SAK Theatre Company, Orlando, Florida
SAK Theatre began in 1977 as a touring company, presenting audience participation shows at fairs across the U.S. In 1982 they were approached by Walt Disney World in Florida to present these shows on a full time basis at their EPCOT theme park. SAK suddenly became a corporation and moved its base of operations to Florida, where they provided shows for Disney as well as festivals and EXPOs around the world. The Disney contract ended in 1990 and the core ensemble of SAK opened their first retail venue; The SAK Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando, Florida.
This exciting new venture brought with it a lot of conflicting opinions and visions of its future, so the SAK team called upon ICS for guidance.
The SAK leadership team participated in a 3 Day Human Element Workshop designed to increase self-awareness and self-esteem and to promote open communication between the leaders.
This was followed up by a 5 day Implicit Career Search workshop that included the leadership team and all SAK performance staff (total of 32 participants). This workshop encouraged open communication between all SAK staff and also guided each participant to develop their own Implicit Career Plan. Staff were then encouraged to compare the personal work purpose they developed during ICS to the mission statement of SAK Theatre to see if it aligned. At this point two staff members became clear that their work purpose would not be served by working at SAK and each of them made plans to develop their careers outside of the company. They continue to be active supporters and patrons of SAK and its ideals.
The next workshop was a 2-day Strategic Planning session where the leadership crew plotted SAK’s future. This resulted in the decision to send a number of the team from Orlando to Los Angeles.
SAK Theatre is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary and is a mainstay of the Orlando entertainment scene. The individuals who headed to LA all experienced varied and different levels of success as indicated in the results grid in the appendix.
MAX BURGERS AND THE IMPLICIT CAREER SEARCH (ICS)
Max Burgers, Sweden’s oldest, most popular and most profitable restaurant chain, has over 3,000 employees in their 86 restaurants. They incorporated ICS into their management-training program in 2008. The restaurant industry typically has a high turnover rate and Max looked at ways of retaining their staff, especially the management team that they have invested time and resources with already. Max wanted to use ICS, not as part of the interview process, but working with potential managers to see if the management program was REALLY what they wanted to do as the next stage of their career. Max made it very clear that they would support the individual should they find that their true career path would take them in a different direction.
In the words of their General Manager Operations:
"When we started using the ICS workshop within our high potentials program (Team 20) there were only about 50% of the trainees that became restaurant managers, and only about 20% that stayed on as managers. The rest went back to their local town and back to their old job as assistant manager. Max wants to expand not only in Sweden but also in the rest of the world, but to do that we have to have many good managers. That’s when we got in touch with the ICS program. We liked the program from the start because it promoted courage and self-awareness. That’s exactly what these young men and women needed. By answering the two questions of Personal Mission Statement and Work Purpose, people made their decision and then stuck with it. They made a clear plan of what they wanted to be in the future.
Today 85% of all Team 20 members become a restaurant manager and almost 70% stay at their first assignment. Because of the ICS workshop we have cut training time in half. But the most important change is the drive and ambition that people attending the program are showing us. They have, in a few days, come to realize that “I am the one and only person responsible for my development”, and that makes a world of difference. They have decided what they want and they are going for it.”
General Manager Operations
Max Burgers, Stockholm, Sweden
Chase Employment Centre, Employment Program of BC
BACKGROUND The Chase Employment Centre (CEC) decided to begin a 6 month Work Placement Program with a 5-day Implicit Career Search workshop. The goal of the overall program was to provide a group of first nations youth with some basic employment skills and, for most, their first experience with formal work. ICS was included with the intentions of providing the participants with motivation, self-esteem and a long-term career plan that would not only assist in determining where the job placements would take place but would help the participants plan for work life beyond the program.
Dylan, a nineteen year old who, to this point, had experienced life in a number of foster homes, quickly became the leader of the group and not always in a positive fashion. He was skeptical about the overall program in general and the five days of sitting around in a classroom doing ICS in particular. “Why not just get out to work?” he would often plea. He challenged every premise of the program; “What does self-esteem or feelings have to do with finding a job?” “Why plan when we have no idea what is going to happen to us?” As the program progressed the facilitator began to recognize a sharp and inquiring intelligence behind Dylan’s questions and challenges. When Module 3 (Personal Definition) began, Dylan’s curiosity increased and his skepticism lessened.
The concept of him deciding what kind of a person he would be was at first novel then became an epiphany of sorts. He felt the freeing power of self-determination and realized that he could choose his life, and his self-concept, to a far greater degree than he had previously thought.
OUTCOME Dylan formed a career plan by the end of the workshop and, as you can see in the accompanying picture, proudly presented it to his peers in the group and to the employment facilitators at the agency. He completed a placement at an A&W restaurant and after that took a full-time job at Subway Restaurants, then Wendy’s.
Dylan is now a successful male model, also working in security to augment his income.
The other seven participants also completed their career plans, took job placements and went on to independently follow their career plans after the placement program ended. One of the most poignant statements made during the ICS portion was from the youngest member of the group who, on the morning check-in of the second day, said “This is the first workshop I have taken that is about me! It helps me understand me!
Asked to sum up his learning from ICS Dylan responded: “Life is precious and every turn is a new lesson to learn. It is really a beautiful thing.”