As we prepare for our upcoming 2-Day Retail Leadership workshop, I cannot help but think about the question that I am continually asked in regards to getting an entire store or region to do exactly what they are supposed to be doing with commitment and passion.  I'm committed to helping people succeed and feel good about what they do in this industry and I truly believe that there are several things that are critical to inspirational leadership.

Attention all Store Managers! 

It's time for some "Spring Training" in your stores! 

Everyone knows how satisfying it is to do spring cleaning around the house; the same can be true about spring training for retailers!  The winter blahs are almost over and it's time to get the cobwebs out and get back to the basics.

You might be thinking that this is something that a millennial might say, however, quite frankly we all think the same thing as employees. It doesn't matter what generation you are from.

How great would your workplace be if all your staff had positive attitudes, confidence, determination, and loyalty?  What would it be like if they worked with meaningful purpose and provided mutual support for each other in the work place?  Sounds like utopia?  This is not an impossible achievement.

A study conducted by Microsoft, showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to 8 seconds. Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds!

Yep, we’re being outdone by that beautiful orange fish in the aquarium.

If there’s one thing retailers are typically good at it’s Store Operations.   There’s a checklist, process map or log book for just about everything.  Heck, the industry has even created task management software that resides in the cloud!   In a nutshell, retail is very good at the A + B + C = D stuff.

Another thing retail is very good at is promoting people from within.  It’s one of the great things about retail.  You can start out as a salesperson and before you know it you’re running a store or even a territory of stores.  Most of the VPs come from the stores too.   That produces a lot of consistent know-how across the organization when it comes to running the stores.

Therein lies the problem though

What does it take to roll out a great training program at store level?  Better yet, what does it take to sustain a great training program at store level?  Do you have the answer on the tip of your tongue?  Don’t fret, from what I can tell, the majority of retailers out there don’t have the answers to these questions either. 

Ok.  Here’s an easier question.  What gets in the way of training success at store level?  I bet you can rattle off a bunch of ‘retail realities’ that interfere with training.

I would like to start by asking why we are we still struggling with compliance and consistency?

It’s our job as leaders to flawlessly execute corporate strategy through our people; however, we are repeatedly dealing with issues relating to compliance and consistency. Is it because our people aren’t listening or is it because we are not influencing their behaviours? This may be the difference between a good Manager and an exceptional Leader, one that has a strong personal brand.

Is finding and developing the 'right' store staff such a big deal? Doesn't your format and merchandise do all the real selling, while employees are just there to receive your customer's cash? Before you get too far down this line of thinking, consider the following list of questions, designed to challenge your assumptions:

New for 2018, we are committed to putting a Spotlight on Success and sharing uplifting stories from our retailers!   We hear great success stories from the selling floor all the time.  But, every once in a while, what we do every day is validated in a big way by a Retail Manager or a Retail Sales Rep who we know has been touched and forever changed by the training we offer at Graff Retail.  This month’s Spotlight on Success comes from Maria Ricciardi, Store Manager at The Wine Shop’s North York and Pickering locations. 

I want you to try a little experiment for the next few days.  I want you to hold a positive image of your partner/significant other in your mind for one minute every day, and in addition tell your partner at least once a day one thing you appreciate about him or her.  That’s all you need to do.  If you do, I guarantee your relationship with this person will improve.  Actually, I know it will, because this is based on the advice shared by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Lakelly Hunt, creators of Imago Relationships who over the past 30 years have helped thousands of individuals.


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