I have been watching the downfall of many great fast food and retail companies because they forgot to mention the only thing that matters in business to the employees (all of the employees). Even internet companies are starting to tick me off with their lack of laser focus on this one thing that will mean the end of the business. How is this possible??

Many of my reads have been in business for a long time and have been very, very successful. So, it hurts me to watch them drop the ball on training, reminding, and making SPEED OF SERVICE the number one thing everyone is talking about. When you think of what customers want in an experience, speed of service is one of the top two or three items on the list.

Must you have great products? Yes.

Is a clean, inviting environment to sell in required? Yes.

So, why don’t you also have fast, pleasant service? Customers don’t want to spend all day in your store. Even Starbucks gets the fact that customers may lounge in the chairs but when a customer asks for coffee, they move fast. Customers want what they want and want to leave once they get it. (My English teacher would kill me for that last sentence…oh well, I’m moving to fast to care)

Make the first thing you talk about every day speed of service. Even if you are the only employee. Speed of service can handle a lot of problems.

Speaking of problems, let’s talk about planning. Being prepared for the day’s sales is one thing. Being prepared for the bad things that happen every day is another. If you aren’t talking with managers on how to remove problems, then you are the problem. Start with a list of what has gone wrong this year at the store level. Make it a good long list. Write everything that didn’t help sell another widget or whatever it is you sell. Now, start planning on how to remove the problems. Speed bump removal is an art form.

I bet you fired a dynamic staff that can tell you how they removed problems from the sales floor nicely and with customers still smiling. Ask them what worked. You will be surprised at the answers. Remember to listen, not judge. Many of the answers will be wrong but in the heat of the moment, and without you giving them directions, they did what they needed to keep the sales moving.

I will write another article on how to remove SOS Bumps. Right now, I need to get working!

Enjoy your day and drop me a line on what is working to keep thing moving for you.

Do You Speak Employeese?

We talk with employees every day. We need them to complete tasks for their job and they need to tell us about the job they do. Seems simple enough, but why is it that there are still employees that we cannot get through to and have one team all working in the same direction? Maybe it is because you are not speaking the same language.

 It is not the phrasing or the words, but rather the lens they see your business through BEFORE you start talking that trips up a good conversation. Before you start a conversation with your employees, you need to understand what biases your employees bring to the table and how they are going to see what you have to say through that point of view. You are, after all, living in two different worlds and may never meet in the middle.

 You think about your business like a prize fighter does a big fight. You plan and train for the day and know that everything you do brings you closer to your goals. From the paperwork, the inventory you account for, and even the taxes you pay – both financially and physically, you are your work. It is something more than pride that keeps you going and you expect the best from everyone you meet. It is the lens that you see your business and your life through. Often you cannot see a reason not to work as hard as you do or why anyone would live any differently.

 Your employees, on the other hand, think about when they need to work and when they get to clock out. Their lens shows them how much money they bring in to the company (your company) and how much of that they get to keep. They see things in black and white. Black is the money that is coming in and white is the amount they get to keep after working hard all day long. They see other workers and calculate that you are rich off their hard work and they just get a small cut. They work – you get paid. They see when you drive up that you are in a nice car and that you have nice clothes. They know you take good care of your family and that, as your own boss, you have the time to spend with your family. They work and do not have as much to go home to. Their lens, to them, is clear since they see things this way every day.

 Recently, I was speaking with an owner of a successful company and he stated he could not get his employees to get extra training and was adamant that they would call in sick, just not show, or have one of a hundred excuses to keep them from showing up. My knee-jerk response was, “You pay them don’t you? Just tell them it is mandatory.” This advice was poorly given and received.

 What I should have done is find out more about the employees and why they did not want to show up. Once I asked the right question, I found out that they wasted their time in a training class in years past and did not want to repeat this. Simple. To them, they wanted to know more about the training before committing to the time required to go. Once we wrote an agenda and had a conversation about how it would help them, they all agreed to show up.

 What else do you want your employees to do that they approach halfheartedly or not at all? The job never end, it just takes on new challenges.

 Find the lens that they see things through by asking questions and removing your own biases and you will get the job done. Follow a few standard questions to help you see things more clearly.

  1. Is there resistance because of time, money, or education/ training issues?

  2. Is there prior experiences that keep them from committing?

  3. Does the message need to come from someone else?

  4. Have you had success discussing this issue before? What is different now?

Stop before you talk and think things through by looking at it as an employee would. Talk with them…not at them. You will find that they return the favor and explain things in terms you will understand too.

Bob Griffin

CEO – Business Bulldog

Business Bulldog