So I was talking with my wife about someone she knew who was less than enchanted with her job and the salary she makes. The person has been at her job for many years, still made minimum wage, and felt pretty much taken for granted by her employer. (She is not in the grocery business, we do better than that.) While she lamented her position and where she is in her career, she really didn’t have a path that she could see that would provide a more meaningful and fulfilling career. She asked my wife just how she could do something different? How can she find another opportunity? It struck me that opportunities don’t regularly present themselves with a “Ta Da! Here I am!” They don’t knock loud. Usually they don’t knock at all. Opportunities for advancement and success – in anything – from a new marketing campaign to a job promotion – have to be sought out. The trees have to be shaken. Standing still and waiting will be endless. Carpe diem.
Hello,Guest blog writer for this week here. My name is Scott Lawhon and Adam needed some help with this week’s blog since he’ll be away in Oklahoma visiting family. Some of you may know me as Adam’s oldest friend of 51 years or the guy needing the liver transplant, so, apparently, he thinks I have too much time on my hands. He’s right but don’t tell him that, he still believes he’s smarter than I am. Probably believes in Santa, too.This week’s subject is about employee motivation and what to look for in each individual’s so-called “job language”. Like a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, a person’s “love language” is key in recognizing what our partner is motivated by therefore keeping the relationship happy and healthy. In the workplace, each employee may have a very different and separate job language from the others. One might be there just for the paycheck while another is there to feel part of a family while a third is there because they seek recognition. As a manager, you need to find each member of your staff’s job language and work at staying aware of why he or she gets up in the morning, puts on their uniform or apron, while making sure to leave the drama and outside issues at the door. Their goal is to make sure the customer is happy, store well stocked as well as continuing to be pleasant and helpful. We cannot always control the motivation behind each individual language, nor can we always succumb to that individual’s wants and d...read more
Man, I hate going to the dentist. I bet about 80% feel the same. It’s like a tortuous combination of waterboarding, construction tools and pure discomfort. The minutes seem to take five times as long as a normal minute and every time you feel the end is near, the dentist says “almost done. This will take three more minutes.” Yet I go to the dentist cleaning every six months for cleaning because 30 minutes of torture by choice as maintenance is much better than hours of heavy construction due to lack of maintenance. It’s like changing my car’s oil. Do it regularly, or I’m going to pay later. Not to mention dirty teeth and bad breath are just gross. Sometimes routine maintenance results in the discovery of needed repairs. Like a cracked tooth that needs a crown or fillings that must be replaced. So how does this boring tale of dentistry relate at all to our grocery business? I knew you’d ask that. I liken it to how we take care of our stores. We have to maintain them so that they look and smell great every day, and over time, they need major repairs and remodels. And those remodels are both painful and expensive. Like oral surgery, the whole team has to be in on the plan to achieve success. ...read more
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren BuffettI was talking to a very good friend a couple months ago about a project that we had done that resulted in positive sales, employee involvement and customer satisfaction. It was something I was proud of and told her enthusiastically “You gotta love it when a plan comes together!” She said, “Yeah, but first you have to have a plan.” It’s an obvious answer that is easily overlooked. Today I was on the phone with another friend and fellow grocer. We were talking about how 2020 has derailed all of our usual promotional planning, and how much satisfaction we would get when a planned promotion was completed and we could sit back and analyze the results, making notes about future plans and what we might do to change things. Although the pandemic of 2020 has altered most of our plans – both personal and in business – it will not go on forever. Now is the time to start listing and organizing your future plans. You don’t even have to put a date on them, they can just be labeled and prioritized “post pandemic promotions and goals”. Your employees and customers can’t wait to have something to ...read more
“You live as long as the last person that remembers you.” -Lakota Indian sayingAs I’ve traveled along the journey with my best friend of 52 years who has had to navigate liver failure and the extreme toll it’s taken on his body, it has reminded me that we all have an expiration date and will one day be looking down the barrel of our own mortality. It always seems like it’s so far away. It seems like it only happens to other people. I feel mentally like I did at 25. So Scott’s journey has in a way been an education and reminder for me to make choices and act in ways that result in me leaving a mark that will be remembered once I’m gone. There are plenty of people who die every day that will be forgotten tomorrow because they didn’t leave a lasting impression on anyone. Whether it’s the narcissist, the loner or just one of the A-holes in the world, once they are gone, well, they are gone. My friend Scott is one of the guys who has left a mark. In fact, lots of marks. And I’m not just talking skidmarks in his shorts that happened so many times when we were kids. He’s loved and admired and is part of so many people’s memories an...read more
A lot of companies have what they call The Open Door Policy. It’s where the boss tells his team that his door is always open if they want to talk. It encourages communication, closes the gap of the “them vs. us” view of management and humanizes the boss a little. It brings management and workers closer to the same perceived level, even though the responsibilities and work structure remain unchanged. How great is it for an employee to feel comfortable enough to knock lightly on the bosses office door and ask for a moment of their time. Although many times it may result in something that is not important at all to the boss, it is always important to the employee. Employees always talk amongst themselves, and when one tells others that they went to the boss and he genuinely listened to me, the positive results spread quickly. “Wow, I just thought he was an arrogant prick!” the other employee might say, changing their whole opinion of the boss. If you do preach the Open Door Policy, do you actually practice it? Body language, the habit of always appearing too busy, being in a rush and closing your office door as soon as you get in there while you immerse yourself in computer work defeats the hard work you’...read more
The truly smart leader asks for help all the time.
