Tips for quality service
by Carl Tompkins
Glass shop owners work very hard to grow their business in a profitable manner. Often overlooked, however, are the many resources that exist in and around retail glass companies that could provide an incredible amount of assistance with this if they are properly utilized.
Let’s look at two such resources and outline what needs to be done by management to get the most from each.
Resource #1: The Foundation
What I refer to as the “foundation” resource needs to be presented to you in the form of a story. Years ago I visited the pastor of my church in Pittsburgh and a portion of our conversation centered around his childhood desire to become a professional basketball player. He commented how it was his life-long dream. I looked at him and said, “No you didn’t.” He stated, “Oh but I did,” and then proceeded to tell me about how much he loved the game and played it daily while growing up. My next comment was, “No you didn’t.” He smirked and went on to tell me how wrong I was in making such a statement because he had the height and developed many of the required skills. I said again, “No you didn’t.” He then paused, looked me in the eye and said, “You’re right.” For he suddenly realized that if it was truly his deepest, heart-felt ambition, he would have found the way to do it.
What people achieve in this world is based, first and foremost, on their own personal commitments—the belief that they will succeed based on how they choose to use their time.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that anyone’s particular success comes as a free gift. Like my pastor, many people look to the stars of the world wishing to be as good as they are, failing to realize that it was their commitment to excellence that allowed them to persevere through the many agonies they encountered in order to be the best.
A great example of such commitment by a star was demonstrated by Jerry West through the hours of relentless work that went into his ability to become one of the most revered shooting guards in the history of the NBA. In growing up, Jerry reported practicing his shooting skills to the point where he would have to make 20 shots in a row from the same spot before allowing himself to begin shooting from a different location.
This example provides an indication of your greatest and most important resource—yourself. This is the foundation that every other resource in the world depends on. Unless your “will of accomplishment” is greater than the obstacles that stand in your way of achieving business success, little else exists that will propel you to your goals.
Unfortunately, for many people the will of accomplishment is not very strong. They end up becoming their own obstacle by fitting within the confines of this quote: Show me someone whose days are filled with blame and excuse and I’ll show you someone who is the cause of their own demise.
Resource #2: Time
Time is a powerful resource. It is the essential ingredient that enables you to schedule activities with a priority that yields positive changes within your business results.
The reason most major goals aren’t achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first. People tend to be creatures of habit, meaning that we do not incorporate new and more productive activities into our daily routine at work. We must prioritize our time around new and more productive activities.
Using time as a resource requires that we identify priorities of activity and schedule them so that we force ourselves into completing new practices that evolve into new habits. It is the number one concept of being able to create change within your company, and if you don’t change what you are doing you cannot expect different results.
The basics of effective time management are:
• Have a planner that provides a long-term calendar to schedule distant activities, appointments and events; a daily calendar showing hours of the day where specific time slots are scheduled for activities that must be accomplished by that day and in a specific time frame; and finally a project planner where you note any special topics, assignments and things to accomplish that may not be ready for date assignments but are topics that must not be forgotten.
• Spend 20 minutes at the end of each day reviewing what was accomplished and what now has to be done. Review your project planner, long-term calendar and daily calendar at this time and plan for tomorrow’s activities so that you can keep dated commitments and make progress in completing important assignments.
• Carry your planner with you every where you go and refer to it at least four times a day to monitor your progress while remaining attentive to your priorities.
• Be specific within your planning and associate each activity with a specific assigned amount of time.
• Schedule time for lunch, breaks and at least an hour a day for interruptions. Fill the rest of the day with specific assignments.
• Make outside commitments to others who will be involved with your schedule of activities. If customers are going to be seen, call them for appointments and enter the data in your planner. If you are going to work with an employee on a specific project, tell him or her what your schedule is so that you feel the commitment to follow through.
• If you have scheduled activities away from the office, don’t start your day at the office—you’ll never leave. If office time is essential, do it at the end of your day.
In my next article I will discuss more resources necessary for success.
Carl Tompkins is Western states area manager for the Sika Corp. of Madison Heights, Mich. He is based in Spokane, Wash. firstname.lastname@example.org
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