Getting to Yes

Well, most of the time.

If you have been to Camp Getaway as a camper, you will find that our crew will bend over backwards to make your experience incredible. The entire team is trained in our core philosophy of “Getting to Yes”. This is what we call GRAND Camper Service (Guests Request Are Never Denied). To be completely transparent, I borrowed that idea from Disney.

All 150 of our full-time team, and all 50 of our Weekend Crew (Social Coordinators), are empowered to get to yes. Getting to yes is not just agreeing to all requests, yes that would be easy. Getting to yes, is a process, and sometimes, when the process is absolutely exhausted, we need to say no.

When a camper asks for something, no matter how normal or abnormal, we have trained our team to ask themselves four questions in a very specific order. If all four answers are positive, the staff member is empowered to honor that request. If the outcome of any of the answers is negative, then our staff are instructed to speak with a director and see what can be done to turn it into a positive, if it is not possible to turn the answer into a positive, the request of the camper is denied.

The 4 questions are:

  1. How does the request affect the safety of the campers and the crew? If the answer is SAFE, move on to the next question. If the answer is not safe… STOP and speak to a Director
  2. How does the request affect the experience of the campers and crew? If the answer is POSITIVE move on to the next question. If the answer is negative…. STOP and speak to a Director
  3. How does the request affect Camp Getaway’s reputation? If the answer is POSITIVE move on to the next question. If the answer is Negative STOP and speak to a Director.
  4. How does this request fiscally affect Camp Getaway? If the answer is POSITIVE, the request should be possible. If the answer is negative STOP and speak to a Director.

Let me give you an example of “Getting to Yes”. On this past episode of Camp Getaway, a bunch of campers requested to go swimming in the lake at night. Nile should have known better. Additionally, Monica should of used this as a teachable moment for Nile, instead of putting on her “blinders”. If Nile would have followed my set of questions, he would have stopped immediately at the first question. It is just not safe to have a bunch of inebriated campers jump into the lake without lifeguards on duty. If he had spoken with Claire, myself, or one of my other directors. We would have all tried to figure out how to turn the first question into a positive. In this case, examples would have been:

  1. Can we get lifeguards at the lake?
  2. Do we need to light the lake?
  3. We need to know exactly how many people are going into the lake (to make sure the same number get out)
  4. Do we have lifejackets available?
  5. If all our guests see this, will everyone want to go swimming?

Frankly, our answer would have been no. No matter how many safety precautions we would have put into place. It is not worth the risks to have campers swimming at night, after drinking.

Now, imagine if Nile, went through all of this to try to get to yes, he asked himself these four questions, came up with a negative answer, checked with Claire to see if there was a way to do it safely, she would of gone through her mental checklist (although based on past experience, it would have been a quick NO), and then Nile, could have explained to Jordan and her friends that he tried hard, but we cannot think of a safe way to allow it.

Getting to yes is a challenging thought process my team does a thousand times a day. We work hard at it. Though sometimes, we just need to say no.


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