Furnishing Ideas

David Stewart

March has nothing on the Madness of Retail

March 23, 2015

One day during high school basketball practice, I wasn’t passing the ball the way my coach would have liked. I was the best player on the team; so naturally, I felt I was the best person to be in control of the offense. There’s not an “I” in team but there is an “I” in win, right?

Suddenly! The whistle blew and Coach Murr yelled my name. I was pretty sure he was going to make a teaching point about something awesome I had just done. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be; after all, I did a lot of pretty great things (or so I thought).

He did make a teaching point and he did use me to make it, just not in the way I had expected.

“Doug! Get over to the sideline!” I sprinted over and put my toes on the line. Coach Murr threw me a ball and told me to hold it in my left hand over my head. “How much does that ball weigh?” I had no clue and thought it might be a trick question so I shrugged my shoulders in confusion. “22 ounces, only 22 ounces. Since you like having the ball in your hands, hold that ball up over your head for the next 10 minutes. Then, if you’re ready to be a part of the team, you can get back on the court”.

Irritated by this silly demonstration, I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous. Is he trying to embarrass me? Doesn’t he know I’m immune to embarrassment? Doesn’t he know that I’m the (self appointed) class clown?

Before that thought could leave my mind, I felt this weird tingle in my arm. That little tingle quickly turned into the feeling of all the blood rushing out of my upstretched arm. “Man this ball is getting heavier”. Then the deep burn set in. I was sure that the blood in my arm had been replaced with molten lava. Then, the shaking started. “How long has it been?” “90 seconds!” Someone shouted from the bleachers. At that moment I got the message loud and clear.

“It’s not how heavy a thing is, it’s how long you have to hold it”

In the Furniture/Bedding industry we have owners, managers, RSA’s and leaders who are holding far too much for far too long. We tend to think we are the best player so the ball is naturally better off in our hands.

That’s true, until it’s not…

What part of your business have you been holding by yourself for too long? Maybe its time for you to PASS the ball.

P – Promote:

Is there someone on your team who has earned the right for more responsibility? Often, responsibility is as good as a raise. Giving responsibility tells your people you trust them and have faith that they can get the job done.

A- Assist:

There are some things that you just can’t let go of. Maybe its too complex or just too much for one person. This often times happens with categories like protection programs. The best option is to not let go 100% but to find a champion who will drive as you direct. Think in terms of a coach/player relationship. Find a champion and coach them toward success.

S- Sacrifice the good for the great:

In the Furniture/Bedding business everything seems important all the time. It’s exhausting. Make sure you are spending your time on the most important things and delegating or deleting the rest.

S- Say No!

Saying no to the good allows you to say yes to the great. Make sure you are saying no to the right things so you can say yes to the most important things in your business.

PASS the ball in your business and you won’t feel the burn of trying to hold it all by yourself. What could you add to the conversation?

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