Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who's Minding The Store?

You Have To See Things For Yourself

By David Miranda

Corporate America is blessed with many highly educated executives whose resumes' are filled with post-secondary degrees and certifications. A considerable number, however, lack the common sense, empathy, and practical experience to run a successful department, division, or company. They have graduated from the classroom to the meeting room without "rolling up their sleeves" or "getting their hands dirty" on the shop floor, behind the counter, on the phone bank, in the warehouse, or wherever else the business is really done. And for these businesses, it shows. Regardless of what is learned in a classroom, there is no substitute for getting on the front lines of the enterprise and seeing it for yourself.

Ray Kroc, the legendary founder of McDonald's would visit his stores, cook a few burgers, work the counter, and, yes, pick up trash in the parking lot. When asked the secret of McDonald's success, he said "We take the hamburger business more serious than anyone else".

Norman Brinker, the founder of Brinker International, would require new corporate management to work a week in a one of his restaurants washing dishes, bussing and waiting tables, prepping, cooking, and bartending as a prerequisite for a desk job. He also required them to pull a restaurant management shift visiting each and every table to thank guests and solicit first-hand feedback.

Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, the co-founders of Home Depot, were reknown for putting on the famous orange aprons and touring their stores to get "up close and personal" with their business. The company, during their tenure, was a perennial top performer as a most admired company by their customers and employees.

If you are cloistered in your office, shackled to your desk, held hostage at meetings, rely on second or third hand information on "how things are going", chances are you are out of touch and have abdicated your responsibility of "minding the business".

Get out, get out often and introduce yourself to your business.

See what's happening!