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Does The Boss Get A Pat On The Back?

by Adam Zack — March 3, 2021

A leader tells you how you’re doing.

My mom made a comment on a recent blog about how important it is to employees to be communicated with and shown appreciation for their work. She said:“The same is true for management that are taken for granted. Just because you are management doesn’t mean you don’t need or want an “atta boy or girl”……….”I thought it was an excellent point. The further up the management ladder you climb, the fewer people there are above you to give you the positive affirmation that you need. It’s more important and relevant than ever for the company president or owner to express appreciation and give those attaboys to upper management. It can’t just be assumed that because they make more money and have more prestigious and important positions in the company that they don’t need that positive interaction with the leader. A boss tells you what to do. A leader tells you how you’re doing.And what about “attaboys” for the owner of the company? Who tells DW he’s doing a great job? Ownership affirmation comes full circle and gratification comes from those employees who are happy at work and love working for the company. The ultimate thank you to ownership is that entry level ...
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Leave it a little better

by Adam Zack — February 24, 2021

It’s a long-term life philosophy.

I have a personal goal of leaving everything a little better than it was when I found it. It’s a long term life philosophy, and most definitely it doesn’t always happen. In fact, it happens a lot less than I’d like, but it’s an aspirational goal and in the busyness of everyday life, it often gets pushed to the back burner. Recently, because one of his roommates tested positive for Covid, my nephew stayed with us for about 10 days (after he tested negative, of course). What amazed us was how he left everything he touched perfectly clean and organized. Bed made perfectly every day. No spit marks on the sink. Coffee press cleaned and put away. Cleaned up the dinner mess after family dinners. Dishes washed and dried and put in their place. Engaged in conversation and expressed appreciation. I think he even waited until he was outside to fart. He didn’t even drink our beer or wine, and on his last night he brought us a bottle of very nice Bourbon. Highly unusual for most 24 year olds. It was like having a dream houseguest. It made me think about leaving everything better than when you first touched it. It makes an impression that is lasting and impactful. As we interact in our daily lives, keeping in mind that every conversation, kin...
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Own the Day

by Adam Zack — February 17, 2021

Adam Zack

Admonish fear and hate.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”– Ralph Waldo EmersonMan I love that. Seize the day. Forgive and forget. Be kind. Take chances. Appreciate those who make your day. Admonish fear and hate. Take a stand. Be thankful. The day is yours, so take the wheel and drive, baby, drive.

Read More – Our Well-Being Lies In Our Actions

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What’s your comfort zone?

by Adam Zack — February 10, 2021

A year into a seemingly never-ending pandemic, we’re the comfort zone.

“I often say that you can be miserable before eating a cookie and you can be miserable after eating a cookie, but you can never be miserable while you’re eating a cookie.” – Ina GartenFood has the unique ability to comfort us and make us feel happy, content, or well, just playing comforted in nearly every situation. Milestone birthday celebration? Your favorite cake. Date night at home watching a movie? Popcorn. Worried? Brownies. Tired? Hot tea. Food is the common denominator in satisfying our basic emotional needs. It inspires us to be adventurous when we cook and it also can be the easiest in the form of take-out or ready to eat when we are short on time. Grocery shopping is the conduit to providing that comfort, and we have the unique opportunity to not only provide the comfort food, but to be the comfort place where people go to get it. They may see their friends and neighbors shopping, and get the comforting feeling of community. They see the familiar cashier or butcher, and get the comforting feeling of normalcy. They get a new wine recommendation from the wine clerk, who remembers what they bought last time, and get the comforting feeling of recognition and apprec...
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The Intangibles

by Adam Zack — February 3, 2021

Adam Zack

Here’s to Lori! Thank you for your service!. 

Every company has key employees that are if not irreplaceable, would at least be sorely missed if they were to leave. You have those who may be the heart of the company. The soul. The backbone. The brain. They perform their duties extremely well and the company is more successful because of their dedication, talents and leadership. They may perform duties that no one else wants to do, and do them so well that no one could come close to duplicating them. Some of my favorite employees have been the ones that just take care of business. They don’t ask for help, or even need help. They make *&^$ happen. Their departments run like clockwork and management has one less thing to worry about. Drama free departments are a leader’s dream. But back to the topic: Intangibles and what they bring to the team. Heart, soul, humor, humility. Just yesterday, after 47 years on the job, the payroll administrator for my family’s stores retired. She not only brought humor, friendliness, teamwork and dedication to her job – she was what I consider the kindness of the company. Someone who never once – not even one time – missed processing payroll. She’d plan her vacations around when payroll had t...
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Help Wanted. Requirements: Zero Talent

by Adam Zack — January 27, 2021

Keep the job and succeed.

