The insanity of the season is in full swing as I write this article. After Thanksgiving sales in the US have been going since midnight and this ritual has to stop. I understand the “shoppers thrill” of losing sleep to get bargains. That kind of craziness is where therapists pay for their retirements. The point at which you have good, hard working employees pulling ridiculous shifts trying to help sleep deprived people buy an X-box is when we need to draw a line.
I understand that businesses in this world-wide economic meltdown are desperate for any customer but to turn a profit on the backs of good employees is wrong. Small business owners get a break at this point because most of them work side by side with their employees. The ones who have no soul are the big box chains that have a hidden Board of Directors and a CEO who couldn’t work a POS system to save his or her life. Every employee who has never seen an executive on the sales floor and has worked for years with the same company should mail a copy of the Bulldog Rules for Business to them. All business starts with the interaction with customers. Any thought by a Vice President or higher in an organization that what they do makes the company money is a fantasy. Don’t misquote me on this subject. The need for strength at the top is critical, but the money is earned on the front-line. Real leaders live, work, and breathe on the front-line.
Where is the CEO at midnight or even 4am when the store opens? I have not seen a news story that mentions an executive helping out in a store the day after Thanksgiving. Leaders lead and don’t ask for more than they are willing to give. Want loyal customers? Be a loyal boss.
I am not writing this to stir the pot and make employees angry. The point is that often we make plans and hand them to the lowest paid person on the team to implement. If you work beside that employee, you can see the holes in the plan and make better plans. You will show any staff between your position and the front-line that you are not above doing any job and they dang well better not be either. Leadership starts with you. Show them, tell them, and then reward them for their hard work.
Be loyal to gain loyalty. Be respectful to be respected. Grow your business by growing with it.
Bob Griffin – CEO and Co-Founder