Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/852196

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Page 16 of 114

I was 9 years old the first time I ever heard an authority figure (other than my father) swear. It was my Pop Warner football coach, and the team I was on was coming off winning the city championship the year before. While I was new to the team, some of the veterans (yes, 9-year-old grizzled veterans) thought their bragging rights and privileges extended into the current season and practice time. After a less-than-full effort during practice, the coach addressed the entire team, and I still recall the exact words he said. "Men. I have just one word to describe your performance today…" Let's just say that word rhymed with "witty" but wasn't so complimentary. There's a reason I remember this little sideline speech nearly 40 years after the words were first spoken. At that moment, it impressed me that 1) he called us men, and 2) he treated us like men and gave us candid (albeit colorful) feedback about our performance. This was the first time I really felt like I was part of a team. In this month's issue, we look at the concept of team building, and we talk to some retailers who put a good deal of thought, effort and resources into the practice. I don't care if you are on the sidelines of a football field, on the salesfloor or in a newsroom, team building is so incredibly important to any organization's overall success. And, like most worthwhile things, it's not easy. In fact, I would say building a strong, highly functioning team is one of the most difficult challenges for any group. The main reason it isn't easy is that teams are, quite literally, living entities made up of people who all have their different communication styles, motivations, skillsets and challenges. Despite what some might suggest, there is no single way to motivate a team that works in every scenario, and there is no way to force a group of people to come together as a team. So, with so many challenges, how does one go about building a high-functioning team? The first step has to be committing to continuous improvement with your team. The next steps are acknowledging team members' strengths, making an effort to understand their communication styles and truly listening to their concerns and input. Believe me, these are just some of the steps, and there is truly no end goal other than working toward improving your team's performance, communication and overall satisfaction in the work they do. This is a process that doesn't end! In many ways, building a stronger team in the workplace is no different than building stronger relationships in any group you are a part of—a marriage, a family, a church. Healthy relationships in these areas start with respect and a mutual commitment to each other's fulfillment and success. Oh, and the other thing that's important to realize is that things don't always go the way you planned. That's why, when it comes to building a team, you have to be in it for the long haul, and you have to be patient in the process. And if you were wondering, my Pop Warner team did not go on to repeat their championship season. While some might think this was a disappointment, the fact that I still look back fondly on my first real team is an even bigger win. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org A Team to Remember Taking Care of Business " In many ways, building a stronger team in the workplace is no different than building stronger relationships in any group you are a part of—a marriage, a family, a church. " HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 10

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