After writing my first post on Lessons Learned at Work, I thought of even more things that I’ve learned from my job. Enough for two more posts actually, so here is the second of what has become a three part series.
Routines are the bomb!
You’re probably thinking that routines are boring. Well, maybe so, but they are necessary to success. You need to know what tasks need to be completed each day, and then create a routine to ensure that they are. It doesn’t have to complicated.
I start each of my shifts the same way. I walk the backroom to ensure that everything is on track, I then check e-mail, and the call out log. After this I finalize trucks, and begin planning the night and deciding who will work what areas of the store. All of which is important to complete before ten when my third shift comes in. It’s simple but important to the success of our night.
Be flexible in your routine
Shit happens. We all know this. Especially in retail when direction can change several times over the course of a day, or in my case night. So you have to be able to adjust, and not completely lose your focus on the day to day while taking care of the unexpected. Maybe the backroom is behind when I come in, or I have an upset customer to take care of. Either of these issues would take priority over the usual routine, so I have to adjust without losing sight of what still needs to be done.
Planning, Communication and Touring are the keys to success
These are the three things my Store Manager told me to really focus on when I became an assistant manager.
It’s true that if you don’t plan, you will fail. It’s happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to others. You need to have a plan for the day, and you need to look ahead and plan for events. In retail, we have to plan things like staffing, and what will be featured, so that we know that we will have enough people to take care of customers, and the products that they are looking for.
Communication is also key. While I know that my Store Manager doesn’t need to know about every issue that comes up, that’s what he has me for, there are things that he needs to know. And it is my job to communicate those things to him in a timely and effective manner.
Touring is so important in retail, and I imagine in other businesses too. You can’t spend all your time in the office. You have to get out on the sales floor. That’s the only way you’ll really see the issues that you need to fix. It’s also the best way to get to know the people that work with you, and to communicate to them the needs of the business.
Don’t sit at the back table
The advice experts will say that this is an issue that most women have. That we don’t lean in. To them I say – whatever! It’s not just an issue for women, but we get called out on it more than men. This is an introverted issue. We introverts, of both genders, have to fight our natural urge to just blend in. Because that is what I want to do when I’m in a big meeting, especially if it’s with people I don’t know very well. I want to go unnoticed.
But to get anywhere in life, you have to get noticed. So, I tell myself what my boss Lisa told me once, “We don’t sit at the back. We sit at the front.” It’s hard for my naturally shy self, but I know her advice is good.
Be a mentor
One of the best things about being in management is being a mentor to associates. It is a wonderful thing to take someone under your wing, to teach them what you know, and to help them develop their natural talents. And knowing that you had a part in helping them succeed is an amazing feeling.
So, what are some lessons that you’ve learned at work? What do you think are the keys to success?