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The Elephant in the Living Room - Page 3

post #61 of 229
From the outside looking in, here's my take on all of this. More so than other profession, if you want to survive financially as a full time ski pro, you can't just be good, you have to be superb.
The pay rate for group lessons just won't pay the bills, and then there are those no show lessons that you folks don't get paid for.

Then there's this paradox. In level I-III there are usually quite a few students. At IV and V, its starts to taper off, so that the instructor is either teaching just one student, or has a no show. So the instructor with the higher qualifications may be the one who does not get paid for the hour.

So the only way to make it, is to be pretty booked up with privates. The only reason Todd can do this full time, is that unless you call about 2 weeks in advance, you're not going to get a lesson with him.
post #62 of 229
Yes, I do believe that there is a certain amount of S+D figured into the pay equation. And let's look at some of the history of the demographics on the supply side.

When many of us started teaching, probably 90% of the supply came from the younger side. Ex- jr racers, college drop outs and grads, students on hiatus, and just simply young people with a passion for the sport. We literally jumped at the opportunity to ski instruct for any of a thousand reasons. But only the few Euro's that were around ever considered it a career.

The ski school directors of the time, many of whom actually owned the schools, could be very selective of who they "let in". (I was one of 4 selected out of 35 candidates) There was a certain amount of prestige associated with the job, a few discounts, and all the skiing you could handle (supposedly). $4.50 p/h for group lssns + 40% of pvts was the going rate for an apprentice that season, with the top pros making about $12.00 + 60%. All of this, with no guarantees. But you were made to feel part of the "family". Everybody knew everybody, and if something was wrong, the "family" fixed it. We supported each other. The instructors had much more say about some issues, because we had such a direct impact upon the earnings of the owner. There was incredible growth in the number of skiers/students during those years, and we all did ok.

During the late 70's/ early 80's, the areas came to realize that there was a large amount of revenue changing hands on their hills, and they were only getting a very small percentage of it. Wanting a larger piece of that pie, most ski areas assumed control of the ski schools.

Enter the beginnings of the Corporate Ski School.

Now, rather than the owner running the school and taking what was left after the bills were paid, the areas enacted stricter budgets, with expected bottom line profits. This usually resulted in reduced funding to aspects which were deemed non-revenue generating or expenses, such as training, decent uniforms, etc..

The pay scales didn't really change, and the "family" began to disappear. We lost the ability to affect our own futures, as the managers were hidden away in high offices, rather than standing right next to us at line up. And each instructor began to be more concerned about his/her next paycheck, rather than the health of the entire school.

But we kept doing it!

Then came the Corporatization of the ski areas themselves. The Mom + Pop and small company owned areas many of us began at were purchased and combined with others, as larger corporations came to stake their territories within the industry.
As the scale of these corporations grew, so did the number of skiers visiting them. As we know, these were not new skiers, just a re-apportionment of the skiers (and subsequently- boarders) that already existed.
This required even larger numbers of instructors to meet the needs of the guests.
Where does the current crop of instructors come from? Maybe 30-40% still come from the aforementioned ranks. Another 30% are 2nd career instructors. Individuals who have had a full career in other industries, have retired, and want to take advantage of their available time to do things they feel are interesting.
The remainder are part of the ever growing influx of foreign instructors, many working back-to-back seasons. There we have the make-up of the current ski school.

But at the same time, the degree of selectivity that once existed is much broader. Many areas will now accept into their ranks almost anyone that applies. As larger areas reap the benefits of the migration of developing instructors from smaller areas, those same small areas are crying out for more instructors.
This in turn continues the descending spiral, as those areas begin to soften their hiring standards, in order to fill uniforms.

The common denominator at this point is that regardless how, or from where, these slots are being filled. The customer is getting an instructor and the companies are generating revenue. But as the money moves around, less and less flows as far as the instructors. Even in a large area such as Vail/ Beaver Creek, the highest paid private instructor might make 45%, and that only at the end of the season, when incentive points have been built up.

Does Supply and Demand affect our pay scales? Most certainly!
Does this process have an effect on the professionalism of instructors?
Again- most certainly.

post #63 of 229
Thread Starter 
All I can say is, that's a lot of entropy!

Do you see a Phase 3 on the horizon?

