People always say to me, 'what's the trick to party entertaining? How do you do it?', and as much as I'd like to tell them that it's all fairy dust, glitter and dreams, the truth is actually a lot more simple- it's the people we have working as entertainers.
French Athlete Dominique Wilkins said: "You are only as good as your team", and truer words were never spoken.
Without the right people for this, I would not have the amazing entertainers I have, and without treating them properly and appreciating them, I would not have the feedback and response to the parties which I truly am so, so proud of today.
Not everyone is cut out to be a party entertainer; it takes a huge amount of energy, creativity and ability to control a large group of children whilst still staying fun! We may make it look easy on the day, but the truth is my entertainers go through rigorous auditions, training, have to do a party with me and then I observe them to their first party before I would even consider letting them loose on the world alone!
I'm constantly feeding back to them and working with them so we can deliver the best possible party to you and grow as a company to keep up with different trends, ideas and most of all, the children themselves- after all, if we can't match their imaginations we might as well stop right now!
But I am also a firm believer in fair treatment; after all, if I look after my entertainers then they're going to want to do a good job, right?
So how does this apply to you?
Well, whether it's in the workplace or your home, having a strong team of people around you and treating them well is key to any kind of success; it doesn't matter if your 'board members' are in a fancy glass office or crowded round your kitchen table and one of them is called 'Snuggle Bear'- it really all comes down to the same thing!
Here's my top 5 tips about how to get a great team around you and how to keep them:
1. Know what you want.
It's really easy, both in work and personal life, to assume that those closest to us will know exactly what we want them to do without us actually saying anything. How many times have you said "He/she didn't wash up...I mean, ok, I didn't ask them to...but they should have known!!". Wrong.
Every single person on this planet is different, and therefore has a different set of beliefs and systems in place which apply uniquely to them.
Write down a list of what is and isn't acceptable to you- your 'terms and conditions' as it were. These can be as little or as big as you like- just make sure you're honest with yourself. Then once you've done those, be honest with the people around you about how you feel. Tell them you need them to wash up sometimes, or they need to file that paper differently. They may disagree with you, and you may realise that on some things you need to compromise, but once you know what you do and don't find acceptable, you will start to see those around you responding and respecting you a lot more.
2. Give feedback.
Ok, I can hear you 'but HOW exactly does this apply to my home life?? I can't feed back to my three year old that I don't think porridge splatter down one wall was the way my interior design was going!"?!? But bear with me here. It's really, really important to tell people how you feel, in every aspect of life, and that's essentially feedback!
I need to feed back to my entertainers all the time, and by feeding back to them, they then go on and strive to be even better, and they know exactly where they stand and what I expect. You might not think that this translates to your parenting or relationships, but think about it: if you actually take the time to say to your children 'I need you to get better at cleaning your toys up so I don't have so much to do and then I have more time to play with you', or 'You need to remember to tell me if you have homework/need PE kit/etc', before it gets to the stage where you're stressed and angry, they will respond.
I'm not saying they will all the time- they are kids after all!- but if you feedback AND give them a reason, they're a lot more likely to want to do things for you than if you just shout. Don't be afraid to give people around you feedback- by doing that, you give them some responsibility and you'll feel like life is more of a team effort!
3. Offer Support.
Although there's a certain skill set that each of my entertainers needs to have, it's also important to me that I acknowledge that every person will have certain aspects of the job they struggle with too (my downfall is numbers. Thank god for excel, that's all I'm saying). Instead of getting annoyed that they're not getting it, I call them to talk through any issues they might be having and see how we can resolve them by using the skills they already do have. If that's not enough then I'll go and work with them on a party to see where things can be improved or what they might be doing wrong, and often its a simple little change of mindset which makes the biggest difference.
Remember that there's a big difference between someone who tries and needs help, and someone who's figured out you're going to do the work for them, but don't be afraid to ask 'How can I help?'. When you are stuck in a rut, this question is the biggest blessing around.
4. Appreciate individuality.
When I first started Poppy's Parties, I thought that in order for it to work, everyone basically had to be a carbon copy of me. One of my entertainers had a particularly unique way of performing, and I remember thinking at the training day 'Uh-oh....I don't know how this is going to work out!'.
I went to view their first party, and guess what? The kids loved them. Totally adored this quirky, crazy thing they had going on!
That was when I realised that having team members who were totally unique was an asset, not a drawback, and I began utilising this as much as I could. I love the fact that everyone on my team is different- they all bring different strengths to the group, and the best thing is that no-one will ever get the same party twice!
5. Treat them right.
I mean, it goes without saying, doesn't it? But sadly, I don't think it does. I've worked for so many companies in different sectors where I've felt undervalued, under appreciated and generally over worked, and funnily enough I either stopped caring or I left. It's not about huge gestures or spending lots of money- the smallest things are the most appreciated. Occasionally I've sent my entertainers a bottle of bubbles as a well done for great reviews, or a gift voucher, and it goes a long way. The same works for home- just something as simple as writing a little note, or cooking a meal without being expected to can go an awfully long way.
I hope this helps in whatever aspect of your work or life you apply them to. Any hints or advice on great teams you have yourself? I'd love to hear them!
To find out more about my wonderful, crazy guys, why not take a look at the video below?
If you'd like to be an entertainer for us, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; we are currently expanding and I'm always on the look out for fresh new talent!
Have a great week;
Love, Poppy x