Sometimes we all have to look backward in order to move forward. As I work on my new book, I find myself returning to where I started.
As I make my way through writing my new book, I look at this photo and am reminded of how much can change (and stay the same) over an almost 4 decade career in one industry.
This was the first store I managed, and my first team.
I didn’t even know about diversity, inclusion or racial/gender bias then … all I knew was that I loved serving and helping others - it was where my self worth came from. Together, we took that store from losing money (50% below target) to almost quadrupling the turnover within 3 months.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but between the 4 of us, what we lacked in experience we made up for with passion, and a deep love of people. It saddens me to say it but even after 40 years, we still have “babies leading babies” with little to no development.
I can still remember each of them with great fondness!
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but between the 4 of us, what we lacked in experience we made up for with passion, and a deep love of people.
Let me introduce my team:
The beautiful Angela - a new University graduate who became my 2IC. With her endless wit and laughter she was destined for stardom, and went on to become a National TV Host for a children’s show for many years. A lot of her confidence came from working the “floor”.
Kenji … an international Japanese student who worked part time with us while attending University. He had the best sense of humor, and the customers loved him. I can’t recall what he was studying but I know he made cashing up on Thursday nights so much fun.
And Graham … gorgeous Graham, who was “sent” to me from another more senior Store Manager with the instructions, “He can’t really sell so give him a week and if you’re not happy, just fire him.” My heart hurt. Even back then I had a deep intuitive sense that people wanted to be their best - it’s just sometimes they didn’t know how to access that. Gosh, we were all only in our late teens, early twenties.
So, I told him the truth about what I had been told.
For those that know me well, you will know that “feedback” and “calling a spade a shovel” is what I am well known for. I really liked him, and I didn’t want that outcome for him. I also recall the look of fear on his face so we devised a plan as a team (which I now realize was “anchoring”), and in no time at all he was connecting with everyone. The result … he soon became one of the best sales people in our state!
Even back then I had a deep intuitive sense that people wanted to be their best - it’s just sometimes they didn’t know how to access that.