Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

Deep Practice

George Bernard Shaw said, “I want to throughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.

I cracked up last week as I was trying to wade through how to get all the things done on my Monday since this Monday was a holiday. Labor day to be exact. Is that a day we celebrate laboring by not working? Gosh I’m confused.

Nonetheless, I’m really happy for the day -no matter what day it is. Maybe that happens when you pass 50. You just become grateful for every day.

Lately I’ve become very interested in all the conversation surrounding working and work ethic. It’s funny to me that we, “the people in my age group,” talk about “kids nowadays.” They just don’t have the same work ethic we did. Are you kidding? And by the way, our parents said the same thing about us.

Young people work different than we do or did in our day. The world is different. I think they value their own time more than we do. We, maybe I should just say I, think that working 10, 12, or 14 hours a day makes me more worthy. I think young people may believe that just makes me crazy. Why can’t WE get it done in 8 hours?

It’s different for all of us. We all work hard on the things we want to work on. For instance, if you love basketball I suspect you spend a lot of time shooting hoops. That doesn’t seem like work at all-unless you are Dirk! (Go Mavs!)

I’m reading a great book called The Talent Code. It’s a tremendous read regarding performance. A friend of mind recommended it to me with the thought that practice doesn’t make perfect but rather practice makes permanent. The Talent Code focuses on deep practice which is the art of trying, making a mistake, correcting, trying again, goofing, trying again…and then getting it right. I’m really over simplifying. Read the book.

Anyway, with this deep practice thought in mind, I can’t help thinking about how much time we may or may not spend with employees. Maybe it’s not their work ethic that challenges performance. After all we want them to be great performers right? If The Talent Code is correct and the skills we are looking for need development through practice, I’m not sure we are giving our employees much opportunity to succeed because we give them so little time to practice. We gotta’ watch those “payroll dollars”.

I think we hire, give an overview of the job, and magically hope we found a superstar! No real practice happens before they are on the job. And God forbid they make a mistake. According to The Talent Code they can’t even get to greatness without goofing it up, correcting, and then maybe getting it right. Do you have a place where people can practice and goof up before they have to do the real job? We call it training at TrainerTainment! AND we happen to think that it requires a lot of on-going effort.

Think about it, with the NFL just starting up, I bet they continue to practice throughout the season. The intensity of the pre-season work out may have been greater than practice will be during the season, but I believe they will practice every week.

In our work, I think we only play. It’s game day every day. We just get in the game and have very little practice time. What do you think?



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  1. Bev VB on September 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

    What an interesting way to think of staff meetings! And calling it a team practice instead of training probably does make more sense and sound more inviting to my 18-22 year olds. Thanks for the insight.

    • admin on September 20, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Thank you Bev. You were an early adopter of our monthly training program and you bet I think those training times are practice. I’m glad you liked the article. It’s high praise when it comes from you. Thanks Bev-I hope you fall season came in BIG!


  2. Chaun McLellan on September 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Great Blog this week Beth!

    It took me a longtime to understand much of what you are saying here when I first started running centers 15 years ago and I am in my mid 30’s. I will tell you thou when I figured it out and found what these young people wanted it was amazing as the really took ownership and pride in their work.

    I believe the majority of people want to be good at what they are doing. I have run busy centers that would do 600-800 corporate parties and year and at times I could leave these young people to run the business and often they would go over and above the call of duty without anyone asking them. I always found it amazing how they saw things different than I did. It would drive me nuts that they would keep putting the forks at the same end of the buffet line as they would the plates. It would make me crazy that every chair was not in a perfect line and tables had been set-up different but at the end of the day I always new they would take care of things and make sure the guests had a great time. Everyone new we wanted the customer to leave with a story.

    I didn’t own these centers and couldn’t bring ownership to the new age of management but if I could this is what I would have done with my management staff. I currently have these in place in my own business and we only have 7 employees.

    Senior Staff:

    1. Staff Vacations: Take as much vacation as you want whenever you feel is the best time.

    2. Work from Home Privileges: Staff are free to work from home from time to time if something requires them to be at their residents.

    3. Flex-Hours: Staff can alter their schedule as needed.

    4. Get your birthday off with pay. Only if it falls on a work day but its a nice perk.

    5. Open Financials: We share with our team the financials of the company.

    6. Dress Code: Anything as long as you are professional and represent the company well. (There are some restrictions here of course)

    I realize this is a different environment than the entertainment industry but it is still very similar in many ways. Some say we are crazy for this but I truly believe this is an important part of what gives our company the culture we want and have. I have never yet to have anyone abuse these privileges and they know I am sure if they do they will be work for another company that might not offer what we do.

    If I could have done anything different in the time I ran centers in this time it would have been to call Trainertainment to get the foundational training nail down right the first time. This is something I see missing in so many businesses and the small investment back then would have made my life much easier and the center even more profitable and productive.

    Have a great day and I would love to hear what others are doing to

    • admin on September 20, 2012 at 7:28 am


      I’m remiss in responding to my blog posts. Thanks so much for your added insights. I love your 6 “new age management” plan. I really agree that when people are engaged in their work they give you all they’ve got so why not help people manage their lives a bit better. My own company team is all spread out across the USA. I know they are managing their time and moving mountains day to day. I think that works. And by the way-to my team, if any of you are working on your Birthday-KNOCK it off and bill me for the time ; ).

      Thanks Chaun for stopping in,


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