Time To Review

I am feeling a bit under the weather so I am not of a mind to blog very long today. However, while I was having trouble sleeping last night, it occurred to me it has been awhile since I revisited and revised our front of house procedures manuals for house managers and ushers and more importantly, our emergency procedures. The latter is especially important since we just had an Automated External Defibrillator installed on the lobby wall.

While I ask the house managers to refresh their memories every year and we review procedures with our ushers at the beginning of every season, we are actually operating on instructions I wrote when I first assume my current position. Those instructions in turn were adapted from a manual I used at another place of employment. There is nothing unsafe about the procedures I initially generated, they just may not be the most appropriate for interacting with our community in our specific physical plant.

My suspicion is that practice has diverted from the letter of my instructions. The next step is likely to be bringing the instructions more inline with reality while injecting bits of structure where it might be lacking so our service to audiences is a little sharper.

I have given the task of revising the instructions to our assistant theatre manager. He deals with front of house staff and their activities much more frequently than do I. He also hasn’t had a hand in writing any of the procedures where the rest of the staff has so he has no investment in any of the work. I have suggested he might want to call meetings to discuss revisions.

So I figured I would encourage everyone to consider reviewing and rewriting your procedures both for safety sake but also to ensure you are meeting your audience’s current expectations for their experience with your organization.

Interesting Thoughts From Other Places

Read some good stuff today on two blogs that really can’t be improved upon by any commentary I can offer so read on—

The Nonprofiteer had some sage advice in a recent entry regarding recruiting people to fill volunteer roles be it a board member or ticket taker — recruit in pairs.

The two-by-two recommendation is most often made about Board members, and specifically about minority Board members: don’t ask someone to be the only African-American or the only woman in the room. But it’s equally true of any Board recruit, or in fact of any volunteer: bring in 1 person, and you’ve got a 50% shot at keeping him/her. Bring in 2, and you’ve got an 80% shot at keeping them both.

Why? Because misery loves company, and being a newcomer/outsider is always misery. And because unless your Board or volunteer program is truly astonishing, anyone observing it from the outside will think it could use a lot of improvement. The prospect of trying to improve something unaided is usually daunting to the point of not bothering.

Seems easier to do with board members who tend to be actively recruited as opposed to volunteers for other areas which are often self-selected. You don’t want to turn someone away simply because no one else offered their services this week. It is possible though to orient people in pairs or small groups to facilitate bonding among them. If the 80% retention stat is correct, it seems prudent to arrange the situation so people’s initial volunteer encounters are in multiples.

Over at Producer’s Perspective, Ken Davenport relates an answer Sandy Block of Sernio Coyne gave to the question about why producers attempt to mount Broadway productions given the enormous challenges. Block stops the class in which the question was asked and queries those attending how many remember the first movie they saw and then how many can name the first Broadway show they saw. Few people raised their hands at the first question but everyone raised their hands at the second.

Says Davenport:

There’s a highly emotional experience connected with Broadway; a passion that can be turned into profit . . . Now the real question is, how can we capitalize on that?

Davenport then asks his readers to take Sandy Block’s survey and record the first movie and first Broadway show they saw in the comments section of the entry. If you remember, go on over and write it in.