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How to create an amazing studio culture

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

Culture is an integral part of business and affects nearly every aspect of your studio, whether you realise it or not.

'Culture' refers to the values and expectations that govern the behavior of your students, parents and team members. As the dance studio owner, YOU are the leader of your culture.

Your studio culture could be viewed as the "personality of your studio", and it plays a large part in your client and employees’ overall satisfaction.

1. Define your values

The first step in building your culture is to get really clear about your values. When your values are clear, decisions are easy, whether resolving a staff issue, dealing with a demanding customer or even deciding how to market your classes on social media.

If you don't already have a set of values in place, start by thinking about how you want employees, clients, and the general public to feel when they interact with your studio and build your culture around the values that will evoke those feelings.

2. Advertise your values

When you advertise your values, you're more likely to attract your ideal customer and staff. Incorporate your values in all of your marketing (and we mean ALL of it) from social media posts to testimonials to newsletters and even job advertisements when you're looking for new team members.

Think about displaying your values clearly around your studio using posters and pictures and remind customers of your values through every communication touchpoint.

When you're hiring new team members, ask interview questions that directly address your values to assist you in recruiting team member that is aligned with your studio.

3. Get your team on board

Co-create your culture with your senior team so that everyone owns it. Make sure you detail the atmosphere you want to feel when you walk into the studio. How will people interact, solve problems or address differences? Then, consider how you and your team need to behave in order to create this atmosphere. Establish a behavioral contract and hold each other to it.

Some other tips for making sure your team are embodying your values:

  • Create Position Descriptions based on your values to provide clarity to your team regarding your expectations.

  • Use values to address poor behavior or poor performance. Values are an effective way to hold people accountable as you can focus on the behavior rather than the person.

  • Ask team members to share stories with each other of times they have witnessed students or other team members living the values to the fullest

  • Ensure values are referenced at every professional development/team training session. Remind your team of their importance and how they guide every decision you make

4. Live your culture

There's no good mapping out and advertising your values, if you - as a leader - aren't going to embody what they're all about.

You have to be able to walk the talk! Demonstrating that you can embody the studio’s core values, especially under pressure, ensures that the culture can thrive and evolve in today’s unprecedented environment.

When you're planning any type of event in your studio, think about how you could incorporate your values. For example, if community is one of your values, you could ensure that every event you hold relates to your studio or local community in some way. You could hold fundraisers to contribute to local causes and use local venues for external events.

A fantastic idea is to offer student awards based on demonstrating alignment with values.

5. Don't make exceptions

Share your values openly and be unapologetic about your expectations. Remember, your studio values will not suit everyone, and that’s ok.

Great cultures encourage frequent communication and may even overcommunicate. It can feel repetitive sometimes, but make sure people hear the message you want to communicate, often and clearly.


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