Last week was Back to School and it seems like everyone was posting proud Instagram pics of their kids' first day of school. Truthfully, I wanted to post a pic of me drinking Champagne. Is that wrong? (If it is, I don't want to be right!)   Yes, we all love our kids and would do anything for them; however let’s be honest, we cherish our freedom from strict bedtimes, homework and racing from activity to activity. Yet at the same time, we are so excited to see them go back to school and right back into the hectic routine.  It's the 'routine' that we both love and hate.

The same is true in our stores.  

The best Store Ops teams implement 'routines' in their stores that get done day after day, shift after shift.  It's these 'routines' that keep the operation moving along smoothly.  Yet, it's these same 'routines' that sometimes become boring and monotonous for staff and lead to non-compliance.  What happens then?

The breakdown of 'routines' at store level results in the deterioration of the customer experience and, it could be argued, the staff experience as well.  Think about what we know about humans:  Most employees perform better and are happier in a work world where the 'lines' are clearly defined.  Having no grey zones makes most staff happier.  What makes it possible for some staff to excel into more senior positions is their comfort with grey zones (not to mention their skills, attitudes and drive).

Escaping the 'routines', whether at home or work, is fun every now and then.  We 'hate' the routines; but in truth, we love and benefit from the routines that add predictability and success to our lives at home and work.  Well laid out store operations systems (routines) produce better results than the chaotic approach seen in too many retail operations.

Love them or hate them, routines that relate to both your personal and professional goals can dramatically improve your life.  If you're not happy with your results, maybe it's time to change your routines.

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!


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