home_03Road to Victory – Gunnar Simonsen

In late December 2004, I was asked abruptly to take over three retail businesses at the same time. A year later, I was asked to take on a fourth. The businesses could not be more diverse. They were:

  • Chain of Regional Bookstores
  • 2 Wine Tasting/Gifts/Cafe establishments
  • Chain of Gourmet Food and Gift stores
  • Hotel in a Ghost Town (Yep, you read that right.)

How was I going to do this? How would I merge the operations of such diverse businesses onto one infrastructure ? I needed a clear plan.

So, I developed this document to place a rudder on that which we were seeking to accomplish. What these businesses needed was clear expectations for its many employees. I figured I could manage one of two things:

  1. Manage the people
  2. Manage the expectations

If I had to manage the people then chances are I had the wrong people, or they were at least on the wrong seat of the bus. I wanted to spend my time working on managing the expectations.

The process looked like this:

  • Hire the right people
  • Give them clear expectations
  • Give them the tools to meet the expectations
  • Train them effectively on the use of the tools
  • Manage the expectations

If we could do this consistently, sky was the limit. So, I set out to put some thoughts on paper as to what this road map would look like that could take us to victory.

In this now viral world. Try also reading this piece through the lens of your online community. What can you apply, adjust, or give up according to what you gleaned from this?

Enjoy. G!

Paving the ROAD to Victory

Objective: Seeking to provide constant clarity, constant consistency, and constant communication in the following areas:

  • Offer exceptional and consistent guest services.
  • How were guest services? Was I greeted? Was I asked for help? Was the store staffed appropriately? Was I thanked for shopping or for visiting the store?
  • By attracting, hiring, and training great staff (effective communicator, passionate about the product, product knowledge, takes the initiative, team player, efficient POS usage, and loves to SMILE.)
  • Were guest services reflective of these principles?
  • Having the right product at the right time at the right price at the right quantity at the right margins…
  • Did store have what I was looking for? Was product clearly priced?
  • By developing and executing monthly store/product promotions quarterly in advance
  • What promotions were they currently running? Was staff knowledgeable about the promotions?
  • By offering a consistent store presentation that is clean, organized, appealing, full, and guest friendly.
  • What did the store look like? Did the layout make sense? Could I tell where I was in the store at all times? [effective signage] Were product displays full and appealing?
  • By maximizing the use of various advertising channels to maintain high frequency of public awareness of: A. who we are B. where we are C. what we are doing (what’s going on)
  • What type of advertising was store currently running? Was staff knowledgeable about current advertising?

*** In retrospect, we also sought to run ads that quantified (without quantifying) that which we were seeking to solve with our business. I discuss this in my new book Strategistics with Don’t Sell Me Something… Solve Me Something.

  • By more effectively using our data to determine: A. who our customer is B. what their needs are C. to utilize marketing dollars more effectively based on this data to target our core consumer groups, increase frequency of visits, increase profitability per guest, increase guest retention and satisfaction.
  • Did staff ask for my email and home address? What type of data analysis are we conducting to determine our core consumer groups?
  • By developing and implementing on a consistent basis, local store events that effectively engages our stores and staff with the community we serve.
  • Was there any upcoming events scheduled? What type of events would be effective? How would one set them up?
  • By offering a consistent and appealing guest experience throughout the entire store.
  • Was experience consistent throughout store with each staff interaction and product display? What is important to this store, based on what I saw? Did staff display product knowledge?
  • By managing our individual budgets with personal accountability based on our individual desires to succeed and to run a profitable operation.
  • Do I have a clear understanding of the budget? Do I have a clear understanding of my store budget expectations? What areas of opportunity does my store have to improve? How will I work to improve these areas?
  • By including consistent staff development practices into each day to foster a culture of both clarity and continued growth within a positive and exciting environment.
  • Do I and each of my staff have a clear understanding of our individual job expectations? Do I know how to most effectively communicate with each of my staff- members? Do I take time each day to both coach and praise my staff-members? Do I make people want to work here by how I speak, act, and work? As a leader, how am I perceived? Am I perceived clearly? 

Payroll Management

“It is not about having more or less employees; it is about having effective employees.”

 Staff-shift Scheduling

  • Develop and implement an effective schedule that meets the needs of our valued guests while being a good steward of company expectations and budget objectives.

Job Expectations

  • Develop and implement clear and effective job descriptions for each position within the store location.
  • Pay-grade Models

Develop and implement clear and competitive pay-grade models for each position within the company

Performance Evaluations

  • Conduct consistent employee performance evaluations.
  • Increased pay should only be reflective upon staff performance. Therefore, only given out based on merit or with increased documented responsibilities.
  • Performance evaluations should reflect with clarity, both staff successes and opportunities, while offering clear expectations for continued growth and improvement.
  • Evaluations should not be known just for fiscal rewards, for that is a bi-product of good performance. Evaluations should be known for clearly communicating with our staff on both, how they are performing in accordance of expectations and how they can continue to grow and improve in accordance to job expectations.

Core Values: [The Story principles are in development…]

STORY: to be STORY-TELLERS, to look for the story in every guest and every experience. To go home each day with a story of a guest or an experience that day that was an encouragement that perhaps you made a difference.

  • To accomplish this on a consistent basis takes focus and clarity of staff expectations.
  • To accomplish this on a consistent basis takes a passion for people and service.

S – Shopping Experience [Store presentation, reputation, layout, product mix]

T – Transaction Experience [Training]

O – Our Community Experience [Store events that engage the community]

R – Relationship Experience [Do we know our guests, do they know us…by name?

  Guest service standards]

Y – Your Experience [staff expectations, training, reviews, coaching, opportunity]

Read Part One: My Professional Archives Part 001: Conversion Rate | GunnarSpeaks

Read Part Two: My Professional Archives Part 002: 40 Days of Purpose (Staff Training) | GunnarSpeaks

Flash Forward to Now >>

STRATEGISTICS: The Essential Information

  • You can download Strategistics on Amazon by clicking here. (I will seek to release a hard copy and audio version of the book in the next phase.)
  • Don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Download the FREE Kindle reading app by clicking here.
  • On Facebook? Like the Strategistics page here.
  • Bought the book? Please consider writing a review and/or telling a friend.
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