Every person working in your store wants to be involved; this makes associates feel important and part of the operation. Your goal is to make associates feel like they own the place; to do that you need to set goals with the help and input of your team.
It's impossible to dictate goals. If you've ever worked in a place where goals were handed down from the top, then you already know that. Were you really committed to making those goals a reality? Of course not, but when you make associates an active part of goal setting, they'll better understand the direction you want to move in, and why it's important to the growth of the store. And they'll understand how critical their role is.
Bob Blazier, former President of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce in
. Before that he was a vice president at a large medial facility, and he was once even Georganne's junior high school principal. Now he's a good friend. Bob is famous for his "Fatherly Advice", like "Walking and Talking at ." Crystal Lake, Illinois
When every other "suit" was in bed asleep, Bob could be found wheeling a cart loaded with cookies and apples through the halls of the hospital, talking and laughing with associates about their lives and their jobs, while asking for input on how to make their jobs, and the hospital, better.
The staff at the hospital trusted Bob because of his willingness to walk in their shoes. They rewarded him by being open with their questions, concerns and ideas. Bob's "Walking and Talking at " showed them that they mattered, and even though he left that job years ago, people still talk about how they looked forward to his visits.
Okay, so what's the point? We know that if you walked around your store at 2:00 AM, you'd have no one to talk to but the fixtures, but why can't you "Walk and Talk" at 2:00 in the afternoon or 8:00 at night? OR why couldn't you hold a Brainstorming session?
Brainstorming works like this: get all of your associates together and ask "What would you do if you owned this joint?" Write down everything that they say on a flip chart. You can't criticize anything and neither can they, because sometimes the simplest idea casts the seeds of brilliance.
You can even take your brainstorming a step further and create a Team of Outlaws; a voluntary group of associates charged with asking the other associates questions like:
"How can we do _____________ better?"
"What tools are needed to do that?"What do you need to do your job better?"
"What are customers saying?"
"Tell us your victory stories."
"Tell us a disaster story and how you fixed it."
"If we could change one thing about the store, what would it be?”
The Outlaw's responsibilities include coming up with solutions to the problems and opportunities that they uncover. You can post their findings on the lunchroom bulletin board and discuss their progress at each store meeting.
Get your people involved with the day-to-day operations of your store. You'll see a big change in how they act and more smiles per square foot. You'll see your turnover rate drop, and you'll see happy customers having fun in your store, smiling as they leave, already looking forward to their next visit.
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