Not Just You…You Plus One

One of my mentors always claims, “The store is a stage.” And you know what? I believe him. Because when the retail show starts, we can’t afford to be unprepared. If we are, we’ll get booed off. Possibly shut down before our run is though.

So, if you are the sort of person who needs three espresso shots before you can open your eyes, or if you need a half-hour of idle chit chat before you’re able to effectively communicate, then you better make damn sure such madness happens before clocking in—ideally before you set foot in the shop, but definitely prior to unlocking the front freaking door.

Paul Hoover, my JV basketball coach used to holler at the team when we weren’t ready at the very second practice started. “Show up ready or don’t show up at all,” he’d scream. He’d make us run lines, shoes tied or not, pants pulled up or not, while he’d incessantly yell, “One second late is late! Two seconds late is twice as late!” Back then, I thought he was a hard ass, but I realize now he was simply demanding the team’s collective dedication. Now I can appreciate the work ethic he was trying to instill in all of us and wonder what the retail equivalent of running lines is (?).

Frankly, besides the fact that it’s super rude and wicked bad form to expect an employer to reward an employee (as in, pay them) to fully wake up, it’s also a huge liability to business and high-quality service if staffers aren’t at their best when the curtain opens.

I once saw a sign in a burger joint that said, “New employee incentive program: work hard and then get paid!” I love the simplicity of this message.

Doesn’t mean folks aren’t allowed to be human and gradually get better and better as the day progresses. Doesn’t mean they aren’t afforded some time to warm-up a bit. But employees do need to show up with an intentional attitude of preparedness. Ready to jump for the high bar without yawning and scratching bellies between attempts. Ready to rock and roll.

Employees who are too entitled to dive right in and work hard deserve the boot.

I don’t know about you, but any time I’ve been on a team where a coach allows players to be lazy, I resent their leadership. I lose motivation. I may still work hard, sure, but I’m less invested. Which means that over time, I also become a liability.

Fact is, the best staffers want to be held to the highest standards. But they also want these standards to apply to everyone, not just people with a solid work ethic and genuine willingness to bust their butt for retail chump change.

Now, just because I’m calling the store a stage doesn’t mean retail employees must take on a persona that doesn’t exemplify their true nature. No way. But just like an actor needs a little makeup to be seen, or has to exaggerate movement for dramatic effect, retail professionals need to amplify themselves on the floor. They need to bring themselves, plus one.

They shouldn’t be fake, or put on airs that make their role seem like a schtick. They should, however, add some juice to their normal behavior. No matter whether their shift is three hours long or eight and some overtime, the “plus one” becomes their baseline floor behavior when on the clock. No exceptions.

Your team needs to always be in plus one mode. They get on stage and give it their all:

Every. Single. Freaking. Day.



Tom Griffen is a highly sought after trainer and presenter whose message transcends industries. He’ll help you raise the bar while you reinvent your business.

Contact him: make the change you’ve been talking about.

Also check out Tom’s January 2018 Walk Across America! YES…you can still hire him during this adventure! Book your dates today!

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