Just as they say that behind every successful man there is a strong woman, so it is that behind every successful business there is a strong team and, in the current climate, having a strong team has never been more important. So this month we take a look at how you can cultivate a Premiership winning team and stay out of the relegation zone (and why the only ones receiving the “hairdryer treatment” should be your clients).
RECOGNISE: “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition”. We live in a society where money is seen as the be-all and end-all, the goal, incentive and reward for all that we do and as such we “recognise” the hard work or the “good” that people do by paying them. Do a better job and you (should) get more “recognition”. But if this is REALLY true, then why do we read so often about high-flying executives leaving their six figure salary positions to take up teaching or go “self-sufficient” in the country? Here’s why. Because money doesn’t give you that warm glow of satisfaction that you feel when you receive “true” recognition for a job well done. Money doesn’t put a beaming smile on your face as when you receive a letter from a client saying how you made their day with the service you provided. The advert doesn’t say, “SAY IT WITH MONEY”! Genuine recognition and appreciation will generate more enthusiasm than money ever could and so if we want people to do a better job we should recognise the “GOOD” that they do and thank them for it, EVERY DAY. The pioneering American psychologist and philosopher William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the CRAVING to be appreciated”. Remember, “Money” fills the pocket, but “appreciation” fills the heart.
EVALUATE: “It’s not what you do that makes you great. It’s how good you are at what you do, that makes you great” Lance Armstrong isn’t famous for riding a bike; he’s famous for riding a bike better than anyone else on the planet. Sir Richard Branson isn’t famous for being an entrepreneur; he’s famous for being one of the greatest entrepreneur’s on the planet and Barack Obama isn’t famous for being a politician; he’s famous for being the president of the United states AND one of the most dynamic leaders of our time. So what do all of these people have in common? What makes them all GREAT? What do they all do CONSTANTLY to remain at the top of their game? They EVALUATE. They don’t just look at the elements of their job and ask, “Do I do that?” they look at EVERY single element of their job requirements and ask the more important question, “How good am I at that?” This needs to be done on a monthly basis with every member of staff. Every single element of a staff member’s position (and yours while you’re at it) should be written down, evaluated and marked out of 10. Only when every element of our position is put down on paper and evaluated can we see where we need to improve and it is through this constant evaluating and improving (or at least striving to improve) that not only do we, as individuals, grow but our business grows also. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
WRITE: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way” We’ve all heard the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do” and most of us can relate it to growing up being told not to do certain things whilst witnessing our parents doing the very things we’ve been told NOT to do! I remember my father flatly refusing to allow my brothers and I bikes with “dropped handlebar’s” because it would be “bad for your back” then, within a matter of months, buying himself a new bike with, you’ve guessed it, DROPPED HANDLEBAR’S! It’s amazing how often this sort of thing happens within a business and the damage it causes. Double standards are unacceptable in ANY business and “Lead by example” must be adopted at all times. Very often problems occur because, while staff members will know what hours they work, what their job is etc etc, they don’t know EXACTLY what is expected of them. This is why a “Code of conduct” is essential so that all team members (including you) will know EXACTLY what is expected of them and what is and isn’t acceptable. First, take a blank sheet on a flip chart and write at the top, “As your boss you can expect me to………” then agree with your team what they should expect from you. This could range from “always speak to team members in a civil and courteous manner” to “never ask a team member to do something I would not be prepared to do myself”. Expect a few cheeky answers like “increase my wages by 10% each year!” but once you have a list of “codes” that you all agree on save the list for a final draft copy which each team member will get a copy of. Next, take a fresh page and write at the top, “As a member of staff you can expect me to…..” and repeat the process by agreeing with staff members what EXACTLY can be expected of them. These “codes” may include “arrive at work no later than 5 minutes before my official start time” and “arrive for work in clean uniform/attire, with hair and makeup done”. Once this list is done, take both lists of “codes” and draft final copies which yourself and each member will sign and keep a copy of. If at any time you or a member of staff feel a “code” has been violated the situation can be assessed and rectified immediately.
