Avoiding Failure Or Creating Success?



Years ago, Jaguar was a car known for a hefty price tag and poor quality. When Ford Motor Company acquired the brand they discovered that there were a number of employees whose only job was to try to catch all of the defects at the end of the manufacturing line.

Jaguar was clearly focused on trying to reduce failures instead of putting in place the improvements necessary to eliminate the defects. Ford eventually made changes to the assembly line to catch and immediately fix problems at the source. Not surprising the quality of the finished products improved.

I see the same thing happen with some managers and owners. They do what I call failure work. They adapt their work or the processes instead of fixing the source of the problem or issue.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say a store’s average sale is below target. The manager then instructs her staff to try to add something on at the counter during checkout to raise the average sale. That usually has minimal impact on the average sale, and slows down the check-out process.

A more productive option is for the manager to identify the reason or reasons the average sale is falling short of target. By observing her staff, she might discover that they’re too quick to stop the sale, or maybe the staff isn’t learning enough about the customer to be able to show and suggest higher price products. She can then use what she’s learned to address the issue and create long-term success.

The next time you find yourself trying to fix a problem, or improve the store or upgrade someone’s performance, stop and ask yourself if you’re adapting because of failure or addressing the issue to create success.

Here’s how to put this into action. With your management team, identify one or two aspects of your business you’d like to improve. Then list three to five actions you might take to achieve the desired results, and identify whether these actions are creating success or adapting to reduce failure.

So let me ask, are you avoiding failure or creating success?

Reprinted with permission from Doug Fleener of Dynamic Experiences Group. A Retail customer experience consulting firms that helps companies improve their customer experience and their sales results.

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