May 4, 2018
Steven Covey stated ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.’ Kevin Kruse argued in his Forbes article that this practice has the power to change one’s life. For many C-Store managers the main thing is to grow. They are expected to keep the store running and growing. But there is an every-day struggle for many just to keep the store running as it is. So how can a store manager keep growth as the main thing?
Change Is Required to Grow C-Stores
Growing a C-Store demands new things to happen (more customers, better upselling, improved interactions, etc.) Making things better by training your staff and improving the store appearance takes time away from the existing workload. There is a natural conflict between doing the existing work and trying to further develop people and systems. For many, ‘change while you go’ cannot be avoided if you want to also ‘grow while you go’. That is, we must keep the stores running and make improvements ‘as we go’.
Making Time Available to Grow C-Stores
Since time is limited, focusing on the main thing each day is critical. One way to make time available is to eliminate low value work and only address those tasks that bring the highest value. That means, that we must choose the balance carefully:
- too much and we overload,
- too little and the customer or growth suffers.
Setting Priorities for the Main Thing
Balancing the need for change with existing daily work is made easier by setting priorities. Identify which work items are the main things. Prioritize so work is sequenced from most important to least important. In this way, the work that is not done (i.e., not a main thing) is automatically the work that has the least value. Hence the very definition of productivity is met – replace less important work with higher value work. The key then is picking the right things- setting the C-Store Performance expectations.
Know the Priorities of the Main Thing
Providing guidance through information, training and software makes it easier for managers choose and accomplish the most important work each day. A direct way to help achieve growth is providing the employee development and software so its easier to set priorities. How easy is it for your managers to know answers to key questions for your company, district or store? The less time spent finding answers the more time there is for implementing needed changes. For example:
- Same day sales – was it a good day compared to last year?
- Monthly sales – what are the trends?
- Top selling items – anything new selling?
- Items that are not selling at all – what happened?
- Customer feedback – what do they want so they come back?
- Communication – what feedback needs to be shared?
- Accountability – are all the shifts doing them completely?
- Shift Duties – any special training needed?
- Staff Development – are we engaging our customers?
- Manager Growth – what inspections items failed?
- Store inspections – are the stores how they should be?
- Staff review – are there specific areas that need improvement?
- Store maintenance items – is everything working?
- Employee support – are my cashiers getting the support they need?
Focus – Knowing the Main Thing
If there is a place that the most important information can be found so that the manager is not wasting time gathering and sharing the information, then it becomes a quick check to decide what things need attention. Creating a list of the priorities that must be done makes work faster and even easier. Sometimes the hardest problem is just figuring out what to do first. So make it easy for yourself and your team. List the priorities. Keep the main thing the main thing.
For more information on C-Store Performance – Accountability
You may also want to read about our blog on C-Store Operations – Keep It Simple – The Hard Work?