The biggest thing I miss not running Toy House is my staff. I miss the daily interactions. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the laughter and jokes. I miss the smile stories we shared at the beginning of each staff meeting. I miss the “Aha” moments during those staff meetings when light bulbs went off or new ideas sunk in.
Of all the things we accomplished at Toy House over the years I am most proud of creating a team that other people recognized for being at the pinnacle of what retail is all about. The day we announced our closing I fielded several phone calls from people wanting to know how soon they could start hiring away my staff. Every single caller said the same thing … “I know the quality of people you have on your team …”
A few weeks ago a wise woman said,
“The greatest thing we can give is good people back to society.” -Mary Ben Woolbright
She was talking about being parents as we watched a mutual friend’s daughter graduate college. She could very well be talking about our role as managers of people, too.
Mike Rowe does a television show about Dirty Jobs, but we all know retail and its kin sister, food service, are the lowest rungs on the employee food chain.
If nothing else, we owe it to our staff to give them the tools to better their lives, whether that’s through education, learning new skills, or simply learning how to be “good people”. If we don’t do that for them, we do them and our business a disservice.
If we do that for them, we create a culture where everything is possible, where people want to work, people want to shop, people want to be. If we do that for them, we give good people back to society and help individuals achieve their dreams.
This is a mindset. Not every employer has that mindset (but wouldn’t it be great if they did?) If you don’t have that mindset, tomorrow’s post won’t be for you.
If you do have a similar mindset, tomorrow I will share with you some of the things I did to try to give good people back to society (hint: it helps to start with good people in the first place, but then you have to nurture it, too.)
This mindset served my team well. Every person on my team that wanted work, found it quickly, and in many cases found better work than even I could offer them. It also served my customers well. That’s why my phone was ringing off the hook. Other employers liked the standards we set and wanted the people who met those standards.
When I look back on 2017, that is what makes me happiest.
PS Go read my free eBook Understanding Your Brand in the Free Resources section of my website. I’ll reference it tomorrow, but to give you a heads up, you can read it today.
PPS Please forgive my humble brag. We weren’t perfect. Far from it. There are so many things I wish I had done better. So many things I left undone (or even unstarted). I wasn’t always the best boss. One thing that made it work, though, was that we always strove to be better. Start with that. Start with where you are right now and figure out small incremental steps to get better. You’ll be amazed how quickly steps turn into leaps.