Last week I wrote that it's not usually the evolution of a business that causes an owner or manager to be stressed or overwhelmed, it's the lack of evolution in the way a person approaches his/her job.
There are four things that can help a person be a more productive and happier leader. I covered the first three last week.
1. Accept that your work will rarely be done.
2. Time management is neither the problem nor the solution.
3. Delegating more isn't enough.
Now the fourth.
4. Take your work and leadership to a new level. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed is a sign that it's time to make changes. Changes you've actually made before.
Owners start out doing everything in their store, but as the business grows they make changes. They bring on more people. They adjust how they work. They're even more successful, but they've stopped evolving while the business continues on. Stress sets in.
Store managers go through the same type of experience, but their new levels have come from being promoted into the next management position. Without a new position, many managers stop evolving. Time to move to a new level.
The new level is dictated by what you need to achieve, not the tasks and jobs you do. Here's a five-step approach I’ve used with clients that will help you identify the areas you need to work on.
1. Identify the outcomes and results you as a leader must drive to be successful in the future. Take some sticky notes and write down on each one a desired result or outcome you must make happen.
It could it could be increasing sales 7%.
Improve ADS by 10%
Increase transactions by 15%
Expand a line.
Getting full staffed for the holidays.
Bring in a new line.
Increase Facebook followers by 200%.
Improve email capture rate to 85%
Decrease the number of days to have inventory input into point of sales by one day.
Write until you have nothing left. Don't worry - we're going to scale it down.
2. Next, group similar outcomes and results together. Take a step back and look at which outcomes and results relate to each other. For instance, increasing email capture rate, Facebook followers, and transaction rates might all go together.
Now you need to name the group. Names like:
Achieve all sales targets.
Create incremental visits by current customers
Improve merchandising selection and presentation
Increase teamwork and overall staff morale
Try to keep it to no more than four or five groups.
3. Identify three to five actions you must take to achieve these items. If possible, attach dates to each action. As an example, under "achieve all sales targets" you might identify the following:
1. Teach a class on how to increase ADS by $7 by March 15th.
2. Launch a buddy program for top producing employees to help other employees be more productive.
3. Do at least two contests or games each week.
4. Launch a five-minute product of the day training, with roleplaying, to increase product knowledge.
5. Spend at least 45-minutes a day on the floor coaching and developing sales skills.
These are your priorities, what you need to make sure happens. It doesn't mean you're doing every task associated with them, but as leader you're responsible for delivering on these actions.
4. Identify what's keeping you from your priorities. This is essential. These are the real issues that cause you to be stressed. The best way to approach this is to keep a daily work journal. It's pretty simple. At the end of the day rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10, on how well you did on your priorities. Be happy any time you give yourself a 7 or higher. It is retail; we're always going to be pulled away from one task to deal with something else. However, anything lower than a 7 is problem.
When you score below a 7, identify two to three causes. Do this for a week or two and you'll easily see the barriers to your success. It could be that you're spending too much time on paperwork, or working on outside projects. You might be spending hours on a newsletter. Sometimes the cause can be something as simple as not carving out time in your office. Whatever it is, you need to change it.
5. Remove the barriers to success. Now you just need to determine how to change or remove those barriers. Some people jump to this step, but if you don't identify and attack the root causes, you can't make a lasting change.
Removing your barriers could mean hiring another employee. Yes, that costs money. But not achieving your priorities is costing you more. If you don't control staffing, ask others on your team to start taking on more responsibilities. This isn't delegating, this is changing roles and responsibilities.
It's usually our own behaviors and actions we need to change. Maybe we need to better use our time, or not be involved with every single detail of what's happening on the floor.
I guarantee that whatever it is, you control the changes you need to make. I'm positive of that. You just have to understand exactly what has to happen, and change whatever is keeping you from working at that new level.
So let me ask, are you ready to work at an even higher level?
A few updates:
* My next Extraordinary Coaching group starts March 4th. Reserve your spot now for my popular Four Weeks to Becoming an Extraordinary Coach and Developing a Winning Team. This program is perfect for owners, managers, and multi-unit managers who want to lead their team to higher sales and profits. More details here.
* I have a number of new speaking programs for 2014. Please take a look to see how these or even a custom program can help your next meeting an extraordinary experience.
Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results.