Looking at the big picture you have nicely drawn for us, I see the industry has had a Youth and appears to be in the later period of its Middle Age. Indeed, at the next area operators' meeting, take a took at the ages of the people in the room, and tell me if you don't think retirement and succession are on their minds.

This mortal fact--that in the near term we can expect a landslide changing of the guard from one generation of owners to the next--suggests the possibility of rejuvenation for our industry, instead of the alternative of decline.

The new generation is inheriting LEGACY SYSTEMS. I would wager that they will have an interest in updating these. It presents an opportunity for US to rethink the value/relationship of the school and instructors to the overall business, with the idea of sharing our well-baked thoughts with influential others.

I think that ski corporations to date haven't come close to realizing the revenue-generating potential of their snow sports schools. I believe the reason for this is BAD DESIGN. It is a legacy system obviously designed by numbers guys in the Fifties. A new system is needed!

What do you think? Can we radically redesign and repurpose snow sports schools to yield unlimited growth potential, both increasing Demand and creating better conditions for personal fulfillment on the Supply-side?
post #64 of 229
There's a ton of problems.

To start with, the ski instruction product is simply way too fragmented.

Why are McDonalds and Dominos so successful? Because a Big Mac in Indiana tastes exactly the same as a Big Mac in Tuscaloosa.

Learning to ski in Indiana should be exactly the same as learning to ski in Colorado. I could show you 50 ski areas, each with a different message. It's so wrong.

And ad for ski instruction in Ohio should read exactly as an ad for ski instruction in Colorado.

You all hate the thought of "productization", then you bemoan the fact that you're not making any money. You can't make any money without productization!

Ski instruction is still run like a hobby - practically a mom and pop shop. Your Highness is right, the model is way broken. And, I know you all hate this too, but non-profit means exactly that!

Adopt tried and true business tactics, ditch the old model, and the money will start to flow.

post #65 of 229
Yes, I do believe there is the capability to do exactly that.

To do so is going to take incredible, out of the box creativity and courage. And every group involved is going to have to buy in big, right at the start.

The instructors must understand that it will no longer be business as usual. They will be re-tasked to be multi- disciplined to work with every type of snow sports.

Management must extend themselves, to experiment, to committ to supporting their employees in all ways.

Both must work together to re-invigorate the industry. If the pros can't offer something truly fantastic, or management doesn't support it 100%, the industry loses again!

The customer- we have to convince them that we provide an experience their lives won't be complete without. And we had better deliver!

How are the cruise lines or Vegas doing so well? They promise the experience of a life time! We need to convince them that we can make them experience even more!

post #66 of 229
Snap out of it! Except for the rare and enlightend SAM, he cares only as far as his lips will serve.
Meanwhile we are caught between the 30-40% labour/revenue pinch, the perception that prices are high, the average instructor age of about 43 and the semi-annual hand-wringing from NSAA that our retention rate is too low (for which we become the whipping boy).
Kinda like the loggers who can't figure out if they cut down all the trees...they are out of business....SAM refuses to feed the engine that creates new potential condo owners while focusing on draining the last buck out of dying baby-boomers.
Of course that is my opinion, and I am frequently wrong....also the above tirade doesn't apply to all....maybe I should check my dosage...getting cranky!
post #67 of 229
And by the way- I really do appreciate your optimism re: the future of the industry. It is then in our best interests to make sure that these new owners do realize the opportunities that exist, and our willingness to help maximize them.
Since the beginning of what I referred to as the Corporate Era, general morale has gradually declined. It's nice to think that maybe there is hope.

Shut my mouth- VR might not give me any more raises if they think I might believe there's hope!
post #68 of 229
I see lots of vision, courage, and ethics in all of this. Also lots of admiration for the problem.

But where's the reality? What's the solution? I think we could implement it tomorrow if we had it. But we're where we are, because of the reality of our culture/history/business. As NB says--it's a bit of a legacy issue. But what isn't?

In our school we were better off a couple of years ago. We built a re-org model where the pros made huge influential decisions about how we worked, there was tons of money for training, we started making skiing cheaper with our $39 ticket, we paid the pros the highest in the industry, and the true professional/full timers got the lion's share of it. Most of that is still intact, except that a lot of the money is drying up. What was the result? Nothing. There was no proof that any of it worked. Maybe there is a logical argument that we have not eroded as badly as we might have had we not been so geared towards high quality. But for sure, business has not been booming.

