Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
Amber Riddle: It all starts with the vision and direction of our CEO Rochette Dahler. Once we have that in place, it really just becomes getting the right people in the right places. This is an area that I feel like we really excel at.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Riddle: The two I am the most proud of are the fact that we are able to reach so many new families. We get to play a role in and enhance some of the most special years that a family will experience. Secondly, we get to not only create new jobs for some of the most amazing educators across the nation, but we also get to train and develop more leaders and set them up for internal growth and promotion within the organization.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Riddle: I think there is, but I believe that it is relative to the organization and the team. For us, we are very intentional and transparent about our growth and our strategy along the way. We prepare our team so that we make any adjustments we feel are needed as to not feel the impacts of fast. For instance, making the choice to hire critical team members before they are necessarily needed to ensure the team is prepared for growth on the front end.
SBJ: What are the top challenges facing the business?
Riddle: We aren’t currently experiencing many challenges or at least we don’t necessarily view them as so. We are problem solvers. We work hard to serve our families and employees in a way that is reflective of who we are as an organization and when we experience things that challenge that, we find another solution and move forward – many times in a better direction than we were initially heading.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Riddle: It is. This is the third year we’ve been on this [Dynamic Dozen] list, and I don’t think it will be the last. We take proactive steps to prepare our business and our people for the change. We have been sustaining at this rate for some time now and, honestly, we just keep getting better at it.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Riddle: It’s hard to tell at this point. With the right team and intentions in place, I honestly am not sure there is one.
SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Riddle: “Don’t be friends with your employees.” This is fundamentally against the culture that we have created and promote. While it is important to have boundaries and be comfortable having difficult conversations, we believe in genuinely caring about and cultivating relationships with our employees at all levels. I truly believe it is one of the things that sets us apart from other organizations in the best way.
SBJ: And the best business advice?
Riddle: Make a plan, but don’t stick to it. It is important to plan and be prepared, but we always need to be flexible enough to evolve where needed to get the desired outcome.
Art Zone LLC, Launch Virtual Learning Center and The Permit Shop relocated.