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Training

by Adam Zack — September 22, 2021

Adam

Could you do this job or task if your life depended on it?

I have been having weekly leadership meetings with a Leadership Coach to be a better team leader – (No, you’re never too old to learn). The Coach is a customer and has worked with one of the finest grocery organizations in the country in terms of team culture. Yesterday, the subject of training came up and I realized that the grocery industry, with some exceptions of course, is notoriously horrible at a thorough training program. Especially in today’s market where finding employees is very challenging, the old way of just throwing them in the job and letting them figure it out has become more commonplace. It’s kind of the “any warm body is better than nobody” approach. So when John, the coach, posed the question of asking employees “Could you do this job or task if your life depended on it?” It made me realize that many, if not most, new grocery employees (say in their first 6 months of employment) would probably say no. I mean, those are pretty high stakes – your life or knowing produce codes. Death or knowing how to properly slice prosciutto. The electric chair or telling a customer the proper way to broil salmon. Of course it’s never going to c...

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Farts Are Still Funny

by Adam Zack — September 15, 2021

Keep your target in mind as you craft your message.

It’s been five years since I wrote this blog, but it still makes me laugh. And more than ever, we are all looking for something to make us laugh. And farts have always been and will always be funny.This may or may not be a true story. And it may or may not have happened last Sunday. And I may or may not get killed by my wife for writing it.There’s this couple that have been together for many, many years. Over the years the man has got more comfortable with bodily functions around the woman. Plus, as he gets older he has a little less control. So, on a semi-regular basis nature does its internal combustion work and sounds (and sometimes smells) are emitted. He is frequently reminded that they don’t smell like bon bons and roses or root beer. And most of the time they just occur. And we have no dog to blame it on. Whoops! She has been known to say “I can’t believe you just did that!” and “That sounded like it hurt!” or the standby “You better check your shorts.” The guy usually thinks they are kind of funny. No, really funny. After all, what guy doesn’t think the ...
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Guest Vacation Blog

by Adam Zack — September 8, 2021

Why, then, did you want to tell me this?

Guest Vacation BlogAdam’s on vacation this week, so his life-long friend Scott offered up a guest blog.Hello from Adam’s friend Scott, guest blog filler-inner.I was thinking the other day about how different life is today compared to, say, 30 years ago (yes, I just dated myself and Adam, apparently). Times were different, music was amazing, culture and technology made a sharp turn for the better in many ways and we as a society kept moving forward. Looking at today, I see many opinions, diversified schools of thought and division. We as a group should step back and look at our collective selves and give grace where grace is due (not saying that we were any more giving 30 years ago, this could be said for any generation) but seeking to be a more discerning person I was reminded of a parable I once heard. Unsure of who penned it as I’ve heard it was Socrates, Plato or even a children’s story. Not sure that the author matters but it gives me something to ponder, so here goes.One day, someon...
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Motivating the Fatigue

by Adam Zack — September 1, 2021

Adam

That fatigue you’re feeling as leaders needs to be kept to yourself…

Every single grocery store that I know is looking for employees. In the past, most were always hiring for some positions and always accepting applications, but it’s never been quite like it is today when everyone is hiring for every department in almost every store. I attribute it to Covid Fatigue. We pulled together at the start. We endured uncertainty and took action to avoid being exposed. We provided appreciation (or hazard) pay and bonuses. We got creative to keep our shelves stocked. Management and ownership did their best to absorb the stress and keep the troops motivated and energized. Tears were shed, ulcers induced, and many liters of booze consumed. The unemployed received extra stimulus pay and fell into a new way of life, not needing to work like before, which leads us to where we are today. In an industry that cannot operate on automation, people are the most precious and fought over resource. Fatigued management is desperately searching for ways to continue to keep morale high, prevent turnover and also recruit new employees. But how? That’s the million-dollar question. I don’t have the whole answer, but I can tell you that it...
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Bad Things

by Adam Zack — August 25, 2021

Adam

“Celebrate bad things that happen to you.”

When I was about 11 I got in a motorbike crash. It was summer in Palm Desert, where my brother Mike and I would have to go and spend a month with our dad, who was divorced from our mom. We’d try and think of things to do in the 100+ degree heat while Dad was at work and his wife sat in the house smoking Salem cigarettes, drinking Pepsi and watching her soap operas. My dad had this little Suzuki mini bike motorcycle and we’d go ride it around. No helmets, no padded clothing. Probably just wore flip flops for shoes, too. Our stoner neighbor Jimmy Bender had been doing wheelies on the bike and flipped it over backwards, breaking off the tail light and leaving only twisted metal for a rear fender. So Mike and I are out behind my dad’s house in the big dirt lot and set up a ramp to jump the motorcycle. Sounded like a good idea at the time. On my first jump I went very far and came down hard, holding the handle bars (where the brakes were) as the rest of my body slid off toward the back of the bike. The rear tire took a patch of skin off my right thigh (hair still scarcely grows there, probably a good thing since I have so much hair everywhere else except my head and ankles)...
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WHEN “MY BEST” ISN’T

by Adam Zack — August 18, 2021

Adam

Our customers deserve our best effort and so do our employees.