Not that we aren't still committed to the quality and the respect for the pros---but we're not seeing the results you'd think. Of course, everyone will mouth off about prices, but you know something? We're NOT the most expensive.

We pay far more than 45% to our pros, yet we still have the same supply and demand issues (yes NB, I forgot that--although I'm not totally convinced it's the biggest issue).

We'll still keep lookin' for the silver bullet, but it's not as obvious as simple supply and demand (methinks).

Help me.
post #69 of 229
Thread Starter 
There is no silver bullet.

There is unlimited growth potential. Here is one possible offshoot:

1. Self-development is fast becoming our national religion.

2. Nearly all religions have their origins in the mountains. Instead of traveling to Turin to see the Shroud, the truly devout in the Church of SNOW go to CMH to ski the pow, or to Teton Pass, Mt. Washington, or the Haute Route.

3. Have you noticed how even your dentist has been trekking in Nepal? It seems everyone has the idea that they will find enlightenment in the mountains these days.

4. Communicants in the Church of SNOW frequent the groomed runs at ski areas to learn the devotional moves that they can then take to a higher plane. During this stage of development they will profit from the counsel and wisdom of Snow Sports EXPERTS. Always their motivation is to prepare for the ultimate experience, the skier/boarder's equivalent to a trek through Nepal in the uncontrolled natural environment called the backcountry.

Where you could die.

I think that spin would put our profession in a more desirable light.

Anyone else care to air out their imaginations?
post #70 of 229
Excellent. Thank you.

Here's something kind of fun, speaking of legacy management. The first part is old, the second part is more recent.

Does the statement, "We've always done it that way" ring
any bells?... read to the end... it was a new one for me

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the
rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.
Why was that gauge used?

Because that's the way they built them in England, and
English expatriates built the US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people
who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge
they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the
same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons,
which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd
wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon
wheels would break on some of the old, long distance
roads in England, because that's the spacing of the
wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in
Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have
been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which
everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their
wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial
Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5
inches is derived from the original specifications for an
Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder
what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right,
because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just
wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now the twist to the story...

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad,
there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of
the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.
The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah. The
engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred
to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped
by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line
from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the
mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel
is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track,
as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably
the world's most advanced transportation system was
determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a
horse's ass.

..... and you thought being a HORSE'S ASS wasn't important!
post #71 of 229

On that note, I think I'll go binge on some Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. :
post #72 of 229
Oh, weems, that is just . . . two, two much. PRICELESS!!! This is one I'm printing out for distribution. SUPERB!!!!!
post #73 of 229
McDonalds eh? Hmmm, telling.

Absolute continuity equals robotic/static. The fact that you can drive a few hours in Europe, to another country - and see an entirely different philosphy of teaching at work than you saw in the previous country, is a strength, not a weakness.

The current situation is not perfect, but nothing ever is. Diversity causes problems, but also strengths and excitement and choice.

One thing for sure, positive change will only happen from people getting in and working for the change - rather than sniping from the sidelines.
post #74 of 229
. . . and, if you are willing to tell us, where on earth did you find that?!
post #75 of 229
I don't understand why a few of you don't team up and form some sort of company that pitches ideas to the ski industry.

There are lots of great ideas and everything sounds crazy in the beginning.

But you just have to believe. As long as whatever you're doing really does have feet, and your heart is really in it, only great things will happen. Then, just believe, and don't let anything get in your way.

Be heroes!

post #76 of 229
I'm going to say something that may be very unpopular here, but it's based on my experience of 35 years as a photojournalist for the founding paper of the Knight/Ridder chain. (another so-called glamor job).

As members of the Newspaper Guild which calls itself a union, it was an open shop, which means it wasn't a prerequsite to join, you either did or you didn't but you got the negotiated union wages if you belonged or not.

As long as the Knight family owned the papers they treated us right, Christmas bonuses and all, and since we loved our work, we didn't mind staying with a story, working all hours of the day and night and hardly ever turned in for overtime.

