Hardware Retailing

SEP 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Independent Thinking Y ou're really not needed much, there are no fires to put out and you're relatively relaxed at the end of the day. You take your family on a nice vacation at the beach, and you don't have to call the store four times a day. Does this sound like your life? Or, maybe, chaos is a better word to describe your life. Some of us have lived with chaos for so long, we'd feel guilty if our lives got a little more relaxed. Chaos makes us feel really needed after all. But, if your life were a little less chaotic, what would you do? In your personal life, you might spend more time with your family, coach the Little League team, volunteer at your church or civic organization, or maybe just golf, fish or exercise a little more. In your professional life, you might spend time thinking about growing your business or building better management processes. You might have time to attend more shows, industry events or other retailers' stores. You could spend more time thinking about the future and less time thinking about the fires you have to put out today. If you don't have a strong bench, you can't delegate because nobody has the skills. Someone quits and there's nobody to fill the gap. You want to buy another store, but you don't have another manager. You're left dealing with all of the messes while sifting through the details of every problem. Develop a stronger bench and you'll calm the chaos. The search for talent can be discouraging. Unemployment rates are low; there is strong competition for good people. Turnover in our industry is also a fact of life. These are even more reasons to invest in building your bench. Investing in the development of people on your bench is key to attracting and retaining the people you want. When people know they are being prepared for the next steps in their careers, they want to stay. When you need to replace someone who has decided to leave, someone is ready to take their place. If your management bench is deep, you're able to delegate the details and work on your future. Make developing your bench strength an intentional part of what you do as a leader in your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started. No matter how large or small, develop a strategic plan and write it down. There are plenty of resources out there to help you with the planning process; it doesn't have to be complicated. Just spend some time with your family and key employees thinking seriously about the direction you want to take your company. And give some thought to the culture and values you want to embody and share with your employees and customers. Once you get more clarity about your direction and values, you'll understand more about the talents and skills your people will need to help you achieve your strategic goals. Look at every position in your company and evaluate how each person meets the job requirements of today and the needs of the next three years. If some of today's employees need development, work with them on a specific written development plan. Does everyone have a backup either in place or being developed? Are there new positions that need to be added? Again, commit this plan to writing and discuss it with your managers. What remains is the commitment to a schedule and the financial resources to get it done. Remember, this is an ongoing investment. Put it in your budget and stick with it. A strong bench will transform your business and your life. Bill Lee, President and CEO blee@nrha.org " Investing in the development of people on your bench is key to attracting and retaining the people you want. " Build Your Bench HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2017 8

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