A lot of employers and a lot of potential employees put too much emphasis on skills they think are necessary to do the job. Experience and skills are, of course, necessary in many jobs. You don’t put a guy who has only ridden a bicycle behind the wheel of a big rig. The balloon guy at the circus doesn’t qualify as an anesthesiologist because he knows how to turn on the helium tank. Cousin Larry, who does wonders with his set of crayons is not automatically qualified to be a graphic designer. In our food business, emphasis on experience for jobs like prep cook, cashier, stock clerk, meat cutter, and customer service supervisor often are given the criteria by store management of experience needed to get the interview for the job. With the labor market still tight and looking to get tighter (and more expensive) – even with Covid layoffs – hiring criteria and the interview process needs to evolve. I recently came across a list that I think gets to the core of what to look for in a great new employee. And none of them require talent, skill or experience. Potential employees who realize these things, and present themselves accordingly, are far more likely to land the job, and more importantly, keep the job and succeed.10 THINGS THAT REQUIRE ZE...
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Inspired

by Adam Zack — January 20, 2021

Adam Zack

Time to get on your side, man.

A couple weeks ago I was really struggling for a blog topic. Nothing interesting was coming to mind at all. I looked over my topic list and realized all it was saying to me was “Been there, done that.” So I reached out to DW and explained that I was having writer’s block and asked if he had any if he had any words of wisdom to inspire me. He responded with a one-word email: Inspiration. Not exactly what I was looking for. In fact I thought he was just trying to be funny. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a Yoda-ish zen-like answer, kind of like “Look within yourself, grasshopper and the answer shall you find.” I thought about what really does inspire me on a daily basis. What am I getting from others around me that motivates me to write a good blog? Or in the bigger picture what inspires me to be a good man, a good dad, a good friend, a good husband, a good leader? I don’t think most of us think about inspiration through most of our daily activities. Once in a while some event will come up – usually someone overcoming some kind of adversity – and we will do something extra or make a change in our life. Like when the one legged man runs a marathon and we think “If he ca...
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Help

by Adam Zack — January 13, 2021

As leaders, we need to actively ask our teams if they need any help.

Help! I need somebodyHelp! Not just anybodyHelp! You know I need someone                        -John Lennon“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said? asked the boy.‘Help,’ said the horse.‘Asking for help isn’t giving up,’ said the horse. ‘It’s refusing to give up.”Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the HorseWe have become stronger as a team over the past 10 months. All our stores have had to brave a threat that seems to change nearly every day. The challenges we have all faced head on have at times seemed overwhelming. Surrendering has never been an option. Screaming in retreat is not an option. People have to eat, and we have to feed them. Employees need to work, and we are there to pay them. They need to be protected, and we take every step we can think of to be their protectors. As we have stabilized and adjusted to our new normal, we have to realize that there are still many on our teams that may need help, either in what they do for us at their jobs or in their personal lives. As leaders, we need to activel...
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What do you want?

by Adam Zack — January 6, 2021

Adam Zack

Very few leaders get an A in communication

The struggle to effectively and constantly communicate to your employees is very real. It’s ongoing, never ending and increasingly more challenging. As your team matures and new generations are hired, what’s important to them and what you think is important to them move further apart. You haven’t changed, but they sure have, right? The thing that doesn’t change is that employees (from upper management down to courtesy clerks) just want to know what’s going on. What are the goals, programs, changes, initiatives, results and plans? How is the company doing? Are the owners happy with our work? Why are we doing what we’re doing? Very few leaders get an A in communication. I’d say the average is maybe a C-. And it’s not just in the grocery business – it’s everywhere. Recently I came across a list of what employees actually want versus what their bosses think that they want.What Employees Want (Starting with the most important)
  1. Full appreciation for work done
  2. Feeling “in” on things
  3. Sympathetic help on personal problems
  4. Job security
  5. Good wages
  6. Interesting work
  7. Promotion/growth opportunities
  8. Personal loya
    ...
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It was the worst of times, it was the best of times…

by webmaster — December 30, 2020

Every pro was a rookie once.

2020 will certainly be remembered in history as an epic year. Dominated by Covid-19, it also bore riots, radical financial market swings, the most divisive presidential election ever and devastating wildfires. As hard as it’s been and how much we are all ready for it to be over, it has brought out the best in our country’s grocers. Employees smiling through masks while being on the front lines, scrambling to keep shelves stocked and stores safe and innovating to feed America. One of the best things I read this year came in the form of a family update included in the Christmas card from the Stephen Nelson family. Normally those family updates are so boring. “Cousin Earl got new snow shoes. Daughter Bessie got honorable mention in the spelling bee. Brother Mark dislocated his shoulder showing someone where the camel bit him. Blah, blah, blah.” Not the Nelson family update.  Stephen is a young financial professional who is not only raising twin one year-olds with his lovely wife during Covid, but also bought a house and moved and started his own wealth management firm [https://birchwoodcapital.com/] during the year. Three major achievements during any normal year, amplified by a pandemic. Here’...
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