Then they went public and we were squeezed. No pay for travel time except for expenses. Locally scheduling us close to ones quitting time so one couldn't possibly finish in time, etc.

We loved our work, and if a NFL game ran long or something else kept us over, so what, but once we were taken advantage of we decided to do some remedial things, actually just one thing, and lo and behold, things changed right away, we got paid for the time we put in, got our bonuses, etc.

What did we in the Newspaper Guild do? We joined up with the Teamster Union which sent in their negotiaters who had a session with the brass and that was that. We had a closed shop, anyone wanted to work at the paper as a journalist had to join the Teamsters.

If PSIA would decree that they have named the Teamsters to do their talking, no one could take a certification test or work at a union area without joining, and let them do the negotiating, fulltimers would get a living salery for the month they are working, plus the usual benefits, part timers would get an hourly living wage for the hours they are required to be there, if they get a lesson or not.

Like journalists, ski instructors think they are sooo above the whole thing of organizing, but neither journalists nor ski instructors can get the job done, they are much too preoccupied and in love with their jobs.

post #77 of 229
Should ski instructors make a good wage? It's an easy job, without a lot of responsibility. No difficult training is required. You don't have to be great athlete or really smart to be an instructor.
post #78 of 229
In the earlier part of the last century, members of my family were a part of the organization of laborers into unions. In fact, the word "union" was considered a really nice word in my family. My parents, however, felt that it was improper for them as professionals [teachers] to be represented by a union. On the other hand, as musicians, apparently it was ok for them to be unionized. Go figure.

Years later, my sister became a teacher and was represened by a union. At one point, she was president of her CEA/NEA local. In time, it came to be that the union saved her much heartache, so I can't argue that the union wasn't good for her. However, I feel that the unionization of teachers, whether throught the NEA or the AFT, has not necessarily improved the profession or improved public education in this country.

More than twenty-three years ago, as one of my last stands for a unionized profession, I went to the bargaining table for nurses - and to this day,I believe that both nurses and the public they serve are better off where nurses are represented by a union. However, for the last twenty-plus years of my thirty-five years as a lawyer, I have represented management, and only management, both public and private, in labor and employment matters. I can't paint with a broad brush and say that unions are always wrong - or always right, always good, or always bad. Although my union opposers and I have pulled no punches, for the most part we have maintained civil and, in some cases, even cordial relationships. All unions are not alike, and all employment situations are not alike.

Ott Gangl, I hear you, and I admire the candor you have shown in voicing support and even endorsement for an idea which may not be popular in this context. That said, my fear is that while unionization just might contribute to material improvements for professional ski instructors, it may also foster the same attitude that can be seen in some unionized teachers - less of an interest in superb teaching, more of an interest in "working to rule" and "getting theirs".

Although he doesn't bat 1.000, SCSA does occasionally hit the ball. I like the idea he has expressed above, and I hope it takes off. It wouldn't surprise me if the future held a blend of the ideas of Ott and SCSA.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 15, 2002 07:37 PM: Message edited 1 time, by oboe ]</font>
post #79 of 229
Ott- A few years ago here in Vail, a group of instructors got together and started exploring the possibility of joining a union.

Believe it or not, they actually had quite a head of steam going. Meetings were being held, the topic became primary in the locker rooms, and the company was scared.

They in turn held their own meetings, to find out what the issues were, and was there any way to resolve them.

But due to the regulations regarding the formation of unions, nothing could be done by the company at that time.

Finally the day of the big union meeting came. The newspaper reported almost 300 instructor showed up, but those of us there did a head count which came up just short of 200.

The meeting itself was laughable. It was something out of a bad Hollywood movie. First of all, the group talking to us represented the United Auto Workers. They knew nothing of our business or the type of group they were talking to. Second, when several instructors wanted to record, or video the meeting, the organizers(one of whom was the stereotypical 3rd grade educated truck driver) tried to physically strong arm them out of the meeting. But several instructors intervened, and the meeting was taped/video taped. They tried to stir up those in attendance, but everytime a pointed question was asked, they had no way of answering, other than to say how powerful we would be with a union.

By the time it ended, there was more laughing going on than organizing.

