YOU Are the Action Plan

If retail’s your thing, like engineering’s an engineer’s thing or fixing cars is a mechanic’s thing, then most days your nine-to-five is pretty easy. There may be aspects of your job that make people see what you do as tricky or adventurous, but to you, for the most part, it’s a cake walk.

Various reasons make you the right person for the job. To try and list all your spot-on qualities would oversimplify things. Still, here are a few no-brainers:
1. You’re nice
2. You like to help people
3. You’re enthusiastic
4. You’re a good communicator
5. You’re a problem-solver

But gosh-darn-it, you are so much more than this.

These days you can’t escape lists. Lists that line out who to hire, what qualities to look for, when to kick someone to the curb. Lists with insight about slinging more of your anchor product, or how to sell that thing you’re dusting off more than ringing up. You can find the top five ways to manage inventory, or the top eleven strategies to diversify your customer base.

It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Many of my retail clients demand lists from me but call them by a different name—action plans. Clients want training (and rightly so), then afterwards they need something that tells them exactly how to implement the training. I get it. I’ve been in their shoes. But I’m not going to lie, this request always bums me out a little.

I want to tell them to listen to their gut. To have faith in themselves and their ideas. But when I do, they want a two-page handout.

Maybe my background in education makes it hard for me to give away cheat sheets. Or maybe I trust that learners will hen-peck what they need from my content and apply it in their own way. Bottom line—I’m an advocate for independent and creative thinking, not than someone who enables conductors to drive from the caboose.

Retail is a wildly-creative endeavor. And just like art, the best kind comes from our guts. It represents the artist. This means it might be filled with fast movement and crazy colors. But it also might be totally chill, drab, and kind of sullen. Neither is better or worse as long as it’s an authentic representation. The best art doesn’t need everyone to like it, either.

But authenticity requires personal vulnerability—which is why so many artists/retailers often display what they think the world wants rather than put on display their genuine, interesting, amazing, and worthwhile selves.

What if everyone gave their genuine self to the world. Imagine if your store truly represented you and what you believed in. How cool would that look?

In an age of data overload, we ought to treat our research like a walk through a museum. It’s a search for inspiration, not information. You are moved by this painting, turned off by that one. You don’t see the collection’s centerpiece because a minuscule detail of something else brought you to your knees.

Savvy retailers take what they need from this and that, then weave it into their own unique action plan. They never, never lose sight of who they are.

And that’s what customers adore.


Tom Griffen is a highly sought after presenter whose message untitled-596transcends industries. He’ll help you alter your narrative in a way that adds joy, satisfaction, and overall success to your life. Contact him to make a change

Coming soonNo Plan B, Tom’s book on altering the customer service story you’ve been telling for years.

Also…Check out Tom’s upcoming Walk Across America! 3800-miles, 6 months, and more than 7 million steps. 

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