As a Taekwon-Do instructor you have a unique relationship with your students and their families that extends beyond what one would consider a normal relationship between a coach and an athlete or instructor and student. Baseball coaches, piano instructors, dance instructors, and the many other coaches, trainers and instructors that exist out there rarely develop the close relationships that you do with your students and their families. You see many of your students twice (or more) a week and you are teaching them something that is impacting every aspect of their lives from the do jang, to school, to work and their families.
As great as that is, it is often overlooked because over time it just becomes normal.
In one sense, you could argue that you already go the extra mile with your students by virtue of what you offer. But when that becomes the norm it becomes critically important that you find new ways to continue to go above and beyond. Brian Tracy (author of The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success) talks about what he refers to as the Law of Overcompensation. Earl Nightingale explains it this way:
If you always do more than you are paid for,
you will always be paid more than you are getting now.
Success isn’t something that happens when you just do the bare minimum for your students. Success happens when you go the extra mile, when your students, clients and customers and surprised, excited and delighted. Disney is one of my favorite examples of a company that “goes the extra mile” like no other.
Disneyland is amazing at managing things that you don’t see, but that make an enormous difference in your experience while visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth.” If you take a moment to look away from the bright lights and exciting rides, you’ll notice what other’s don’t see – the ground is NOT littered with wrappers, gum, or spilled popcorn. Tens of thousands of people walk down Disneyland’s Main Street EVERYDAY and yet it remains spotless. They have made it a point to clean the streets every night so the park is “show ready” when the first person arrives the next day. In addition to that, there are “cast members” (the title for all of Disneyland’s employees) hard at work during park hours, constantly cleaning, sweeping and picking up. Managers and employees are trained to keep the park impeccably neat and clean.
Ron Pogue, who started as a ticket taker at Disneyland’s front gate and eventually rose to the position of vice president of Disneyland International, describes a fundamental value that drives decisions:
“Walt Disney’s philosophy for success might sound simple: ‘Quality will win out, give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can, and keep it friendly.’ However, executing this philosophy every day, year after year, is the real challenge.”
Disney is so committed to realizing that philosophy that they created Disney University which is the training programs for all of Disney’s employees. They believe in the value of education and training. They even created the Disney Institute that trains other companies to operate like Disney! As Ron explains:
“Every one of our employees (our cast members) knew their role, whether working on-stage or backstage. The key was ensuring that management understood this philosophy and then knew how to translate that core belief to our cast members consistently.”
As you can see, everyone knows their role in keeping the parks friendly, well maintained, and efficiently operating. Doing business this way—also known as the Disney Philosophy and the Disney Way—takes a huge investment of time, training, and money that most others are unwilling to make. At Disneyland, the Disney Philosophy is not just a nice thing to do but a must do.
Take a moment and think about the places you do business with (restaurants, dry cleaners, convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, etc.) and ask yourself, “Are they ‘SHOW READY?”
It’s easy to look around and point out where others can do more. The difficult thing is to look at yourself and your school, and tell the truth to yourself about where you can do more.
- Are YOU are show ready?
- Is your uniform show ready?
- Is you workout floor show ready?
- Are your front windows show ready?
- Is your website show ready?
- Is your parking lot show ready?
- Is your training equipment show ready?
It’s not a matter of whether or not you are okay with how things are, it’s a matter of whether or not your customers are amazed and delighted with how things are.
You may not have tens of thousands of customers coming through your door everyday, but you do have the customers you have. You also have the opportunity every day to discover new ways to go the extra mile for them. The good news is that there is no restriction to the extra things you can do to add greater value to what you provide. Consider that there are always ways to be exceeding customer expectations.
Interacting with you customers from this point of view will open up all kinds of opportunities for action. For example, when a family training with you has a child, send them a gift package that includes a Taekwon-Do bib and outfit, send flowers when you know someone is dealing with the loss of a loved one, or even just make a Starbucks run for the parents in the waiting room during a class once in a while.
In addition to everything you already provide, these small gestures go a long way when it comes to demonstrating you care and when it comes to increasing the value your customers receive. When this becomes your normal way of operating, your students will naturally share with others about what you did, students will gladly pay their tuition, parents will make sure their kids don’t quit, and you will quickly gain the reputation of being THE PLACE TO TRAIN in your community.
This is not a new concept for you. Just maybe a new way of thinking about it.
In other words…
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org