Lessons in Retail | Your Culture: Is not a club.

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to be part of a corporate morning retail cheer you havent experienced life and definately have NOT been missing anything. It’s amazing to watch one in action. It’s like a mother ape waving her arms in the air and running around trying to get her kids to follow her. Guess what….No one cares and they would rather be cleaning the toilets after a group of 43 drunk teens who ate a greasy spoon supper than be caught dead doing this. This cheer is usually considered the foundation and starting where every other defintion of Retail Culture sprouts from.

“We are one, We are Monkeys, please kill me now. ooooooops wait someone is looking towards me , better start moving my lips and waving my are like I just dont care to show that I am a Team Player.”

To most companies the morning cheer is part of their defintion of a company culture. I have heard every possible high five head nodding statement of what defines a companies culture.
A company culture are the tablets that moses raises over his team of Isrealites and should be considered the mantra that makes us who we are. But unfortunately these tablets have transformed themselves into a poster hanging in the lunchroom that is grease stained, spelling mistake ridden and using a Comic Sans Serif font 😉 made on a TRS80 using a daisy wheel printer.

Here are a few of the culture statements I have had the forunate chance to shake my head at:

We are world class. Huh?…who defines world class, what watermark are we using to be considered world class especially when sales are tanking, the stores look like crap and employee retention is at an all time low.

Integrity is our foundation of success. Another great one especially when there are whisperings of “activities and shadows” going on at all levels with no reprecussions, discussions, or exposure to the truth. If INTEGRITY = TRUTH, why do Store and District Managers go into a panic and stress out their teams when there is an impending Store Visit from the President of the company…..Wow the President of the company, cant wait to get his autograph and tell him or her everything is hunky dorey, inventory levels are fantastic, and who needs more hours…I sure dont’. They must think I am a god and having everything under control….oh ya forgot that I got a verbal counselling the week before from my DIstrict Manager for losing control.

Integrity = transparency, transparency = throwing the doors wide open and showing the picture as it is and NOT an edited version. This panic usually reflects into high stress levels, customer service dropping due to the focus on cleaning the store for the visit and not for customer or themselves, overtime that is sometimes paid or promises of time owed which is never paid.
STOP THE MADNESS. SHOW THE REALITY…As much it may hurt, it is the truth and not a manipulated misrepresentation which equals fraud and a lack of integrity. Breathe.

Have fun while being the best. Now thats a classic and heard throughout retail from the Mom and Pop shop to the Jungles of Southeast Asia Mango Juice 20,000 sq ft store. Hmmm…have fun while being the best. Please define best, because when we do have fun we are usually distracted, monkeying around and overall effieciencies drop.

Our open door policy is for you. Talk to us. Yup, please feel free to talk to us with no reprecussion…because when you are telling us about the harrasment, or internal theft you have seen or experienced, I will be answering emails, or thinking about the tomorrows visit. Hey, if I didnt pay attention I havent heard anything and therefore not responsible.
One Regional Manager I worked with self defined – Open Door – as keeping the office door open at all times even though it was in the middle of the sales floor, or a Manager was in process of disciplining someone. What?!? True story, cant make that up.
Open door policy = you have my full attention. Phone is taken off the hook, computer is turned off, intercom is off and the shades of the windows are pulled down……and you guessed it, close the damn door.

So, what should a Company Culture be? I cannot define that or will not define it because it is an ever evolving, organic statement. Should there be foundation statement as to what your companies beliefs are? Damn sure, but they should be based on your employees thoughts, concerns, cultural background and favorite sushi type.
Think of it as a house.

The foundation has four concrete and solid walls which hold up the house. If these walls should ever crack the House may fall.
Foundation = a well defined set of 4 beliefs that are non negotiable through any storm. No matter what, these are not sacrificed due to meetings, market conditions, store visits, or the McRib returning at your local McDonalds. These can be set by the big boys but input from your teams from the Store Manager to the Janitor will go a long way. Examples of CORE culture statements:

1. OUR TEAMS COME FIRST. Customer service starts with the Employee as they are OUR #1 Customer. If we would bend rules to please an external customer than the internal customer should have the same respect. BUT what about the operating procedures that says we are not allowed to do so. If the action you are going to take to offer your utmost respect to the Employee gets you fired, you are in the wrong company. If it involves theft, fraud, manipulation of assets….forget about it…otherwise go for it.
Another form of treating your teams with respect is to ensure that their work schedules are out a minimum of 2 weeks in advance. REPSECT says Ali G.

2. RECOGNITION. Praise goes a long way and travels a million miles by word of mouth. Praise doesnt always have to be work related. It can be simple as asking how their family is, mentioning you like their new shoes, and then if they did something impressive work related, let them know, let their Manager know, let their team know, publish it in your local newspaper, call TMZ. Kapish? REPSECT says Ali G.

3.OPEN DOOR POLICY. This at times can be a very sensitive issue and may need you to partner up with other resources. When you meet with a Team Member about an issue they are trusting you with their utmost confidence please ensure you are: Taking notes, not distracted and turn off the your phone, computer, intercom, and the office lights….DONT DO THAT as the next open door policy may be about you. The open door policy shows your Team that you care about them personally. REPSECT says Ali G.

4. HEALTH AND SAFETY. Simple. Your teams deserve to come to work with all their body parts and leave with the same number of them at the end of the day. REPSECT says Ali G.

Now that a foundation is built, it is up to your Teams to decide as to how they want the rest of walls and roof to be built. Sounds cheesy, but it works. Don’t forget to INSTALL the WINDOWS as this represents YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE TRANSPARENCY AND THE LIGHT TO ALLOW THE GROWTH OF THE CULTURE.

Months after the house is built, hold an open house, open the doors and windows and let your Teams in to discusse any opportunities that they have experienced, would like to change, or develop.

At the end of it all, CULTURE is not only something you find in Yogurt but you may need it to take care of those developing ulcers.

#Thatisall #Retail #Manager #Manager #Coach #Employee #Behaviour #Motivation

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