Posts Tagged ‘shop’



This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage. 

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations.  The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time.  I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented.  As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker. 

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story.  It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers. 

My First Small Business 

I opened a small personal services business.  It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop.  It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me. 

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily.  We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up.  There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay.  I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door. 

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little.  Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual.  The people were not as upbeat as they had been.  When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job.  I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment. 

Want to know what was really going on?  My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors: 

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means  

The Damages 

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem.  The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back. 

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager.  There were only two problems:

  • I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  • There was collateral damage.  I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager. 

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager.  An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.   

This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

Conducting business is by nature interdependent

Conducting business is by nature interdependent. It is the result of multiple interactions between multiple stakeholders every day. A stakeholder is a person or a group with a vested interest in the success of your organization and your products and services—people who can affect or are affected by the actions of your business.

Stakeholders come in many shapes and sizes. They can be found inside and outside your company. They are your employees, your customers, your vendors, your partners, your advisors, your lenders, the government, the local community, even your competitors.

Few companies have leveraged the influence of stakeholders like Starbucks, which turned a passion for coffee and taking care of stakeholders into a runaway success. Howard Schultz, the CEO who transformed the company from a small chain of coffee shops to a worldwide phenomenon, states, “If people relate to the company they work for, if they form an emotional tie to it and buy into its dreams, they will pour their hearts into making it better.”

When stakeholder relationships are strong, you have employees who work better together, customers who buy more products, strong supply chains, collaborative relationships, and seemingly infinite opportunity. Taking care of your stakeholders is good business.

This concept is embodied in a Japanese concept, Kyosei, embraced by Canon Corporation as its corporate philosophy. Kyosei is a way of living and working together harmoniously, enabling continuing growth and mutual prosperity to coexist with healthy and fair competition.

The stakeholder group that instantly comes to mind is your employees. Of all groups, they probably have the biggest stake in your business. Your employees count on you for their jobs, their income, working conditions, and their livelihood. If your business fails, employees are among the first to feel the pain.

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to all of your stakeholders, but especially to your employees. This means providing jobs, good working conditions, fair compensation, honesty in communications, access to information and tools, freedom from discrimination, and protection against unnecessary injury or illness.

Your employees are more than a group of stakeholders—they are the lifeblood of your enterprise. Spend the money it takes to hire talented individuals. Share the vision and goals of your company with them. Invest in your human capital and build teams that encourage cooperation and open communication so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.

And remember what Mary Kay Ash, pioneer of the Mary Kay Cosmetics, states, “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”

As an executive coach, much of the work i do is helping executives and business owners bring clarity about the possibilities for their organization and themselves

As an executive coach, much of the work I do is helping executives and business owners bring clarity about the possibilities for their organization and themselves.  So often when we start working together the executive’s goals are vague and ambiguous. Without clear goals, the executive may have a roadmap but no precise destination and accompanying directions to get to their goals.

Making Goals Powerful

You may have heard the story about the study concerning the goals of some Harvard Business School graduates. The story basically supports the contention that written goals are more likely to be achieved than those that aren’t written down. However, this study never took place.  Instead a Dominican University study provides evidence that when accountability, public commitment, and written goals are implemented together they enhance the rate of goal achievement.

%???lements extends its ‘Value’ offering in Simply Cashback launch” href=”/shopping-articles/simpl them to people important to them.  These people can then act as an accountability mechanism for tracking the person’s progress. Goal Development Your goals should be written down as a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals.

· Be Specific – A goal that is described in specific terms has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a goal described in general terms.

Make it Measurable – Developing specific criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each goal will help you to measure your progress, and stay on track to meet your target dates.

· It should be Attainable – When you identify your goals, you will begin to figure out and visualize how to accomplish them.  You will develop not only the energy level for attaining your goals, but also new and existing attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach your goals.

· Make it Realistic – In order for a goal to be realistic, you must be both willing and able to work towards the goal.  Be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.  Your goal is almost certainly realistic if you truly believe that your goal can be accomplished.

· Create Time Sensitivity – Goals should be grounded within a specific and clear time frame in order to create a sense of urgency in accomplishing the goal.Beauty Goal Success

Now that you have your specific goals written down, who will you share these goals with?  I recommend choosing more than one person and that the people you select be individuals who will be supportive as well as keep you accountable to your goals.

Keep your goals visible.  Reviewing your goals frequently will help you release the energy, creativity and the drive to attain them. Tracking your goals provides you with a sense of accomplishment when you meet your goals.

Create a habit of asking yourself daily, “are the decisions I am making getting me closer or further from my goals?” The more your remind yourself of your ultimate goals, and make the choice to move in the direction of attaining your goals, the more likely you will be successful.

And finally, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! Creating and attaining goals takes a lot of discipline and hard work.  Therefore, how do you plan to celebrate your accomplishments once you have crossed the finish line?

There is a well known philosophy that has been adopted, translated and passed through many countries and corporations known as the fish philosophy

There is a well known philosophy that has been adopted, translated and passed through many countries and corporations known as the Fish Philosophy. It was conceived one happy day when on a visit to Seattle, a man by the name of John Christensen observed how positive and enthusiastic the employees of a run down fish market were. Here the fishmongers spent stinky, grueling 12 hour shifts stocking, packing and selling fish, in an environment that would have made even the most tolerant of us squirm.

Yet in an unlikely manner, these workers carried out orders by flinging fish to each other and to the customers – which kept the employees on their toes and the customers entertained. The fishmongers gave their full attention to each customer and made sure that they were involved and walked away from the shop feeling positive about the experience. Christensen, as a new witness to this unique workplace, realised that not only were the workers making their own day fly by, but they were also selling a great deal of fish!!

It is a very simple idea, yet one that is not always realised by workplaces today. Clouded by stress and deadlines we can all to often forget that remarkable results can occur when workers accept the invitation to: 1) Be there for their coworkers and customers; 2) Combine Work with an equal level of Play 3) Make the effort to make someone’s day, and; 4) Choose an attitude about how they will show up for work., and stick by it. It’s not as slippery and slimy as it sounds and in fact, when you think about it, though your work place may more closely resemble an office decked out with new carpet, air-conditioning and all of the latest technology, it is really not to far off from the working environment of the spirited folk at Pikes Place Fish Market.

Understandably, before employees can dive head first into this pool of fishy job satisfaction they need to get to know each other on a level that extends beyond email and phone calls. Workers need to grow and bond as a team before they can experience true enjoyment and efficiency in the workplace. If each of the workers at Pike’s Place were not in tune with each other, there would be a very smelly disaster – fish all over the place!

Corporate Team Building days are the best way to bridge the gaps and give your employees a greater sense of team spirit in their working environment. Activities like Scavenger Hunts, Nature Walks and Survival Training offer the chance for employees to interact and work together on an intellectual level that encourages team building. Or you may wish to lead your company down a more active path where they can bond over a rush of adrenalin while they tackle White Water rapids, Fast Bikes or the High Seas. There are loads of options to suit each individual workplace and its unique dynamics. Companies like are there to organise your day for you and ensure that the energy of planning a perfect event can be better spent getting productive in the workplace.
If anything, a corporate team building day may be just the thing to show your company and its employees that having an accepting attitude and open mind really will make the days more fruitful and the stench much easier to bear. Just ask the fishmongers.

Recent Posts