Turbo Leadership Systems

Phone: (503) 625-1867 Fax: (503) 625-2699 email: admin@turbols.com
Issue 82 To our clients and friends May 16, 2006
Designed to Succeed?
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Ask your frontline associates, they know what works!

Last night I stopped at a locally owned Seattle area high-end service grocery store up in Burlington, Washington. I was very impressed with their wonderfully appointed deli section. I was so impressed that I called my wife, Donna Lee, at home in Portland, Oregon, to tell her what a beautiful store it is and get her help with some of the sort of exotic products I was looking at to take the place of dinner.

It was at that time of night, a little after 8:00, when things were slowing down. They were staffing down, cleaning up and shutting down some areas of the store. I noticed a young man who was clearly distinguishing himself as a 'punker' standing near a display case looking over and kind of sauntering back and forth in front of the exotic drinks that take the place of soda pop. I didn't think that much about it, went on and did my shopping. As I waschecking out, I noticed he and another young man whose jeans waist was literally below his buttocks walking briskly out the front door. I don't know if they had anything in their pockets or not, but it sure looked suspicious to me. At that time of night, the customer service counter. where there would have been a person to observe this, was closed. I mentioned it to the checker. "You know what? I think you may have just experienced some shoplifting." Her back and the back of all the checkers are to the door. She said, "With Customer Service

closed, we don't know what's going in and out of that door. lt makes me nervous having my back to the door.

I don't know who designed this gorgeous store. I don't know why it was arranged this way. I know they have a great security system for recording suspicious behaviors and if incidents of shoplifting occur, they catch it on tape. I truly doubt that it discourages shoplifters who may not even be aware of the cameras at that time of night, and it doesn't make the checker any more comfortable. The point for me was, were the frontline checkers asked about the layout of the store before store design decisions were made, or was the store designed by architects and design experts at the corporate level, or, worse yet, back East somewhere? I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

Application exercise: Do not make any important decisions about the acquisition of equipment, the layout and design of your facility, without role playing its use with the frontline people who will be using it. Get their input, get their suggestions, get their advice. You will make better decisions. Whatever decision you make, if the frontline is included in the design, they will make your decision work. lf they are not included, you may find difficulty getting your decision to work, no matter how right your decisions may seem to you.