When I was a young band director, I became frustrated that every year there was a new group of kids that I couldn’t reach. By the next year, they weren’t in band anymore because they had dropped out. They seemed to have the capacity to perform. But for some reason it just didn’t happen. As a leader, perhaps you can relate.
So, I decided to study the issue of retention for my master’s thesis. And what I found was that the most significant factor in retention was the leader…me.
This didn’t sit well.
I wanted to be a good leader; I thought that I was a good leader. I had hoped to find factors in the system that I could change, but I had to change.
Further study of leadership research and theory motivated me not only to improve my own practice as a teacher, but also to share it with others.
In 1999 I started doing business part-time as Group Dynamic, providing leadership training, team building, and goal setting, mostly in the realm of instrumental music education. From 1999 to 2003, I served nine clients: one drum and bugle corps, four high school band programs, an architectural firm, one Christian ministries conference, and provided two keynote addresses for non-profit organizations.
Over the next five years, from 2004 to 2009, the business grew. Several high school band programs began to make Group Dynamic sessions a part of their yearly routine. In 2009 I had to turn away three potential clients because of lack of available dates. Serious consideration to going full time with Group Dynamic began in June 2009 and became reality in June 2010.
I strongly believe that the workshops I provide are the best return on investment you can make in youth leadership training. Every workshop is customized to meet your area of need and includes a built-in accountability program, which guarantees that the experience will result in tangible changes and measurable improvement.
The real difference, though, is that the workshop itself is only the beginning. I remain available as a friend and resource long after the workshop is over. I take follow-up calls and e-mails from clients at any time.
The leadership training and development techniques I teach are the same as those I successfully applied to the organization under my direction, the Winterset band program. Putting these practices into place and developing leaders on your staff to embody solid leadership principles can turn your organization around, no matter what it does.