Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Curse of Efficiency

I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I like to think I'm pretty good at what I do for a living. I'm a Retail Store Manager, I've been successful in my career with five different retail companies -- in four different product lines -- over the past twelve years. Just about anyone can work in retail these days -- whether that's a cause or result of the great decline in the quality of service, I'm not sure.

I was hired into retail at an Army job fair in Germany, six months prior to my Honorable Discharge, by one of America's largest electronics retailers, to be a Store Manager when I returned to my home town. I took the job because it was better than the prospect of unemployment. I then mailed a letter to my future District Manager introducing myself and announcing that I would some day be his peer. Since then, four other retailers have hired me to manage a store for them.

My confidence (some would call it cockiness) is only one of the many tools in my arsenal that have helped me to achieve sustained success in an industry that I landed in by accident. I learned long ago the importance of organization, situational leadership, and the ability to vary my management style to match the various personalities of those I manage.

There are curses associated with success. The better you perform, the higher the expectations are for your continued performance. The more efficient and organized you are, the more you're called upon to rescue those found lacking in such skills.

I found myself today called upon in such a way. Just two days from completing the annual inventory process required of all merchants in America, I've been asked to spend the day tomorrow in a struggling store to help them get caught up in the count process. This store has had three different Managers in the past eight months, so the day promises to be a challenge. The commute will actually be a shorter drive for me tomorrow than if it were business as usual in my own store.

Such is the curse of my efficiency. At the crucial time of inventory I'll be away from my store with only one day to regroup when I return. But that's when another key to my success will come into play: successful people surround themselves with successful people. Those left behind will perform admirably in my absence.

And what of my bold prediction that I would someday be my bosses peer? It's a job that I've realized that I never want. I have too precious little time with my family now to even consider a position that would require me to travel all over the midwest to visit stores. Of course, I'll never let him know that. That's another of my secrets to success: never let them know when you're content.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

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