We all know it is not uncommon for weather to affect operations no matter what region of the country; however, the impact can be enormous for your patrons and staff. As many are aware, the southeast was hit recently not once, but twice, both resulting in the cancellation of events that had either capacity or near-capacity audiences. Certainly there is always a learning curve in the messaging and communication in any emergency situation, and we became experts by the second storm. However, I feel that the biggest lesson we learned at the Fox Theatre was from our “on the ground emergency response team.”
The first storm resulted in the cancellation of two performances of The Book of Mormon. While upper management worked feverishly with Broadway Across America and the show’s producers, it was really the hourly employees who were the glue that kept it all together. Many slept on the floor on areas of the theatre overnight so that they could be “first responders” to the thousands of calls and emails from ticket-holders. Foregoing family, these front line folks stayed for up to 36 hours in order to return calls, facilitate exchanges, and pacify our panicked patrons. Staff members were using packing blankets for bedding and raiding lost and found. All were thrilled to return home after their extended “shift” and get out of clothes that had been worn for longer than I care to share! It was truly the Foxified version Survivor, except no one left the island.
Round two of winter weather was predicted to be worse than the first; however, we were prepared and had a much better accommodation situation (storm No. 1 took place during the Poultry Convention, so there was not a feather pillow to be found on which to rest a weary head). The troops were corralled, overnight bags were packed, and management fully supported the use of the hotel across the street.
We started early communication with the management team for Ailey, and together a game plan was prepared in advance. The Ailey team was very receptive to our recommendations and consensus regarding the plan. The messaging was so effective that not a single patron showed up for the canceled performance—an almost unheard of thing.
Through all of this, I was truly amazed at the tireless efforts of our all staff who willingly dedicated their time to the Fox over family and home. While management certainly supported these efforts by providing bed and board (and an occasional adult beverage), it was the hourly staff that kept the machine moving, remaining late in the evening to respond to calls and even making a game of it in that they created a competition to see who could call the most people in a defined period of time.
I, for one, see all of my colleagues, both full-time and part-time, in a new and re-energized light. We became cooks, cheerleaders, and the cleaning crew for each other. I am inspired by the dedication, humor, and ability of everyone to adapt and react during trying times (the most of which was my inability to properly bake a frozen pizza). Success is not owned by any one person, and our team certainly sustained the success we all enjoy when the sun shines.
[Editor’s note: Since this is story about weather, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s still time to apply for and attend our upcoming AVSS Severe Weather Planning and Preparedness course, March 4-5, in Norman, Oklahoma.]
There was a lot of news this past week you may have missed. Here are some headlines that caught our eyes.
Baseball Stadiums to Host European Giants in Friendlies
“Baseball will give way to football at Yankee Stadium on July 30 as Premier League contenders Manchester City and Liverpool clash in the Big Apple, three days after The Reds face Greek side Olympiacos at Soldier Field.”
Immersive, All-Night Macbeth to Play in East Tower in London
“The production, which will begin at 8 PM and conclude the following morning at 8 AM, will require audience members to go to bed after the first few scenes of Shakespeare’s tragedy of ambition and murder are performed. Audience members will be visited by the play’s characters throughout the night.”
Texas A&M Adding Largest Video Board Among Colleges
“The 7,661-square-foot board will be about twice the size of A&M’s previous video board.”
The Neuroscience of Networking: Why Networking Matters To Your Conference
“In 1997, researchers at Washington University discovered that our brains default to social cognition when not focused on other cognitive tasks. In other words, when our brain is at rest, it starts making sense about our self and our relationships to others.”
Getty Images Photographer Breaks Down Olympic Hockey Assignment
“Getty Images has been the official photo agency of the International Olympic Committee since 1988. The company has 69 photographers and a team of editors uploading 2,000-plus images a day in Sochi.”
It’s called the foot-in-the-door phenomenon, and it’s one of social psychology’s tried-and-true techniques. Watch the above video to learn all you need to know about it in 59 seconds. Then try it out and let us know your results.
In December 2013, 188.2 million Americans watched 52.4 billion online content videos. And they weren’t all about cats. In fact, I bet some of them were instructional videos. And just watching these types of videos can change your brain structure and increase your motor skills, according to a study from the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers had 36 right-handed adults participate in a 40-minute training session five times a week for two weeks (I know, a lot of numbers there, but stick with me). Videos of a specific task (e.g., handling coins, cutting with scissors, etc.) were shown to half the group, who were then asked to complete the task themselves. The other half of the group watched videos of landscapes before being asked to complete the same tasks as the other group.
The groups were tested for strength and hand skills at the start of the study and two weeks later, as well as having their brains scanned to measure brain volume changes.
Researchers found that the participants who completed the training and watched the activity on the video had 11 times greater improvement of motor skill abilities, primarily in strength, compared to the landscape watching participants. The activity video watching participants also had an increase in gray matter volume. Gray matter contains the brain’s cell bodies and is often attributed to intelligence.
“Our study lends credence to the idea that even as an adult, your brain is able to better learn skills just by watching the activity take place,” said study author Paolo Preziosa, MD, with San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy. “With a dramatic increase of videos available through mobile phones, computers, and other newer technology, this topic should be the focus of more research. The results might also contribute to reducing disability and improving quality of those who are impaired or who are undergoing physical rehabilitation.”
Do you use videos to help train your staff or yourself? How effective do you find them?
We are pleased to announce that Polly LaBarre will be our keynote speaker at VenueConnect in Portland, Oregon, July 26-29.
LaBarre is co-author of the book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. She is also co-founder and editorial director of the MIX (Management Innovation eXchange), an original team member of Fast Company magazine, and a CNN correspondent focusing on business ideas and best practices.
Her specialties include helping shape the future of organizations, work, and success, with recent research centering on social innovation and sustainable capitalism.
Check out the upcoming February/March issue of FM magazine for an exclusive interview with LaBarre, and please sign-up to be notified when registration opens for VenueConnect.