Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Retail Repair Man

No, I'm not a mister fix-it. Not in the traditional sense of the word. But I've been giving some thought lately to how my career in Retail has gone since leaving the Army 13 years ago (WOW, has it REALLY been that long?). Mainly because of my most recent transfer to a store half the distance from home, but very, very broken.

See, in my new store, I've been there for just over a week now, and I've already had to release four Associates from employment. Some for policy violations they didn't even commit (my successor hired them in violation of policy), but most of them because they just don't want to work when they're needed. Just last week, my first full week in the store, I had three Associates who failed to come to work or call in when scheduled. I guess this could be because there's a new Sheriff in town, and they figured their days were numbered, anyway.

But this is what got me thinking about the past. Take a look at my last few assignments in Retail (company names withheld). It all started several years ago when I left a major electronics retailer. My wife and I were very unhappy with where we lived and with the store I was assigned to, and we left the company to relocate back to central Indiana. The company that I joined at this time placed me in the most broken store in the District. After just two brief weeks of training, I was running the store that needed the most help. As I turned things around at that store, circumstances that I will not go into caused me to leave their employ just before my one year anniversary.

Again, I joined another new company, commuting over two hours each way, to the most broken store in the District again. This store had not had a Store Manager in place for several months prior to my arrival. This store wasn't even in the same District that I had been hired for, but they transferred me to this other District because they were desperate for someone that could affect change. I did just that, for not quite a year, before moving on again to a my present company -- a company that had initially planned to place me in a store within a one hour commute from my home.

That didn't happen. My first assignment with this new company was again a two hour commute each way, and it was again a broken store. The Store Manager I was to replace spent more time out on medical leave than he actually did in the store. I went into the store and cleaned house. At the time of my recent transfer three years later, I had replaced the entire store staff. The store is now managed by three people that I hired, trained, and promoted.

Now, I'm once again in a broken store. This new store had no discipline whatsoever under my predecessor's leadership. I went from the store with the highest Customer Service scores in the District to the store with the lowest Customer Service scores in the District. I have begun, already, to clean house, with the termination of four very unproductive, unreliable individuals. I'm hoping it has sent a much needed message to the remaining staff that I mean business and that I plan to succeed, with or without their help.

It may look good to some that I'm Mr. Fix-It, but it sure isn't much fun.

Joe

1 comment:

Lisa Dash-Grimes said...

I would like very much to speak with Joe,, the retail manager of a broken store.

I am a recruiter fo Toys r Us and I am always looking for strong store managers.

please feel free to contact me at 973-617-4275
www.toysrusinc.com

Lisa Dash-Grimes
Manager of Talent Acquisition
Toys R Us
dashl@toysrus.com

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