01. 2019 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
DEFINING THE MNSOM DIFFERENCE VISIONS OF EMPOWERMENT, UNITY, AND COMMUNITY THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN
H appy New Year from all of us at Minnesota School of Music! Whatever your goals are for 2019, we wish you all the best in seeing them through! For our part, the team and I have spent the runup to this year planning out our goals for the school and, more broadly, thinking about our identity as an organization. While I knew the exercise would be fruitful, I never expected it would turn into such a powerful experience. It all started when a good friend and mentor of mine, Keith TerHaar, recommended a book: “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman. Always eager to follow Keith’s advice, I ordered the book, though I confess it was going to be one of those works I got around to reading eventually. Then, on the day “Traction” was delivered to the front desk here at the school, I looked up and saw one of our customers was reading my book! Only, it wasn’t mine. After a brief moment of confusion, I realized my copy of “Traction” was still sitting on my desk. Laughing about the coincidence, I struck up a conversation with the father about his thoughts on the book I’d just received. After hearing his stellar review, I threw myself into reading it from cover to cover. One gem of wisdom from Gino’s work that stuck out to me was the idea that “successful businesses operate with a crystal-clear vision that is shared by everyone.” This got me thinking, while I’ve always had a written vision for where Minnesota School of Music is going, our recent growth has offered a fresh opportunity to recalibrate our compass. So, over the following weeks, I sat down with a pen, paper, and my daily Americano with heavy cream and started to brainstorm. And, well, nothing quite fit the bill. After a lot of caffeine and even more scrapped ideas, I had an epiphany. I couldn’t put down a clear vision of MnSOM on paper anymore because our school has become so much bigger than just me. I knew to truly capture a crystalline vision for our company, I needed to bring our whole team in on the process. You see, one of the things that has made our school so unique is the fact our teachers are paid employees. While other schools just hire private contractors, our educators are a full-fledged part of the business, making it possible for us to have these kinds
of vision meetings. So, when I called our staff together to discuss defining the things that make our school unique, I was ready for a long slog of a meeting. I did not expect what happened next. First, this was a voluntary meeting. I expected low attendance, but almost our entire team showed up, including those who drove in on a day that was meant to be their day off. It was incredible to see that our teachers are passionate enough about what we do here that everyone wanted to be part of the conversation. Best of all, the more we talked about our individual visions for the company, the more we found we were all on the same page. So much of what our team had to say was in line with what I’d written down for my own ideas — almost verbatim! From the ways we tailor our lessons to individual students to how we invite parents into the classroom to take part in their children’s educations, our team loves that we approach teaching in a far more personalized way than the guys down the road. In fact, as we talked, we realized that what we do here at MnSOM has an impact that reaches far beyond the classroom. Not only are we empowering youth by teaching valuable skills in vision casting, goal setting, and musical development, but we are uniting families and building a larger community. After watching parents meet their neighbors for the first time in our lobby and seeing students build confidence onstage, we’ve realized we’re doing far more than just teaching the G major scale. Long story short, the meeting was a home run. We left with a total sense of unity and a clear vision of what makes us different from the other guys. I couldn’t have made this school a reality without such amazing, caring team members. Of course, we couldn’t have built this incredible community without the passionate families that believe in what we do. As we head into the new year with our expanded classrooms and our threefold vision of empowering youth, uniting families, and building community, I could not feel more excited about what God has in store for us in 2019.
I offer a heartfelt “thank you” to all of those who have made this journey possible,
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