Monday, June 9, 2008

Three Extra Hours

In February, Starbucks closed all their U.S. stores for three hours for an employee training session. That’s right; they closed all of their stores during a peak period of the early evening and then opened them all up again before closing at their regular time. In our 24/7/365 world, this seems almost unthinkable, especially for an establishment that sells coffee, the fuel that enables us to live with little downtime.

The press that followed, commented on Starbucks need to get refocused and to bring all of their employees in line with their corporate plan. Strategic planning and alignment is critical for business success. Or they commented on the need to re-instill the importance of superb interactions with their customers. After all, it is the atmosphere of the stores that really brings us all back and positive customer experience is critical for business success. Or they focused on the training that would enable the employees to produce the consistent quality cup no matter what the variety of additives. When we go into a Starbucks anywhere in the US (and even internationally) we don’t want any surprises. Consistency and efficiency are critical to business success.

All important actions. In fact, our consulting group works with clients on each one of these aspects and more. They are all important to business success.

However!

There is another lesson. What would life be like if you were to shut down your operations for three hours? Just three hours! What could you accomplish in that time period without email, internet, phone and visitors? When was the last time that you had three uninterrupted hours to do anything let alone think?

I suspect you could get a significant amount of really important work done. It would be the thinking type of work that always gets pushed aside by more “urgent” matters or fire fighting. While you would have to adjust to not having many of the tools at hand during the period, you would be able to retrain your mind to do the work it really was created for you to do and make use of your core talents.

Giving executives these three hour periods is also something that we do in our consulting group. One of the results of the work described above is a focus on what is really important and then creating the means to capitalize on it most effectively. The company gets the means to accelerate its business progress and the leaders get the time to focus on what is most important to them including think time.

An impossible task? Not at all. Starbucks did it in more than 12,000 stores. You can do it too. If you want some help, call us and we can not only help you create the plans that will drive business progress but will also get you the uninterrupted think and work time that will make your business better than ever.

Three extra hours!

John


John Maver
President
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

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1 comment:

Lewis Green said...

John,

Great post. If done right, trading sales for training is an excellent tradeoff. Companies that create great customer experiences are rewarded with increased revenues and profits. And frequent training and communications are needed for employees to deliver great customers experiences.