team building activity.
It is always disappointing to hear that a long-time client is deciding not to re-contract our services, but I also see it as an opportunity to reflect, to learn, and to adapt. We took the information we had learned during the process of negotiating with that client to completely redesign our Team Building DiY (Adventure Team Challenge). We were able to cut our costs and offer the program at a reduced rate for schools with a tighter budget. While we lost one client, we gained two more in their place – each one choosing to go with the less expensive option.
We now have another option – a new level of service to offer clients who are on an ever-tightening budget. In the coming year, I will stay in contact with all three schools and let them know how important their feedback was and what we were able to do to accommodate their future programming needs. With any luck, the groups will be able to come back next year and either go for the less expensive option, or choose the next level of programming. Either way, the trust is there, and I have every reason to believe that we will be able to provide a service for their Freshman Orientations next Fall.
In the wake of the “Economic Downturn” of the last couple of years my business has had to adapt quickly to the changing needs of my clients. This adaptability is one of the skill-sets that I rely on not only in my team building facilitation, but also in the way I run my company. In order to make difficult decisions that I can live with, I simply do a check against the core values, and the decision becomes easy.