Breaking the Comfort Zone
Support peer support. It’s important that every employee supports one another in their individual development. This creates a positive sense of teamwork, and encourages employees to share their skills and knowledge with one another. When there’s an opportunity for role-play, one employee should play himself or herself, another play customer, and a third act as an objective and silent observer. At the completion of the role-play, the employees should talk specifically about what they felt went well and what might have gone better. The “customer” should talk about the overall experience, and the observer should offer their take on the situation as a third party. The “employee” should focus on his or her own overall performance. This triad approach frees the “customer” and “employee” to concentrate on their respective roles, and less on observation, resulting in a more natural scenario. As time allows, the employees should switch roles so everyone has the chance to play each part. And of course, you must participate in the same skills practices your employees are working on.
Recognize changes in behavior. Whether or not your team has achieved the goal of your Learning Priority, once the stated timeframe has elapsed it’s time to evaluate the results. If the objective has been achieved, it’s important to recognize and reward the team. If progress hasn’t been made, it’s crucial to not simply give up and return to the status quo. Recap the Learning Priority to your team and ask for thoughts on why it wasn’t attained. Was the timeframe too short? Were there outside forces that affected the activity? Solicit ideas from your team on how the Learning Priority can be revised. The goal is to look for opportunities to improve, not excuses.
The phrase “practice is everything” has morphed over the centuries into “practice makes perfect”. This maxim is certainly true in a single venue with no discernable variables. But within a constantly changing setting, such as a retail sales floor, it’s nearly impossible to achieve perfection. While the physical structure and ambient characteristics may remain the same over time, products, goals, and even customers change on a nearly constant basis. The key to succeeding in this environment is to continually practice in it. That’s the most effective way to increase your staff’s percentage of shots that make it through the hoop.