Which Brain Should I Use?

Today I was in a store where they had run out of room for a product and put inventory for that article on the end cap podium.  Of course, that end cap was set up for a different product, and the display, price, and shelves were all set up for that article.  I asked the worker about it and asked if they felt customers might find this confusing.  After all, if I wasn’t paying attention, I might grab the article on the end cap thinking when I got home I’d be unpacking what I saw on display there.  I’d have a different product and have paid a different price.

The worker said, “I think the customer is smart enough to figure it out.”

But wouldn’t it have been better for the worker to have figured it out and avoid the confusion entirely?

Use your brain, not the customer’s.

The Walking Dead

Have you been there?  A local branch closes down, and you are assigned a new assistant manager (the other branch’s former manager) and co-worker.  Only they turn out to be like Rick Grimes and Carol from this season’s Walking Dead.

“If they can’t keep this place, we’ll just take it.”

They have different experiences than you.  They disagree with your methods.  They see you as weak, and they are gunning to run you out and take over.

It happens.  So how do you deal with those who want to take you out?

Be humble.  Maybe you *can* learn from their experiences, and why not try?

Be firm.  Don’t let them push you around, but choose your battles carefully.  If you find yourself embroiled over everything, you need to figure out if they are the problem or you are.

Be a leader.  Remember, leadership isn’t something you do to people.  It’s something you do with people.  Get in there.  Get your hands dirty.  Never let them see you not sweating, and you will earn their respect.

And if all else fails, pet the zombies eat them.

Style

Giving an employee too much instruction can be construed as micromanagement. It is often seen as condescension and a symptom of a lack of trust.

But giving an employee too little instruction is a sure way to fail as well.  You leave your employees dangling, and they will define their job without you.

So how do you know what style to give?  Well for starters,  have you thought about asking them?

If We Were Honest

If we were honest, we might have conversations like this one:

“Boy, you guys are really moving fast!”

“Yep.  With my boss, it’s all about speed.”

“But it doesn’t seem safe to go so quickly.  Aren’t you worried about that?”

“Nah.  Speed is easier to measure than safety.”

Too often we sacrifice what’s important for matrixes, spreedsheets, and rankings.  Not just safety.  Not just quality.  Not just customer service.

But why be honest about that when your raises, bonuses, and awards are all tied to easily quantifiable statistics, am I right?

Ineffective Effeciency

If you have a position that generates $10K a month for your business and you have your employee spreading their time between that role and another, it may seem like a decision made to maximize effeciency, but it sounds like you’re probably making a mistake.

Why not pay someone $10 an hour to take on those extra duties and let your first employee focus on maximizing their effectiveness?

Effeciency decisions that do not immediately consider the impact on the bottom line are simply ineffective.

“Remaining” Positive

One of the most challenging parts of leading a team is setting aside your own worries and fears to announce a new change in your company, because it really is important you give the change the benefit of the doubt and present it with a positive outlook.

The one constant in the business world is change, so fearing it is pointless and counterproductive.  Certainly, some ideas won’t be great ones, but chances are even the worst ideas won’t sink your business.  Most likely, if it turns out to be a stinker, you and your peers will be able to give feedback once the changes have been established and shape things into something better!  That’s a great opportunity.

The longer you are a manager, the more you’ll be able to roll with change.  The danger is when you look back on “the good old days” and remember things better than they really were.

Either way, you have to get your employees behind the idea in order to really see if it’s a good one or not.  Otherwise, you are the squeaky wheel keeping things from moving in either direction.

serve your god

Kronos.

Sounds like a god from the Old Testament.  One the Philistines might bow down to or the Caananites might sacrifice infants in it’s gaping maw.

I haven’t been to a business in the last five years that didn’t set up Kronos on a throne of power.  And everywhere they have, there are problems.

For one, Krono is a demanding god that wants you to schedule enough payroll to actually get the job done.  If you pinch your pennies and do not tithe, Kronos’s wrath is damning indeed.

The other reason we live in an unperfect world under this all-knowing god?  He is a flawed god and works better when you work with him with your human reasoning.  If ye blindly serve, lo, ye shall surely die.

Kronos, unfortunately, is not a god.

Taking Care of Business

“Why do I have to take care of it?  I’m not a babysitter!”

Ah, the manager’s favorite complaint.  Since this is a blog, I’ll give you the short answer.

Yes, you are.

If you are a plate spinner, unless you’ve got self-spinners on every stick, you’re going to have to do your job.  Sorry.