Shortly there after, VR came to us with the largest single increase of benefits the ski school ever had. So do the companies respect the power of unions? Certainly! But are we better off being part of one? I have never been a big fan of them, so I'm not sure.
But I did read a letter written by a colleague, stating his reasons for encouraging the union stance. I must admit, he made a darned powerful case to go for it. And he showed, in concept, how both the instructors and the company would benefit from working together in that form.

With the transient nature of our membership, and the seasonality or our work, I'm not sure a union would even want us. But if it ever happens, it will take the industry by fire storm.

By the way, during the 70's, in the West, on several occasions, I can remember unionists trying to get into a few schools, and being run out of town on a rail. Sometimes, quite physically by the instructors themselves.

post #80 of 229
Oboe, actually about a dozen years ago I was consulted by an influential member of the ski school community in Colorado about organizing into a guild or union in order to have some clout.

I advised against it because of the reality then, and probably now, that there is no popular will among instructors to do so, and that if one large area, like say Vail, fired all their instructors and hired those willing ones waiting in the wings, it would scare the bejeebis out of all the rest of the instructors in the country and they would not sign up, and that would jeopardize the jobs of the would-be organizers.

Organizing makes only sense if a strong existing union sends in their organizers and if they were given some clout by the PSIA by witholding certification unless instructors have joined.

The wages have not gone up in almost thirty years for instructors, isn't that criminal?

Since I am out of the loop on this I am not a strong advocate for it, but I read all the lamenting here but no one does anything about it. In Germany the labor unions work closely together with management and by law have to be represented on the board of directors of every company and they all pull on the same end of the rope.

Over here, the unions and management have always had an adversay relationship, too bad.

post #81 of 229
snopro, why are unions so feared? All it really means is that a negotiated contract, valid for the duration, is adhered to by both parties. Everyone know what to expect and they either can live with it or without.

As for those third grade educated auto wrokers or truck drivers, they know a lot more about negotiating from a strong point than we do.

The Teamsters knew absolutely nothing about journalism when we joined them and they still may not know. What they do know is that a person needs to be compensated fairly for an honest day's work.

post #82 of 229
Unions are good for America. I hope they're always around.

But of course, everything in moderation...

post #83 of 229
I share Oboe's concerns about quality in teaching when you have unions.

I also understand Ott's point of view, and especially take note of the adversarial relationship in this country, as opposed to Germany.

We had a union organizing effort in Aspen about ten years ago. It resulted in a reorganization of the school--but no union. Many of the elements of that reorganization are really powerful today because we (in management), and the pros as well, believe in them. I think we have a version of the German model that Ott espouses.

Here is what I think I learned during all this time.
--I still dont' want a union. I think a union is a process of workers hiring a middle man (at their own expense) to negotiate for them. If the management respects the workers and appreciates their ability and humanity, then the negotiations can be carried out without the middle man.
--The union's sales method is to create adversarial relationships, thereby creating the market for itself. These guys are a business--not some superknight in shining armor. As such they play on the emotions of the "prospects" in the same way as any salesperson. The union promises everything, but cannot necessarily deliver anything.
--With the union, and during the organizing effort, management all of a sudden loses its ability to speak directly and forthrightly with the employees. As a manager, I cherish the ability to have great, heated, and productive discussions with pros--and our pros are neither intimidated nor punished for it.
--Many of the original needs of the union have vanished because of government protection on issues as health, safety, and benefits. This leaves the unions struggling for market share, because their product isn't that special.

Having said all that, I know that companies will or will not get the union they do or don't deserve. I believe there was great union organizer (Walter Reuther?) that said, "The only reason for a union is bad management."

If we are bad management, then we will probably face a union. If we are not, then we will continue to have a respectful relationship with our pros in which they have a strong voice in our operations and practices.

The mechanism for this is our team leader system. Our team leaders are ELECTED by the pros, and they are EMPOWERED by management. They work with their colleagues and they take part in advisory boards that influence management decisions. And they don't have to pay dues to do this. On the contrary, we pay them for it.

