Is it time to re-invent our business?

No organization in the new millennium would boast about its constancy, sameness, or status quo compared to twenty years ago. In light of the seismic changes that take place in all walks of life, organizational and industrial stability is interpreted more often as stagnation than steadiness. Organizations that are not changing and adapting are generally viewed as recalcitrant or as becoming irrelevant. The often frightening uncertainty that traditionally accompanies major industrial or organizational change has been superseded by the frightening uncertainty now associated with staying the same.

The father of modern management, Peter Drucker, concluded that “We are in one of those great historical periods that occur every 200-300 years when people don’t understand the world any more, and the past is not sufficient to explain the future”. Unremitting, unpredictable, and sometimes alarming change makes it difficult for any organization or leader to stay current, to accurately predict the future, and to maintain constancy and direction. Though the failure rate with change efforts is great and prolific, the only way to remain relevant is to experiment our way into the future.

As a group of ski/board professionals we are currently considered seasonal workers with great influence over how people experience their ski/boarding vacations, yet most resort corporations view us as an easily dispensable and replaceable work force.

Based upon results, Instructors are front line ambassadors for resort companies who’s reputation and brand name are very important and expensive to build and maintain. Instructors are the voice, ears and conscience of any ski area and they, better than any other employee of a ski corporation, have a more trusted and trusting relationship with guests. Beyond snow conditions, instructors spawn a loyalty that transcends the seasonal nature of our job. Feedback to the instructor is intimate, immediate and unambiguous. While the training, development and certifying of instructors is still lagging behind what is possible, the skill sets and competencies instructors across the world bring to the slopes and their interaction with guests are complex, diverse, comprehensive and infinitely transferable to many other business opportunities and seasonal engagements. Our function as instructors span the scope from being nannies & baby sitters to psycho therapists,  personal trainer, business consultant, mountain guide, spiritual advisor, confidant, nature guide, educator,  philosopher, entertainer, marriage counselor and more. The underlying competencies for all these functions are varied and preciously un-assessed. They are readily transferable to work of all seasons of the year and represent a hence untapped resource.

Our worldwide industry provides us with access to Kings and Queens, politicians, financiers, leaders of educational institutions and movers and shakers in every line of industry. We can claim to have not just professional, but also personal relationships with people who influence the direction industries and countries go. We have a significant influence over young children’s views of the world, yet we seem to have been satisfied to ’play second fiddle to land developers’, to put it starkly. Has our rugged individualism and/or our singular excitement for skiing and boarding blinded us from seeing the possibilities of expanding the scope of our avocation and profession? How can we fail to see our diverse and cultivated skills and competencies as resources that deserve to be engaged for more than one season?!

Let us start the conversation and think ‘possibilities’!


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