I was working on a project a couple days ago and finished it with what I considered OK results. Not great. Not awesome. More like so-so. Fair. Acceptable. I thought “Well, I did my best.” And I thought that most of the time when people say that they really didn’t do their best. “I did my best” is more of an excuse than it is a statement of effort. I didn’t do my best. Not even close. My best requires deep thought and concentration. It requires hard work to achieve high standards. It can’t be done with distractions while multi-tasking. My best is something I am proud of and want to show off. I lowered the bar, then claimed it as my best. So what does doing your best really mean, and is it something that should be done in every task? That is surely a lofty goal – giving every single task you do your true best effort. While mundane tasks like washing the car, taking out the trash and shampooing the cat might pass muster without delivering your best, any interactions with your customers and your employees do deserve the best that you can do. Every time. When we complete a project for a customer and can honestly declare that it is the best work...
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Bright Star

by Adam Zack — August 11, 2021

Adam

Real stars are people with impeccable character.

I heard a quote yesterday that went something like “Rare is the star that burns brighter from the one which it fell.” I like it because it really made me think about the legacy that we leave and the responsibility as a successful leader, parent or friend to ensure the success and happiness of those we touch. Stars can be defined in many ways. One is an athlete. Rarely do the children of superstar sports figures surpass their parents. Of course, there are exceptions – Payton and Eli Manning, Ken Griffey Junior, Kobe Bryant – but it’s rare. I think the real stars are people with impeccable character. High moral standards. A strong work ethic. Devotion to family and friends. Humility and humor. Unselfish caring towards others. Those types of stars that burn so brightly have the ability to influence how bright the stars that fall from them are. And when the stars that emanate from you shine brightly and are plentiful, you shine that much brighter with pride.

Read More – You Hold The Trump Card

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Character

by Adam Zack — August 4, 2021

Adam

I think character is the key factor to success.

Character: The particular combination of qualities in a person or place that makes them different from others.“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  —Malcolm S. ForbesYour character is something you have complete control over. It defines who you are and how you are looked upon by others. I think character is the key factor in success and happiness. It’s the combination of integrity, honesty and appreciation for what you have and the opportunities you have been given. High character doesn’t take things for granted and doesn’t pine for things it doesn’t need. Strong character seldom uses the phrases Should’ve, Could’ve and Would’ve. The next time you’re questioning someone’s character, observe how they treat the people they’re allowed to mistreat. You might be thinking “Wait, I’m allowed to mistreat someone? Mistreating anyone is just wrong!” But that’s not realism. Interactions with the busboy, the hotel maid, the barista at Starbucks or the courtesy clerk at your local market don’t aut...
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The Path Of Least Resistance

by Adam Zack — July 29, 2021

Achievement takes work, and work, well, is work.

Man, my objective in life is to get where I want to go the quickest and easiest way possible. You get to the goal line and say “Man, that was easy! I planned it perfectly. The path of least resistance was so simple to navigate.” Yeah, like that ever happens. In fact, when you do achieve an objective with relative ease, the thought is more like “Damn, I was lucky.” The path of least resistance (POLR) goes with the flow, cuts corners and requires the minimum amount of effort. Many solid “C” report cards, 2nd-to-last place teams and also-rans took that path. Woulda-Shoulda, What-If and Almost are famous stops along Route POLR. The natural tendency for anyone is the POLR. Not that it’s always the lazy way to go. Crossing the street, riding the train and tying your shoes all benefit from taking the easy route, but the substantial goals in our lives – Olympic gold medals, winning competitions, inventing things and changing the world never seem to follow the POLR. The real road to success is littered with I Trieds, Maybe Next Times and It Was Too Hards. Achievement takes work, and work, well, is work. How many times have I said to myself (and others who have been arou...
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Obsession

by Adam Zack — July 20, 2021

No one has just one obsession.

What’s your obsession? I was asked that question by a young friend Stephen this weekend as we were sitting with our families at the beach in Carlsbad. I was momentarily speechless. Was it a trick question? Was he asking in front of my wife to get a salacious answer? I’ve been asked “What’s your problem?” before. Many times, but that’s a long list. The question has so many potential angles. Obsession can be bad like addiction or good like attention to detail. It can be broad like a life goal of serving others or a gambling addiction. I didn’t really know how to answer and was processing the question when my wife answered, “Pool.” We got a pool table a few months ago and now we shoot a few games a night after work before dinner. We’re terrible, but it’s fun, it doesn’t matter who wins, and we are not quite as bad as when we got the table. It was a good answer. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and to be successful and have longevity in the grocery business we have to have an obsession with our stores. Whatever your business model – low price, prepa...
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