Fill Up Your Tank, or Else

Have you ever felt you were just so busy that you didn’t even have time to stop for gas? And what happens when you fail to do that?  You are likely to find yourself stranded, on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, very frustrated with yourself, and everybody else is extremely frustrated with you too. When we get busy and we are forced to deal with change, and we have to react to the latest requirements or mandates or whatever it is that is causing us to be crazy, with our hair on fire, we sometimes lose sight of doing those small, seemingly insignificant tasks. Those little tasks get re-prioritized to a lower position on our To-Do list. We rationalize our decision to not do these things because we “just don’t have the time” Yet these little tasks, these seemingly insignificant actions are the things that contribute to having a strong foundation of any profitable business.

Small tasks. Like having a company-wide meeting where all employees get to hear what is going on. Having regular touch bases with direct reports. Staying in touch with customers. These are all seemingly insignificant tasks. So seemingly insignificant that business leaders often make the mistake of telling themselves that these things can wait. But the longer you wait on doing these things, the harder it is to pick them back up again. Maintaining a company culture of inclusiveness, transparency, openness, and relevancy is challenging in the best of times, let alone in a year when there is economic, social, and health concerns.

Three Key Steps. There are three important areas to pay attention to when maintaining and nurturing a company’s culture.

#1 Clear, Transparent Communication. We are so much more successful when we understand the WHY. That does not mean we must try to make everyone happy all the time. In fact, as a leader, if everyone is happy with your decisions all the time then you are not an effective leader. The leader has to make some tough decisions. Decisions that will not please everyone, all of the time. But when given the explanation of the “why” behind the decisions, we are much more likely to understand, and move forward with our work. Effective communication takes planning, consistency, and involvement. Company-wide, department-wide, store-wide meetings are important. Whether in-person or virtual, employees want to know what’s going on, what the plan is. And while providing that information should be a top priority, it should also be a top priority to gather feedback. Some of the best ideas come from the people on the front lines. So make sure that the paths of communication run both ways.

#2 Create an Engaging Employee Environment. Don’t let the higher unemployment rate lull you into a false sense of security that if anybody leaves from your team you will be able to replace them without a problem.The competition is fierce. Any leader must make sure they are attracting and retaining the best people. That takes engagement, involvement, planning, and time. A company’s people are their most valuable asset. Provide employees with training so they feel valued and they are being given an opportunity to grow. Provide a compelling compensation package that is well rounded. Give them a way to feel involved and they will deliver performance that goes well beyond just showing up for work.

#3 Create a Compelling Customer Experience. Completing the transaction is of course a top priority. You want to make sure that the customer has a great experience with their checkout experience, whether that happens online or in a physical location. But in today’s environment, the engagement must go beyond just the transaction. How are you maintaining a presence in front of your customers before, and after the sale? How are you communicating with them? What is your company’s presence on social media? What are you adding as value to your customers? A common mistake is when a business gets a little hung up on the numbers of likes, comments, or shares they get on social media. There are so many people who simply don’t like, comment, or share when they view a post, but make no mistake: they are watching. You might not even realize that they are paying attention to what is posted because they are doing it silently. A company’s digital presence has a big impact and it needs to be consistent and clear.  

Those are the three, key building blocks to which every successful business needs to pay attention. These are seemingly insignificant tasks that often fall by the wayside when things get busy. They are very easy to do, and just as easy not to do. Stick with these little tasks, even when things get crazy.

Retail Level Up provides coaching, training, and consulting services to individuals and teams. Visit www.retaillevelup.com to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.