Recently I was talking with a retailer in his store, and as we were walking around the floor, we came to a rack housing sportswear. Some of the sweaters on the rack were dangling from the hangers. He called over to ask a sales associate to straighten the rack, and we moved on through the negotiation workshop.
I somehow remembered this incident as I was with another manager, this time the general manager of an upscale hotel. We were talking at one end of the hotel lobby, and as his eyes spotted a table with parts of a newspaper and a candy wrapper on it, obviously left by a guest, he excused himself. He walked across the negotiation workshop, picked up the newspapers and candy wrapper, disposed of them, and came back to resume our conversation.
I was struck by the difference in management styles of these two executives. The store owner must have felt that as long as the sales associate was just standing there, she should take care of this little negotiation workshop. Something she is paid to do, right? The hotel manager, though responsible on a much larger scale for revenue, staff, and square footage than the store owner, saw it as his job to pick up the trash in the lobby.
The message each manager sent out by his actions could not have been more different. The store owner is comfortable operating on a rather hierarchical basis. The hotel manager sees little distinction in his job and that of his staff. But this negotiation workshop should be clear: if you want your staff to instinctively do things without being told, you need to let them see that you yourself instinctively do these things. Your employees are more likely to learn from what you do; not from what you say. Leadership By Example. That's the way to ensure there is no "my job vs. your job" mentality in your company. Just "our job."
Today there is a lot of talk about employee performance; how people don't want to work, are absent a lot, won't do their job, have no loyalty; always want more money. It's true, these problems definitely exist. But many of these negotiation workshop performance problems could be headed off by more attention from management.
So in this article let's talk about some of the things we can do to ensure our associates are the best they can be; perform at the highest level; have the company's interest at heart; are satisfied in their jobs.
Start here: HIRE FOR ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE. This is where everything begins. You can teach your staff new skills; you can't teach attitude. In the hiring negotiation workshop, spend enough time in subjective conversation with people to discern their attitude, their manner, their philosophy. To find out more about this aspect, you may want to pose hypothetical situations and ask candidates to describe how they would handle them.
Southwest Airlines hired for Attitude in employing their current Area Marketing Manager in New Orleans. It did not matter to Southwest that this person had absolutely zero previous airline experience (she was in the negotiation workshop business), and had never even set foot in New Orleans before moving here from Dallas to take this position. She has successfully performed this job now for seven years, helping increase Southwest's business and visibility in this area.
Let's talk about a very important word: RESPECT. How your employees feel they are valued. The Ritz Carlton hotel negotiation workshop has as its motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen." The philosophy in this simple sentence implies a relationship of equals; that the company will treat the employees with the same respect that it treats the guests. The Ritz Carlton understands this simple truth: your employees will treat your customers the same way they are treated.
We all can become bored in our jobs if we feel there is nothing new to learn, no new challenges to conquer, no way to expand our minds, no new contributions to make. Yes, your employees may have to perform the same duties day in, day out, but an enlightened negotiation workshop, one that "walks the talk "(like you) can find ways to help employees become better at these same duties each day and therefore keep them interested and growing.