Coaching the Creative

Sticking To Your Guns

Inside every healthy company you’ll find a strong core ideology – a clear idea of what it stands for. Not only do these companies take time to clearly define what’s important, when push does come to shove, they take a stand for their values.

Take for example a fine little franchise found in Austin, Texas known as the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

If you visit their website under the “about” tab you’ll find that “cold beer, hot movies, delicious snacks and meals” gain them accolades (#1 theatre in America) from authorities such as Entertainment Weekly. You’ll also learn that attention to detail in terms of exceptional casual dining, snacking and programming goes beyond the norm. They clearly communicate a zero tolerance for talking, texting or tweeting on a cell phone during movies with PSA’s such as this one: Alamo Drafthouse, No Talking, No Texting.

This establishment was pointed out to me a couple of years ago by two business associates who had moved to Austin. This week when they blogged again about the Drafthouse I decided to do my own digging. You and I both know more than a handful of companies that publish their values and mission statement to the public and never give them another thought.  I did some research because I wanted to see what an insider might say about this company’s core values. I found a representative named Jessica Thomas and wrote:

“You are known for sticking to your principles so I’d love to see what they are.”

Jessica wrote back the next day with this response:

“Thanks for your inquiry.  I would say that we keep it pretty simple.  Our mission statement is “Ensure every guest has an awesome experience and is excited to come back”.  We are very customer centric and in general we are all empowered to treat our customers the way we would want to be treated and to even take it one step further and go beyond their expectations.  Something else that is central to our brand is our “No Talking, Texting or Tweeting” Policy.  We take it very seriously and want to preserve the experience of watching a movie.  I hope this helps and is what you are looking for.”

It was exactly what I was looking for – evidence that the company has the same intention inside as they are advertising to those of us on the outside. But wait! There’s more. Just this week a poignant scenario of taking a stand for their value had been played out. Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League posted this angry, uncensored voicemail from a woman who texted and got booted: She texted. We kicked her out.

If you follow the responses on their blog you’ll see that when we know what our guns are and we stick with them, things work out in our favor (it probably feels great too).


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