Some examples:
--the Pro Council advisory board provides a safe pathway for pros who feel they have been unfairly treated (disciplined, or fired). Management has yet to turn over a Pro Council decision on a termination, even when the Pro Council recommends reinstatement.
--the divisional team leaders build the performance reviews and priority systems for their pros in their divisions. Management takes part in the discussion but has no vote. The team leaders actually do the performance reviews themselves. Management does not do performance reviews.
--the team leaders put together our job commitment statement that everyone has to sign off on.
--the team leaders in Pro Council review and discuss pay and pricing issues, so they know what the issues are and can influence those decisions.
--A pro can always request the presence of a team leader (and we want them to) in corrective discussions.
--The advisory boards also submit ideas on many other issues of the operation.

Ultimately we are searching for neither a top down nor bottom up organization, but rather a collaboration of pros and management to balance the realities of this business--the needs of the pros AND the company, the needs of the guests AND the pros.

We're not always successful, but all of us try damn hard to make it work.

One of the wonderful aspects is that, even in this very hard season, in which many pros really didn't do very well, there was constantly an attitude of cooperation and respect--even in the heated discussions.

My hat's off to our pros, and our middle level managers for their contribution. This, to me, is true professionalism. And it does not need a union to flourish.
post #84 of 229
Hey, gang...

Regarding unions. I am a member of one (IAM) not by choice, but because I work in a closed shop in my other job. They suck $40 a month out of my paycheck, and I do not believe they have done anything substantial to make my job better that my co-workers and I couldn't have done with our own negotiating skills.

What they have done, however, is injected an air of mediocrity into the system. The majority (not all) of those who file grievances to get their jobs back are usually legitimate terminations. These are people who I do not care to work with because they do not uphold the standards I believe necessary to maintain consistency and quality in the position.

On the other hand, my husband, who has long dealt with unions in his job (he's in management) has a phrase - "If a company gets a union it's because it deserved it."

I do not believe that we, at our ski school, have been a cohesive group with leaders. It's part of the bane of being a seasonal position - you're always "reorganizing", either coming or going. I feel the right answer is to find strong leaders from all of our lockerrooms to reperesent our needs, and work hand in hand with management to achieve both the goals of management and the staff. We certainly have the quality/intelligence to achieve that.

If that fails, and management is not receptive to our needs and ideas to create a top-notch ski school, then it is time to talk to the paunchy tie-wearing group in Detroit... (scary thought)
post #85 of 229
Thread Starter 
I appreciate Ott's bringing up the possibility of bringing in a union to straighten things out, and I agree with Weems's assessment that bottom-line, unions are out for the union. In fact, I would go so far to say that unionization would give us a different set of obstacles in the way of achieving "unlimited growth" in the instruction business.

For one thing, how would bringing in the union do anything to improve the design of the business itself? On the contrary, I can see how the union would make radical redesign difficult if not impossible.

I would like to advocate a more thoughtful approach. Weems's story illustrates how "progress" is grounded in the past. Look how long Newtonian physics has held on despite the revolution in quantum physics more than a century ago.

Today science considers Newton a "special case" of physics. We might represent this as a small circle that is enclosed by the larger circle of quantum physics. Newtonian physics is still relevant, but within a narrow range of applications.

One hundred years ago, Newton was the whole circle.

Perhaps one day our ancestors will look back on 2002 as a time when the current ski school model occupied the whole cicle--"How quaint!"--and contrast it with a present where a new model has eclipsed and encompassed the old model, as physics has reorganized to accommodate important new ideas about reality.

Einstein said, "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." The idea that changes our world (of professional instruction) will at first seem outlandish.

You will know it by the emotional reaction it raises: fear will be paramount.

It will probably not come from within the current circle, but from the margins or even from outside (SCSA?).

It will succeed if the conditions of change are ripe, or according to David Gleicher's formula, that (D)(V)(F)>R, where:

D=Dissatisfaction with the current state
V=Vision for the future state
F=The first steps taken toward the Vision
R=The system's natural resistance to change.

The first question: Is there sufficient dissatisfaction with the current state to meet the first requirement for change?
post #86 of 229
Weems, that is great, you have what we had at the paper for seventy years. The guild negotiaters were reporters and photographers, the management negotiators were editors and middle manament folks, people who worked together every day.

Jack Knight, who owned the papers came to the office every weekday but didn't take part in the negotiations, yet he let it be known that he was quite benevolent and he appreciated the work done by us.

Then the merger with the Ridder papers happened and the company went public. All of a sudden high powerd lawyers from Miami and Philadelphia , where we owned papers, came in to negotiate contracts.

