Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be Better by Doing Less

In the new book Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business coauthors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss make a strong argument that providing great service often requires not trying to be good at everything. In every organization, including camps, trade offs need to be made so that we can really focus on what's important.  The best organizations identify and then create a laser like focus on being great at those aspects of their service that are most important to their customers. Other areas are maintained at a level that is acceptable but not exceptional.  

One of the examples used by the authors is Southwest Airlines. At Southwest they understand their competitive advantages are low cost and dependable service. To be exceptional in these areas, Southwest recognizes the need to make a trade off in the area of food. By offering minimal food service, Southwest reduces costs which in turn are reflected in their fares. By not trying to restock food between flights Southwest improves its ability to quickly and reliably turn aircraft around which increases their rate of on time departures. The result is consistent high praise from customers regarding service at Southwest despite a minimalist approach to food.   

As a camp director do you have a clear picture of what areas of your camp are most important to your campers and their families? Have you focused most of your attention in those areas? Are there aspects of your operation that hinder improvement in these areas? Are there trade offs that could be made to allow you to better focus on the most critical aspects of our camp operation?