The 9Grid image created by Nuovo stylist Samantha "Avery" Soldi in Sarasota, Florida.
The 9Grid image created by Nuovo stylist Samantha "Avery" Soldi in Sarasota, Florida.

Recently, almost every member of the Nuovo salon group (three salons in the Sarasota, Florida, area with another opening in 2015) attended a Qnity + Aveda training session. The program is set up to make tracking numbers more intuitive to the creative, right-brained stylist.

“It’s a very Apple-esque approach,” says Nuovo co-owner Terry McKee (James Amato is Nuovo’s other co-owner). “It’s very simple, intuitive and creative. It’s numbers for creative people and celebrates small victories.”

Below is SALON TODAY's conversation with McKee about the program, and specifically the 9Grid tool that has helped his staff organize their thoughts, solve problems, plan projects and create anything their imaginations inspire.

SALON TODAY: What makes the Qnity + Aveda program special?

McKee: There are a variety of simple, visually based tools that Qnity uses to facilitate creative business practices.  Everything is visual and geared toward creativity because that’s how we explore things and track numbers. It also gets our team aligned, enrolled and committed—these are the benefits of the entire team understanding business concepts.

While they are contributing ideas, they are co-owning them, too. And it doesn’t stop after the Qnity session is over. We review with them how they’ll be coached and how they’ll use the tools they learned on a weekly and daily basis.

ST: Your team really took to one of those tools—the 9Grid. What made it so special?

McKee: The 9Grid can be used as a mind map, a storyboard or a step-by-step. Imagine our delight when we saw this 9Grid being passed around digitally by our team after someone created a 9Grid on Excel. But you can also just play around with it on paper.

I’ve used 9Grid for photo shoots—we put everything from the model, clothing and location on it, then expand in each block to the end result we want. We’ve also used it for our educational plan. We put everything we wanted to accomplish in our educational program in 2015, and then we went back and made a mind map for every month, then we did a step-by-step for every month. Then we inputted that data for every month. In April we’ll pull all those mind maps out and we’ll go back over May through December to see if there’s anything we want to change or anyone we want to bring back. Maybe Aveda has a launch and we want to do another class on that, etc.

With these 9Grids, you can take any central topic and explore it creatively by throwing ideas out there—nothing is too crazy. Something wacky can eventually lead to something relevant.

ST: You’ve provided an example of a 9Grid created by one of your staff members. What was special about it?

McKee: What’s interesting about this 9Grid is that it was created by our youngest team member, 19-year-old Samantha “Avery” Soldi.  What it told us, in a very rewarding way, was just how potently Avery “got” the Nuovo culture. Her 9Grid wasn’t just about building business, this 9Grid told us that Avery saw the big picture.

We also couldn’t help notice the parallels between the different squares (and the ways they were filled) and the essay categories for the Salon Today 200 competition.  Every year when we answer the essay questions, we notice that not only do we recognize our past accomplishments, we use the questions as springboards for future goals and innovations!

ST. What are some of the details she included?

McKee. The center square is her main topic: Why Nuovo? Moving clockwise from the upper left, Avery included values Nuovo holds dear. The second square included our mission statement and three aspects of the Qnity philosophy (along with a little play on numbers). This also reflected the Salon Today 200 Growth category.

The third square brought in heart, via gratitude for our passion, guests, team and world as a whole. The Aveda mission statement occupied the fourth square, and the fifth square covered philanthropy (a Salon Today 200 category). In square six, Avery recognized the fact that the owners of the company process information in very different (okay, opposite) ways. Yet, their enlightened alignment shows strength and sustainability. We were reminded of the Salon Today 200 categories of Advanced Education and Training and Recruitment here.

Square seven, acknowledging Nuovo as a Salon Today 200 salon was both telling and rewarding. Our entire team knows we’re proud of the contribution all of them make in each of these categories.

And as we come to the final square, we see that Avery really gets that while growth (another category) is important, innovating and evolving creates growth as a natural by-product.

ST: Wow. Sounds like she really got it!

McKee: We were blown away by what this 9Grid said about Avery and the company she chose to align with. The year 2014 was about elevating standards and innovating the systems that support them, while fortifying an already powerful culture. We’re humbly grateful for this demonstration of what it’s really all about.

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