Our lowly reporters who up to this time just took what the company gave were no match for them, in 170 years there never has been a strike and the membership didn't want one.

That started the era of workers 'give-back', no more double time for Sunday work, cuts in the medical coverage, wage freezes, etc.

Being outmatched, we joined with the teamsters and now we at least stood our ground without being bulldozed over.

I am glad that you have a good working relationship with the instructors but as a manager, if you get the word from above, it is "law'.

post #87 of 229
Exactly, Ott.

And we have the Crown family to thank. They're engaged, they show up, they appreciate.

The trick is to try to improve the business so that they will stay and not get bored.

What is special is that many, many of our instructors understand this. Many, of course, are still "company sucks, we need union" but I do not think that they are the leaders. (Maybe I'm naive. I hope not.)

Nolobolono--your vision, as usual, is exquisite. It inspires me to stay in the game. (I often long for the delight and simplicity I had when it was only about skiing and teaching.)

Nolo, do you know about Peter Koestenbaum's leadership diamond? See pib.net This is the model I'm trying to install in our ss management. There is another part of it that is not on that site, but that's the basic piece.
post #88 of 229
As far as this topic, I thought for about two day about commenting or not. I think that only instructors, and american ones, can debate this.
Nolo, sorry but I cannot remove feelings and emotions from this debate, after all it's part of us humans.
Without emotions, we can function, but we are as good as dead, or not different from other animals, concerned only by their quest for food.
What made me decide to become an aircraft pilot (and a military one, lousy pay, high risks and all that, without starting to discuss the moral issues) was the idea of serving my country people, maybe even the glamour surrounding the profession, but most of all, the trigger was the passion for airplanes, the willingness to explore an alien environment, to reach perfection in that "line of business" (to fly).
The fact that I did not succeed, only add the pain to the shame. Without emotions, feelings, we're just empty shells.
Read Jonathan Livingstone, if you haven't already, the emotions described there, apply to the ski instructor profession too, as to any other.
Better to be Jonathan, than one of the other
seagulls, wouldn't you agree?
Do the resorts corp willingly take advantage of it?
I sincerly cannot answer, mine is a view from outside your business.
I was going to comment about the need to "unionize" which per se it's not a negative thing, just do not let the union as an organization become power hungry, because after that, the workers are seen as mere numbers, part of a "soul-trade" between the unions and the owners/industrials/politicians...
But as you see, I'm not that big an union fan myself.
That's all I wanted to say.

Ah, yes, two off topics comments:
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie:
A heart surgeon once commented to me...
he merely prolongs their death.
Please, don't say such scary things.

Weems, I liked your story, but I was not totally convinced (by the part about the roman war chariots being the cause of it, that is) so I rummaged around a bit, see: www.railway.org/railroadgauge.htm
OTOH on another site I found the info that Stephenson adopted what then became known as the standard (narrow) gauge because the carriage producer was already producing carriages with that gauge.
To say it all, I found an Italian site reporting exactly, word for word, the translation of the story you posted, but it was merely translated and posted around, nothing new in comparison.
I am still looking around to find some info about the Roman war chariots specs... [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #89 of 229
A few of you need to get together and start a company. Then, you would become the new leaders.

How do you make money?

Well, this thread now has IP - and legs. I'd continue that discussion off-line.

Your Highness's formula for starting a business is great. I've never seen it written like this before, but it's right on. Because there really is;

D=Dissatisfaction with the current state
V=Vision for the future state

So, the two most important elements for any new venture are there. There's a need for your product or service and you have a team in place.

Now, you form a company and do F - begin daily operations.

F=The first steps taken toward the Vision


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 16, 2002 08:26 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #90 of 229
The heart surgeon thing was apt I thought. Hey, death isn't scary M@tteo, just pain. We all get to participate in that part of life, so there is no point in letting it worry us!

DVFR is a cool formula Nolo, I've never seen that. The only thing that is tricky about it is figuring what the actual values of each variable are - we are not talking clean definable numbers here. And of course when trying to put a clear value on something like that, participant bias will be extremely difficult to eliminate. However, if looked at more as a strategic concept than a precise tactical tool - it is very cool!
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