Jan. 6/13, 2020: Volume 35, Issue 14
By Lisbeth Calandrino
Over the last three months, I’ve joined several online flooring groups to better understand the difficulties many store owners face. I realize business can be hectic, and solving a problem is the best thing you can do. However, getting to the bottom of the problem is difficult.
I have worked with many business owners and have come up with why I believe many businesses aren’t successful. While business is simple, most people aren’t. To that end, most of the problems are due to how people handle issues and make decisions. Many business failures cite poor management as the cause.
Getting to the root of a problem and understanding why someone let it occur takes time and requires different skills. Once the fire is extinguished, people tend to forget about it. From my experience, unclear business expectations, the absence of appropriate procedures and accountability produce problems. Time is spent fixing the problems, but little time is left to determine the real issue.
Why aren’t procedures followed and people held account- able? These are the bigger issues and need to be the first order of business. The second part is for employees to understand their underlying motives and thought processes. The ability to change and learn new ideas is the difference between success and failure in business.
To eliminate problems, owners and managers should spend time understanding why their employees behave in a way that isn’t acceptable to the business or useful. Many businesses do not have a human resources department, so the problem is left for the owners/managers to solve. I know this is a far cry from learning product knowledge or solving the installation crisis, but it’s likely the root of many problems.
For example, how many times have owners allowed themselves to be held hostage to high-producing salespeople or prima donna installers who are allowed to disrupt an entire organization? They say they need the money, so, instead of trying to understand why they feel paralyzed to change the situation, they let it continue until it’s out of control.
Business owners spend considerable money keeping their showrooms up to date, buying new products and training everyone on product knowledge. How many businesses train their employees on how to get along with others and make quality decisions?
Although a solution is necessary, there’s no attempt to understand underlying issues. As soon as a solution is reached, the problem is rarely approached again. Often employees are still annoyed with each other and whoever solved the problem. Although identifying the underlying behaviors may take time and is uncomfortable, addressing it and helping people understand their motives can be great for the business and employees’ long term.
We live in a knowledge-based society, and the more critical you think the better your knowledge will be. Critical thinking provides you with the skills to analyze and evaluate information so you can obtain the greatest amount of knowledge from it. It provides the best chance of making the correct decision and minimizes damages if a mistake does occur.
Critical analysis will lead to a more rational and disciplined thinker. Furthermore, it will reduce your prejudice and bias, which will provide you a better understanding of your environment. And the more your employees can learn about them- selves, the better decisions they will make for your business.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.