Shined Shoes save lives…

Discipline in Salon SoftwareAt the end of last year, we lost one of our truly great leaders.  That man was General Norman Schwarzkopf.  You might remember that the General was the coalition leader during the nearly casualty-free Iraq war.  Yup, the one all about oil…that wasn’t supposed to be…all about oil.

But politics aside.  No one would ever question Schwarzkopf’s unique ability to lead the military.  He was one of the best in history.

Well, I recently read some things that were often quoted by him during his post-career speaking tour.  You know…his philosophy on leadership, success and standards.  And I wanted to share a few that you can really relate too.  Things all about salon management.

Here they are…

* Shined Shoes save lives

What he meant by that statement is that people who can’t get the easy, little things right, consistently, cannot be depended on to get the big things right when they have too.  Like at critical junctures on the battlefield.  In fact, they’re much more likely to get themselves killed or worse yet…their soldier buddies killed.

People who can’t learn self-discipline can learn little else and can never be trusted.  They’re undependable.  This is true in the salon industry well.  I’m sure you can think of a few people…right off the top of your head.

* Leadership is not about being right but about making things turn out right.

In other words, leaders will set a direction, a goal , a plan and it rarely goes in a straight line from inception to fruition.  There is a whole lot of zigs, zags, u-turns and detours along the way.  Never judge people on the slight failures and mistakes made during their forward progress…but on the totality of their successes.

* Rationalizing the relaxation of standards ultimately leads to no standards at all.

It’s not easy to reverse course once permissiveness and casualness have been let in as part of the fabric.  How do you restore a sense of urgency to complete tasks when procrastination and excuse-making are now the norm?

Whether it’s making sure that all client information is captured (and entered) into your salon software each day or that physical inventories are done once a month or that the phone is answered by the 3rd ring.  It’s all important…it’s a standard that we set.

In the words of marketing guru Dan Kennedy, “Today, we live in an increasingly sloppy society, with it’s sloppiness sanctioned.  It affects everybody, even me.  A business (or society) today without strict standards is doomed”

The questions are: what are yours?  How are they communicated?  And more importantly…how are they enforced?

When you get a chance…go pull up a client list from your computer.  Check to see just how names are spelled.  How capitalization is used or not used.  How many clients have complete information, email addresses, or cell phone numbers?

If you’re doing a great job…I salute you.  If you’re not…”get your shoes shined” and put systems and standards in place to keep them that way.   Shined shoes save businesses too.

Clients notice.  Believe it.

As always, aim high…and dream even higher…

Steve Sampson


3 Responses to “Shined Shoes save lives…”

  1. Sharon Riordan on February 13th, 2013 2:48 am

    I agree with you.

  2. Kristin on February 13th, 2013 1:19 pm

    Clients definitely notice when you spell their names right/wrong. It is in the little things. Great info!

  3. Gary Puccio on February 13th, 2013 4:38 pm

    I enjoyed your article on leading. I have been a stylist for 40 yrs and have owned for most of those years, I don’t feel we could lead today the same way I was led. That’s not said to be good or bad just different. Maybe my generation had thicker skin or just more accustomed to stricter coaching.. Teaching by example works best for me and asking for their opinion puts everyone on a equal plane. Last but not least continuous education keeps the juices flowing.I didn’t always think this way but this is where my path has taken me. 🙂

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