I walked into two hardware stores this week, and the same thing happened in both stores. It was later in the evening, and as I pulled into the first store, my car was one of the only ones in the lot. As I entered, there were two employees at the checkout counter. They were manning their individual stations, but there were no customers in line, so they were chatting. As I walked in, they both looked at me and one said, “Can I help you?” I asked where a common plumbing item was, and the employee told me the aisle number, and then they went on talking. I went to the aisle I was directed to, and it was the paint aisle. No employees were in sight, so I wandered around a little and found the correct aisle, which was 6 aisles away from where I was directed. I then started looking for my particular plumbing item. I finally located it after going one way down the aisle and then heading back the other way—scanning the shelves. When I found my item, I had several products to choose from, so I looked them over to try and determine which would fit my needs. Choosing an item, I walked up to the checkout line, and the two employees were still chatting. When they asked if I found my item, I told them that I had, but it was 6 aisles away from where they directed me. They chuckled as if this was a common and unavoidable situation—but I knew better than that.
When I returned home and started my plumbing project, I realized I needed yet another part. I wasn’t about to go back to the store that had no interest in helping me, so I went to another hardware store. It was later in the evening, there were very few cars in the lot, and as I walked in the same scenario played out. There were multiple employees at the register—and they were waiting for someone to checkout–but nobody was in line. They saw me walk in, but nobody asked if they could help me. So I wandered around and found somebody to ask where the plumbing aisle was. They directed me with a wave of their hand to a far corner of the store. I dutifully went in that general direction, and after following my aforementioned “go down one aisle and then back the other direction, scanning the shelves all the while” strategy, I finally located what seemed to be the right part.
When I got to the checkout, they asked me if I’d found what I was looking for, and I nodded my head, but the truth was that I wasn’t very happy with the experience.
Does this sound familiar?
I started to think about what the problem was in both these stores. Did they hire people who didn’t have the capability of thinking outside-the-box and actually making sure a customer quickly found the right item in a store of thousands of various hardware items and dozens of aisles?
But I realized what the real problem was–lack of leadership. These employees did not have leaders who inspired them with a BOLD purpose, one that furthered the goals of their company. They believed their job was to check people out of their stores, and they dutifully manned those registers even when nobody was in line. They didn’t have the curiosity to even learn how their store was laid out so they could help their customers better. Retail jobs are ubiquitous, with generally lower pay and high turn-over. If I was an employee performing one of these jobs, and I was led to believe that my job was just to “check people out”, then I’d likely fall into the same pattern of trying to keep myself awake, waiting for customers to come to my checkout station, and just watching the clock.
But, what if the leaders in these two stores inspired their employees with a sense of a BOLD purpose? What if each employees purpose was to see each person who walked into their store as a potential new customer who has many choices of stores–and that each employee had the BOLD purpose of winning over a “customer for life” each time someone walked into their store.
Leadership matters, and when leaders don’t understand their most important role–which is providing inspired leadership, trusted management, and ownership engagement—then their teams will improvise and fill the void with whatever comes to mind on any given day.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team–which translates directly into increased company profitability. Contact me today and let’s begin the transformation of your team, your company, into an unstoppable Surging Team.
Until then, Keep Winning!