The Story of One Day

You unlock the door and walk into your store early in the morning. It is all so peaceful. After a nice day off you are looking forward to digging into your action items. Your mind is humming with the list of things you are going to get done before the store opens. Walking to your office, you pick up an item off the floor. “It is so cute,” you think to yourself as you walk over to the shelf to put it back. Then you notice that the shelf really needs to be dusted. “Drat, how did that not get done on Tuesday?” you mumble out loud. As you pass the front desk, you see the garbage overflowing. “What? This should have been done last night.” You bend over to empty it out and notice that the small bags are almost all gone. “Who the heck closed last night? They should have put more out!” Now, you are starting to get mad. As you go to the back room, you see that the orders from yesterday hadn’t been packed up. And you know that they didn’t have a super busy day. And there is garbage by the back door that hadn’t gotten walked out to the dumpster.

By now, you are so flipping frustrated and furious that you want to just fire them all!

Stop!

There are only 3 reasons why your team members don’t perform.

  1. They don’t know what to do.
  2. They don’t know how to do it.
  3. They don’t care.

That is all there is to it. Don’t jump to number 3. Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I cannot wait to make my boss mad today. What can I do…I mean NOT do …..that will ruin his day? I really am looking forward to not doing my job!” To be sure we all make mistakes hiring sometimes and run into some one who genuinely doesn’t care. But the first 2 reasons are much more common.

  1. They don’t know what to do. It is YOUR job to set your team members up for success. Start by clearly defining and WRITING out your expectations. They cannot read your mind. What seems obvious to you might not be obvious to them. If it is written down there is no compromise – either they have done the job or not.
  2. They don’t know how to do it. After you have written done what to do, now you must write down HOW and WHEN the job should be done. This is the most common mistake. You cannot be too detailed here. It is YOUR job to take responsibility for their success.

Let’s use the example of about the garbage not being taken out in my store. Don’t just write down “Take out the garbage.” A more clear way to say it is: “Every Night: Take the garbage bag out of the front desk garbage can. Empty out the garbage cans in the bathroom and the back office into this bag. Dispose of it all into the dumpster behind the store.” Now when I had done that and the garbage still didn’t get taken out, I asked the woman who had closed the store the night before why it hadn’t been done. (I didn’t scream or yell, even though I wanted too!) Turns out that she had heard some weird noises around the dumpster and the light was out. She was scared – it wasn’t that she didn’t care.

The bottom line is that if things aren’t being done the way you want them to be done, you have to be willing to take responsibility for your part in that. As always, when you point your finger at someone else, three fingers point back at you. Let them remind you to go through these 3 steps. Be ready and willing to do everything that is necessary to help your team to achieve success.

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