Lessons from a Tap Dance Competition

Our daughters Julia (top left) and Anastasia (top right) and their Team Canada West teammates performing their production “Silent Movie” which won them the bronze medal.

I’m writing this newsletter from the Frankfurt airport. We watched our tap dancing daughters and their team mates from western and eastern Canada compete in the International Dance Organization’s World Tap Dance Competition held in Riesa, Germany, this past week.

Riesa (pop. 32,000) is about the same size as Moose Jaw, SK—another tap dance hot spot—so I’ve had lots of time to observe and ponder the events.

The main lessons that I’ve garnered from this week of amazing tap dancing are:

  1. Talent plus effort creates results.
  2. The audience is the customer, not the judges.
  3. Continual learning feeds the passion.

Talent Plus Effort Creates Results

When you’ve made significant accomplishments in your business, they probably came from years of experiencing, trying and failing, and learning new things. They didn’t happen overnight. You trained yourself through lots of trial and error, and hopefully you had some mentors and guidance along the way.

Training is the application of talent and effort into learning skills, routines, and entire dances (or processes). In dance, like most performance arts and athletics, the ratio of training and practice to performing a three-to-five minute routine is extremely high in favor of training.

Training is hard work at times, but it can be, and should be, fun.

How are you making training and learning a fun experience in your business?

What is your training-to-performing ratio?

The Audience Is The Customer

Dance judging is a lot like figure skating judging…we don’t truly know how it works. This week has been a good experience for our girls to know they did their best, they outperformed most of their competition, but didn’t come in first place.

The lesson, as I’ve learned from my mentor and am passing along, is “show up, do your best, go home.”

Also, you may not agree with the judges, but the audience is usually right! Listen to the applause! In business, your customers will give you applause and feedback — listen to them! Align your strategy to elicit the maximum applause.

My definition of strategy is “the intentional focus and alignment of your resources (people, talent, skill, energy, processes) to create maximum value (quantified) for your ideal customer.”

What are the quantifiable results that you’ve created for your best customers?

Do your customers know everything that you can do to help them increase their results?

Could you arrange a demonstration of your full talents and capabilities and show these to your customers, perhaps in three to five minutes, accompanied with energetic music?

Continual Learning Feeds The Passion

Although the dancers are competitors, they all share a love for dance and for learning new things. They were teaching each other and learning from the world class teachers from other countries.

How can your managers and your stars motivate and teach all your employees who sincerely want to learn and get better?

Winning a Medal

One more thing, nobody got a medal just for showing up. They had to advance from the semi-finals to the finals and then place in the top three to get a bronze, silver, or gold medal. The medals meant something.

How do you motivate your team to perform and compete with the best?

How can you reward your best performers?

If you’d like to discuss how I can help your team perform, compete, and win more effectively, please call me at 1-306-992-6177 or send me an email at [email protected].

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share this newsletter.

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