AWARD: “Anyone who says “it’s the taking part that counts” has obviously never won anything”. Everybody likes to win, FACT. Whether it’s £10 on the lottery, that job you (and 100 others) applied for or the karaoke competition at your local. Whether we admit it or not, we naturally compete with those around us for a better job, more money, a better holiday, a better car. One of the first questions we ask a new acquaintance is “so what do you do”? What we REALLY want to know is, “do you have a better job than me and earn more money”? As vulgar as some may find this, it’s a fact of life and without this “natural competitiveness” life would be very dull indeed. So, with this “natural competitiveness” in mind, why not have monthly, quarterly and annual awards for your team with a trophy, badge and bonus for the winner. Monthly awards could be “Hair care expert of the month” for whoever sells the most products and “Colourist of the month” for whoever does the most amazing colour transformation. Quarterly awards could include “Most progressive stylist” for whoever has the biggest increase in takings or progresses most toward their next qualification and “Most recommended stylist” for whoever gains the most new clients. Annual awards could include the “Client care award”, “Client’s choice award” and “Team player award”. Not only should this keep healthy competition up amongst your team but it could also increase your retail & colour sales, client base and overall profits while recognising staff for their hard work.
REFRAIN: “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors”. Everyone at some point will have experienced the “sting” of criticism and felt the resentment that it breeds inside of us. This is usually the case when we work for someone who seems to do nothing but constantly point out what we are doing wrong whilst never acknowledging what we are doing right. This can even be the reason that we “go it alone” and start our own business. The “I’ll show you!” motive. Yet when business owners have no-one to answer to they quickly forget how damaging criticism can be and fall into the trap themselves. In the quest to improve or perfect their business they only notice the bad and ignore the good. This is like complaining about the smoke a fire produces and pouring on water whilst ignoring the beauty of the flames and the warmth it provides. A word of warning; too much water and all that you’ll have is a pile of damp wood and a cold camp.
DIRECT: “Before you set sail, make sure your crew are on board and you all know where you’re headed”. Imagine trying to captain a ship where the crew don’t know where you’re sailing for, how long they’ll be at sea or even if they’ll like it when they get there. Come to think of it, you don’t even have a proper map! Just a rough copy with the direction you think you should head in! Who knows if the route you take will be rough or smooth, short or long, or even get you there!? As absurd as this may sound, this is EXACTLY what many business owners do. They have an idea of where they want the business to be at some point in the future (NOTE I said “an idea” & “at some point” NOT “a plan” & “by the year X”) yet they fail to tell the “crew”. Why? Probably because they feel that it’s “their business” (quite literally) and if they explain their plans, and they fall through, they’ll look stupid in front of their subordinates. What they fail to realise is that “there’s strength in numbers”, “a problem shared is a problem halved” and “two heads are better than one”. DON’T TREAT YOUR CREW LIKE MUSHROOMS. Those whom you rely on to help your business succeed have the right to know your plans. No-one wants to see the business fail. The more the business succeeds the more those IN the business succeed. Everyone wins and, as we’ve covered, EVERYONE WANTS TO WIN. Therefore, what business owners MUST do is plot a DIRECT route to their goal, be DIRECT with staff members and inform them of their plans and DIRECT their staff in a manner that helps them get there. Remember, “A happy crew are a productive crew”.
STAFF ROOM: “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”. Ban all members of staff (including yourself) from the staff room unless they are on a designated break and ensure ALL mobiles are kept in the staff room on silent. The “Staff room” or to give it it’s proper name the “Skive room” is where a lot of time is spent and an even greater amount of opportunity is lost. Unless you are particularly good at cards the opportunity to earn money will never be found in the staff room. Staff members need to look at it this way: the more time they spend in the “skive room” the more they; eat and drink, gossip and moan and stare at the clock wishing it was time to go home. Therefore they; put on weight (more to moan about), feel depressed (moaning is contagious) and the day goes even slower. However, the more time they spend on the shop floor; the more they learn by watching senior members of staff, the more opportunities appear in the form of clients, the more jobs get done during the day and the more they learn about the running of a business. Therefore; the faster they learn the faster they (and you) earn, the more clients they get on board the more they (and you) earn, the more jobs that get done during the day the faster they (and you) get to leave at the end of the day and the more they learn about the running of the business the more they understand why you ask them to do certain things AND the more chance they have of being promoted to a higher position (and higher pay) whilst making your life easier. Business is like a “Magic eye” picture. Look at it one way and it makes no sense to you. But look at it another way and all of a sudden you “get the picture”. It’s all about perspective.
Adam Broomfield-Strawn is a salon business advisor, on-line author, Toastmasters speaker and is married to a salon owner and hairdresser of 16 years. His ongoing work is to raise the standards of service and ethics within the business. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org