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Time for a REALITY CHECK!

Reality CheckHere’s a question asked by a coaching client recently which I think we can all relate to. (And the answer might give you a whole new perspective on your role with your staff!)

“After each training, my staff put their learning into practice for a few days while it’s fresh in their mind, but the biggest challenge is consistency. How can I make these new behaviours happen consistently without becoming frustrated, nagging them or feeling like I’m constantly ‘on their case?’ What’s the magic solution?”

 That’s the million-dollar question for all of us, and I believe the short answer is this:

You and I know that building a successful salon business takes so much more than just doing great hair or fabulous facials. But they are not you or I. They didn’t become hairdressers or therapists to follow systems, track their re-booking rates or grow their retail percentages. They did not dream of this career to achieve targets and make lots of money. They became hairdressers and therapists to do exactly what they do when you take the pressure off- Just do treatments and make people happy.

 Is it possible to get them to do both?

Yes! It is possible to get them to perform to the level of polished, efficient professionals, BUT because it’s not their natural state, they are unlikely to do it without constant guidance and coaching from you. And, as soon as you take your focus and attention away from this, they are very likely to slowly revert back to what is comfortable for them: doing great hair/ski treatments and making people happy!

Imagine you’re naturally right handed and I ask you to write left handed while at work. With practice and constant reminding, I could probably get you to do this with some level of success, but does that mean that you’ll always pick up a pen with your left hand from now on? No. You’ll revert to what is comfortable for you. Without thinking about it, you’ll pick up the pen with your right hand until I remind you or gently take the pen from your right hand and put it in your left (with an encouraging smile J).

Will my getting frustrated with you make you more naturally left handed? No, but it will make you resent me and really crush your enjoyment for your work. After a while, you probably wouldn’t want to work there anymore.

Expecting them to perform flawlessly, without continual input from you at their level of experience is probably unrealistic, so the best advice I can give you is: stop expecting them to.

I don’t mean drop your work standards or compromise your expectations. Your team must know exactly how you want them to do every part of their job, why it’s important and how you will measure their success but that does not mean that, left to their own devices, they won’t revert to doing what they love to do. Hair? Skin? Nope!

There needs to be someone who coaches them and reminds them what they need to focus on throughout the day, every day. Few of them will have a ‘leadership personality’; most are followers and will probably respond best to encouraging but clear and constant guidance. They need that continual input and will probably perform well for you if they get it in a positive way.

Share your vision of where you see the salon and what makes you different to others. Inspire them with your goals and the importance of excellent service…. but don’t expect them to do it automatically, like you would.

In summary: They won’t do what you want, without you (or a great coach) leading from the front, setting the pace and expecting them to do it on auto-pilot will only make you more & more frustrated and make work unpleasant.

Don’t get angry with them. Appreciate that their magic is in their hands and your role is to keep them focused on what to do & why it’s so important, preferably with a smile and a fun vibe, e-v-e-r-y single day.

There’s your magic solution.

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