Some of the smartest guys I’ve ever met are the dumbest. I know that like an oxymoron. Or just a statement from a moron. I’ve known people who can solve complex mathematical problems that stagger my mind but couldn’t microwave a potato for dinner to save their lives. I’ve known brilliant lawyers with knowledge of the law that they can recite at will. These same people make terrible life and business choices that leave them marginally successful at best. I’ve seen computer programmers that can build a network that is amazingly efficient, but when asked to apply it to our industry just flail wildly, leaving everyone to wonder if they have any intelligence at all. I am convinced that the smartest leaders are indeed not the smartest people. The smartest leaders surround themselves with the smartest people. Leaders get the credit for the work of the smart people that he surrounds himself with. But hey! That’s unfair! The smart ones make things happen, right? And he gets all the credit. Unfair! I think it’s just the opposite. Smart leadership takes wisdom, and wisdom is making the right choices, learning from mistakes and having the instincts to achieve your goals for success. Smart l...read more
Especially in times of economic distress, your business faith will be tested.
It’s never wrong to do the right thing. Never. You treat people right, with respect, with a caring spirit and good things come your way. My simple definition of karma: What goes around, comes around. I’m not talking that you’ll win the lottery. Or that you’ll always be happy. Or that your life will be problem free. No, faith in doing the right thing means that you don’t have to worry about lies being uncovered. It means that your regrets will be fewer. It means you’ll have a clean conscience. It means that the gossipers have nothing on you. It means that you smile more. Really.Faith in business dealings is incredibly important. It’s not just about maximizing profits, reducing costs and beating the competition. Faith in business is trusting that your clients, vendors and customers share a common belief that when you all do the right thing, success will follow. It results in long term relationships that evolve into truly caring. And when you care, work becomes less of a job and more of a passion.Especially in times of economic distress, your business faith will be tested. Pessimism can yank you by the hair and try to snap your head back. You will question and second guess...read more
Customers true thoughts and suggestions make many retailers very uncomfortable and defensive.
Last week my wife finally splurged on herself and bought a nice pair of sunglasses. Maui Jim brand (thanks to our friend Mark who gave her a 50% off gift card) that have incredible lenses, clarity and craftsmanship. Really a work of art that your eyes will thank you for forever. So she shows me a choice of two different pairs she was considering, and wanted to know which one I liked best. I told her, she agreed, and that was the pair she ordered. They came a few days later. She tried them on and asked me what I thought. I looked, and told her they looked fine. She prodded further, asking me what I really thought, and since I was the one who had to look at her mug when she’s wearing them, she asked for my honest opinion. I said as delicately as I could (which for me is not very delicate) that the frames were a little thick. As I looked at her, it dawned on me whose glasses they looked like. I told her, they look like Al Franken’s glasses. And they did! Not that she looks like Al Franken, just the glasses did. (I know, what a dick I am!) She did ask my opinion, and she did ask me to be honest. Still, I think maybe I should...read more
In the back of my mind I knew it was too good to be true
Do you believe in Karma? I know I’ve touched on this subject before, but especially “during these unprecedented times”, it seems like everything we do has a consequence. As a young man, I didn’t really care or think about Karma. I did what I wanted, tried to be a good person and lived life like most 20-somethings. So, one day, not long after I got my first job out of college, I went down to the car stereo store (there were lots of those back then) and was shopping for a new stereo with a CD player for my 1986 Volkswagen Jetta. It was a sweet ride, and the first almost-new car I ever had purchased. As I’m shopping for the stereo, a guy comes up and asks me if I want to buy a stereo and speakers for something like 80 bucks. All I had to do was follow him out to his car to check it out. So, I did. And the stereo was cool, and a heck of a deal. In the back of my mind I knew it was too good to be true and probably stolen, but what the hell. I bought it, installed it and loved the sound. Didn’t give it much of a thought after that. I probably bragged about the “great deal” I had got. Such a dope. About a month later, I went out to my car in the morning. Shattered glass was on the ground and my stolen stereo ...read more