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Team Building

Why Gadabout Selects a Word of the Year

Stacey Soble | October 26, 2016 | 2:32 PM
Frank and Jana Westerbeke, co-presidents of Gadabout SalonSpas in Tucson, will share their Word of the Year idea at Serious Business 2017 in New Orleans in January.

Like many of today’s leading salons, Gadabout SalonSpas with seven locations in Tucson, Arizona, leverages its mission statement and values as a compass to determine important decisions, from what new services to add to the menu to deciding if a job candidate is the right fit for company. 

The mission—“Gadabout commits excellence to you, our clients and our community”—is so important to their culture, Jana Westerbeke, who serves as Gadabout’s co-president along with her husband Frank, says most new hires have it memorized within their first few weeks. And, the values—Professionalism, Education and Community—aren’t far behind.

“Everything we do to unify our salon communications and business practices starts with our mission and vision, but for the past 10 years we’ve taken that a step further by deciding on a word together each year that we will focus on,” Jana says.

For 2016, the word is Unity, so the Westerbekes and their 300 employees have been examining all the ways they create unity within the salon and within their community. “It becomes the word to live up to,” Frank says.

Over the past years, the Gadabout family has united around several theme words, including Celebrate, Gratitude, Embrace, Possibilities, Inspire, Encourage, Kindness and Intention. The word selection process starts with the leadership team, which is made up of the department heads, general managers and directors of education for each location, as well as representatives from the resource center, marketing, and operations. The team brainstorms words then goes back to each of the locations where they are voted on.

The word selection can really drive the salon as a group. “For example, when our word was Kindness, we worked with the Ben’s Bells Project, a movement that inspires, educates and motivates people to understand the impact of intentional kindness,” Frank explains. “Everyone in the salon got behind it, we were putting kindness stickers on everyone’s cars and our culture grew enormously. Jana was even the recipient of the philanthropy’s awards that year.”

With the word Unity behind them, the team is taking on Tucson Fashion Week, with 20-plus stylists pledging three days to work on models for the event. “Whatever word we choose, we try to make it have impact and not only with the Gadabout community, but our community at large,” Jana says. “We try to figure out how that word can influence each guest experience, it becomes part of our marketing and it becomes a part of our collective focus.”

That core purpose is very attractive to today’s fresh talent, who aren’t just looking for a good salary, but a company to grow with and a unified cause in which they can take pride. It works for Gadabout, where more than a third of the employees have been with the company for a decade or longer.

“The words are branches that grow off of our Gadabout tree. And we don’t abandon them once we’ve selected a new word,” Jana says. “Instead they become a part of our foundation – they grow new roots and continue to add to our strength.” 

Frank and Jana Westerbeke will share their experience with developing solid salon communication systems at Serious Business 2017. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit seriousbusiness.net.

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