- We didn't take the pulse of the emotions and sensitivities of the performers in our quest to push the envelope
- We believed that because we were a two time World finalist, kids from around Florida would just flock to us
- We didn't assess if the program was moving too fast for the financial structure
- We didn't assess the veteran status of the performers and who would come back and who wouldn't simply based on time in the program and time to move on
- We didn't assess the stress level of the staff
- We didn't assess our competitors competitive growth and proximity to us
- We didn't assess the national climate
Setting goals was the crucial step. Once we decided who we wanted to be, we needed to decide what type of competitive organization we wanted to be. We knew a couple of things. We would have to be patient. There was no rushing to get back to World and we were willing to take as long as needed to get the right kids, staff, and financial backing into place. Nothing was going to replace the foundation that the kids come first and our goal has always been to be a place where any performer can feel at home. Patience allowed us to look at the financial picture with open eyes and invited new ideas from other creative and business outlets.
We function as a business first and color guard second. It's the only way to survive in the long term and everyone on staff is required to understand that.
In the end, our taking the 2013 season off to assess the climate and write a strategic plan, was the best thing we ever did. That one weekend in December 2012, set us up for walking on the finals floor in Dayton in 2016. The current strategic plan has expired and it's time for another one. We will follow the same structure and invite outside voices to the table. All opinions will matter. It was a long road back to the finals floor, but the biggest lesson we learned is that we will never again...believe our own press. We will assess and assess and assess. We as staff members ask the kids to always look at their rehearsals and shows to assess their performance and our philosophy is that we as the adults should also as well. See you on the floor in 2017. Who knows where the next strategic plan will take us??