How to make your shows and theaters more efficient.

Broadway EfficiencyLong running shows, like any long running business, sometimes stray from the boot-strapping way that they got up in the first place.

People fall into routines, settle into grooves, and often operate in ways that may not be the most efficient for the long term health of the show, theater, business or whatever.  It’s not anyone’s fault.  It just happens.  Technology changes.  Employees change.  And operating procedures need to change along with it.

That’s why it’s important for all shows, theaters, businesses or whatevers to take a sec every six months or so, and take stock of what they’re doing, and how they can do it better.

But how do you do it?  Do you, as the Producer, or Artistic Director, or Stage Manager, sit back and say, “Do this better, and do this cheaper, and do this faster.”

Why sure, you may have some insights on how to save time and save money (I’m constantly sending around articles from Entrepreneur Magazine about such tips and trickets), but you know where the real savings come from?  They come from the people in the trenches, the people behind and even on your stages, or in your cubicles.

So here’s my simple tip on how to make sure your shows and businesses are more efficient:

Hold a company wide Efficiency Challenge!

Here’s how it works:

  • Challenge all of your employees to come up with 1-3 suggestions that will save your show, theater or office time, money or both.
  • Offer a $100, $500, or even $1000 prize for the best suggestion!  
  • Have an Efficiency Pizza Meeting, where each staffer presents his or her idea.
  • Have everyone vote on which one they believe is the most efficient.
  • Award the prize!
  • Adopt the winning entry into your show’s or company’s operations!

But wait, there’s more . . .

  • Then adopt all the other ideas as well!  (And then count how quickly you pay for the prize from those suggestions.)

As simple as this is, it’s incredibly effective.  We’ve literally saved thousands and thousands of dollars and hours by incorporating the ideas generated by my crew over the years, ideas that I never could have come up with on my own.

So hold an Efficiency Challenge and get everyone on the same fiscal and operational page . . . because a company that saves together, stays together.


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  • Paula says:

    Excellent advice! Staffs own the ideas and will
    work and cooperate to make the suggestions
    succeed. The prizes would be sure to attract
    some valuable ideas

  • Zanne Hall says:

    Wonderful advice, Ken. More businesses should follow suit but employers/managers get so into their own position that they don’t really listen to the ideas that the general milieu could bring to the table.

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