Monday. Fred reminds me that March 4th is the only day of the year that is also a command. He asks me if I’m going to use that to celebrate my achievements and set new goals.
“Maybe if it wasn’t so close to New Year’s,” I say. “I’m seeing a lot of failed resolutions and we’re only eight weeks in.”
I emphasize how being in the café business allows me to see and listen firsthand to people profess change but ultimately slide back into old habits.
“In January, our skim milk consumption increased four-fold. Everyone was on a diet,” I offer. “By the first of February, low-fat milk is the sole domain of ladies who lunch, and vegans who cheat.”
Tuesday. Fred sends me a link to the 25 most inspirational songs of all time. There’s Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire, and a couple of tracks from the Rocky movies.
“Put these on the store playlist,” he says. “Start your day with a staff pep talk, and crank these loud. Get them motivated to strive for excellence. To march forth and conquer.”
This in response to my having told him that I’ve been struggling to find the antidote for complacency that I fear has permeated the rank and file. No longer does it suffice to rely on the communication book to point out the things that were missed. My ‘Discipline Equals Freedom’ approach has lost its edge. I’m loathe to micro-manage. I think it’s time for some one-on-one. Or at least a staff meeting.
Wednesday. I call up Faith at the Morgan Crossing store, and we talk staff motivation. She tells me she’s split her regular to-do list into tasks and assigned them to various shifts. Rather than make any one person responsible for a particular thing, or have to rely on everyone being generalists and doing everything, she has a specific shift responsible for specific tasks.
“Funny how that much coveted ten thirty to seven shift fell out of favor when it got assigned bathroom maintenance,” she says. “But the nine o’clock dust and fluff is in huge demand.”
That triggers my rant. “Where did this sense of entitlement come from,” I query. “Haven’t they had to walk to and from school up hill in the snow with newspaper in their shoes?”
Faith struggles to hold back her laughter. “How old are you exactly?”
Granted, I may be a victim of an Eastern European immigrant’s work ethic, but I don’t think the advent of the iPhone precludes anyone from working hard. You just can’t call it in, and expect to succeed.
Thursday. I sit down with Ben, and tell him it’s time for everyone to undergo a performance review. I remind him that each of his hires were brought on board for attitude, and that we trained for skill. I go on to pitch the concept of March Forth, reiterating my belief that this is a perfect time for each employee to re-set their goals for the year.
“Let’s get back to the Four Seasons standard of excellence,” I say. “I know none of these kids are going to be baristas forever, but on the highway of life, this pit stop should at least help cultivate a desire to do the best possible job in any circumstance.”
He thinks about it for a minute, and then volunteers Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive as his pick for the lead-off song at the pep rally.
Friday. Fred calls to remind me not to take the concept of March Forth too seriously. He tells me about a guy he knew that rented costumes for his staff, having everybody dress up like Revolutionary War soldiers. They convened in a Save-On Foods parking lot and practiced marching in unison.
I asked about the outcome of that team building exercise. Apparently there was a mutiny, forcing that guy out of retail. He’s now a stay-at-home dad and part-time video game tester.
“I’ll take that under advisement,” I tell Fred, and with that, I log onto iTunes, and start a new playlist.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
Call the store: 604.633.2451
Call my mobile: 604.376.3464
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
Watch: youtube.com search mink chocolates
In Person: 863 Hastings Street West, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N9
Nine out of every ten persons say they love chocolate. The tenth lies.
– Anthelme Brillat-Savarin