Lessons Learned

Area Manager Jennifer Grandberry shares her reflections on lessons she learned this past year.

Area Manager Jennifer Grandberry shares her reflections on lessons she learned this past year.

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on lessons learned in the past 12 months. Ohio Area Manager Jennifer Grandberry shares her thoughts on the greatest lesson she learned this year.

Back in January I found myself at a crossroads. After a very successful start to my AM career in 2011, my 2012 was dismal. Enrollment was down, revenue was down, and I didn’t make gross margin in a single month. I had to take several steps back and do some serious soul-searching. Where had things gone wrong? What was I doing differently than before? Once my soul-searching was done, I quickly put a plan into action to get things back on track.

Customer Care Calls became a regular part of my routine. Each Friday I called ten families and asked them for their feedback about my programs. While many didn’t answer or return my calls, those families I did speak with were often happy to hear from me and shared their thoughts, which in turn allowed me to provide feedback to staff and to create new systems for communication with our parents.

Monthly site visits became much more important; I now had another touch point with parents and stayed until closing a couple of days a week. This time allowed me to build relationships with some of our challenging parents, model expectations, and coach my staff.

But perhaps the greatest lesson of all in this process was that I needed to be different. I used to be unsure of myself and my ability to deliver high-quality programs. Now I embrace my strengths and use them to help my market. I used to make excuses when things didn’t pan out the way I wanted. Now I eliminate all excuses for myself and my team. Instead we focus on the root cause of a problem and work together to solve it. I used to be afraid to have “difficult” conversations with staff because they might quit. Now I have these conversations immediately because waiting did no one any good. We’ve been able to address issues quickly and move on; now I have a team that makes me proud on a daily basis.

While things certainly aren’t perfect, enrollment is on the upswing and I’ve exceeded my revenue plan nearly every month. If you ever find yourself at a crossroads, I hope the lessons I’ve had to learn can help you find the right path.

Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

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