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Want to Improve Your Retention? Do This in the Next 30 Days!

By Christopher Rappold


With 2018 behind us, it’s a good time to take a pause and assess how the year went.

I have always enjoyed taking half a day away from the office and looking at the cumulative results from that particular year. Though I look every day, week and month at how our schools are doing, there is something about looking at the total of 12 months of results that gives a different picture and perspective.


I start with my team. I take a look at their martial arts, fitness, personal and professional development from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.


Did they make the kind of progress that both of us were working toward? Are their goals and the goals of the school intersecting in a way that creates a win-win, long-term relationship? Are there any tweaks that need to be made? What are things we did together that had the most impact, and what are the things that missed the target and need improvement?


Having excellent student retention starts with having a great team, whose motivation and intentions are in line for the responsibilities given and expected.


Next, I take a look at student retention. To get the most accurate picture, I like to break down the numbers by the type of program.


Our organization has six different programs based on age and interest, and each has its own statistics associated with it. I take a look at last year’s numbers and compare them to this year’s numbers. How do they stack up?


I then delve a little deeper. For each program, I take a look to see where the weak spots program may be. For example, how strong is the program’s ability to attract new students? How is its retention, and where are the students falling through the cracks?


After this evaluation is done, I review these numbers with my team. I see what their thoughts are and what they think the solutions to improving the numbers for the upcoming year. I’ve found that while there may be 20 things we could do, it is most effective to focus on five to seven things that will become the focus for the following year.


Finally, I also find it extremely valuable each year to list out and celebrate all the victories that the past year has brought. At times, when we’re looking at a short time period, we fail to see the amazing accomplishments that have accumulated over 12 months.


Each year, at our year-end holiday celebration, I ask the team to create several Top 10 lists. The lists include the top 10 funniest moments, the student breakthroughs and victories, most memorable moments, etc.


When we come together for our team’s holiday dinner, we go around the room and share a few of our highlights. It’s a very emotionally powerful exercise that provides great perspective and creates a nice way of finishing out the year and sending the team off for a well-deserved holiday break.


Magic happens all the time in your martial arts school. By taking the time to polish up everyone’s memories, it keeps the team in touch with the important work they all do.


Thank you all for a great year with the Martial Arts Industry Association. I look forward to making 2019 amazing! Let’s all be successful together!


Chris Rappold can be reached for questions or comments at [email protected]

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