Developing leaders, building Tampa to 40 weekly bookings.

Our longtime Regional Leader in Tampa had to suddenly leave her post at the beginning of this month to take care of her elderly father in California.

I had no one prepared to step into her role so I took over leadership of the region on March 1rst, filling gigs, working with our trainers, and going back to a role that I haven’t filled since 2009. It was like riding a bike, you never forget how.

We had some big staffing challenges, for the first three weeks of this month I was in restaurants filling bookings almost every night, from St. Petersburg to Clearwater to Tampa. While doing so I was also getting reacquainted with my clients, building relationships, and doing a great job at each booking.

I also began working with the three trainers in our region to aggressively interview and onboard several new entertainers. This corrected our staff shortages and began to stabilize the region. For the next 2 weeks all of our bookings are filled, so this week I’m out and about doing tryouts in several new locations.

Our Regional Leaders are crucial to our success, with teams in four time zones across the United States we need someone locally to lead each region and make sure that our client restaurants are staffed by thoroughly trained entertainers.

Over the last month I’ve been thinking about the three leadership levels needed to run a region, and how that applies to the people on our team. Here they are, in summary:

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Level 1 Leadership: The performer and the student.

All of our entertainers start at this level. They have to be self-starters who log on to get bookings on a weekly basis, order their own balloons, and show up to their bookings on time. We also ask our performers to hone their craft and learn new shapes, especially in the first few months of filling bookings. A Level 1 leader only needs to be concerned with their own performance.

Level 2 Leadership: Developing other performers as a trainer.

About 10% of our entertainers decide to increase their income by recruiting and developing new talent as a trainer. This requires a new set of skills above and beyond being an entertainer; recruiting, teaching, and motivating a team.

Level 3 Leadership: Developing Trainers and growing a region as a Regional Leader.

At this level the Regional Leader must identify and develop trainers in their region. My daughter Claire is one of the lead trainers here in Tampa and we spend plenty of time talking about her role and how to create results on a consistent basis. My other 2 trainers are in St. Pete, about an hour from my home. Each week I’m in St. Pete working with these trainers to interview applicants and restaurant train new people.

The key here is that you can’t skip from Level 1 to Level 3, the skills at each level are crucial in order to move to the next level. You can’t become a successful Regional Leader until you become adept at becoming a trainer.

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The challenge lies is taking Level 2 leaders and helping them develop the skills they will need to move up to Level 3 leadership.

A Level 3 leader has more of a long-term perspective, it takes time to develop trainers, and sometimes they don’t pan out. Each level of leadership requires better people skills, better motivational skills, and more emotional maturity.

Our Regional Leaders are not effective if all they do is fill bookings, they need to have trainers backing them up or the region will never get larger than 10 or 15 weekly clients.

As I get Tampa up to 40 weekly bookings I’m making a specific study of the development of Level 2 leaders, and incorporating what I learn into our training across the country. Part of this study incorporates the material from Life Leadership that I’ve been listening to and reading for the last year or so.

I’m still a student myself, and I’m encouraging my team to be students as well.

The spring of 2015 looks bright!

-Ben Alexander

March 25, 2015

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One thought on “Developing leaders, building Tampa to 40 weekly bookings.

  1. Very well written. I like the way you have broken out the different stages. Very logical about what needs to be followed through with

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