Miami, FL—Something I’ve noticed while running the Continental Buying Group and Preferred Jewelers International is that the companies who continually flourish have the best relationships with their employees. For example, we just came back from Baltimore, MD, where we visited Smyth Jewelers, and I think their executive team has got it right. They keep their employees engaged in choosing merchandise, sharing opinions, but most of all they treat each other like true friends and family. While we were there, we attended a Baltimore Ravens NFL game with quite a few of the Smyth employees, just one of the awesome perks they get for working there. Even during the game, when everyone was enjoying having a day off, there was still conversation about business for the next day. It was in a fun and friendly environment, and they were all truly engaged in the success of the company, which showed me that everyone there really loves their job.
How does a company keep its momentum?
1. Re-Set Greater Challenges. Keep raising the bar. Once a goal is achieved it is easy for your store(s) to pull back and catch a breather. Now after the breath, start the momentum again by constantly creating attainable new goals. Make sure these goals fit with your overall vision that you have already created.
2. Review Individual Efforts. Individual group effort is what makes a team and company work.
In addition to establishing your next set of goals, meet with each associate individually. Evaluate their contributions from their previous “push” and outline the next steps to keep things accelerated. I would also try and get their perspective of where things were, where they are now and what their feelings and thoughts are about keeping the momentum going.
3. Re-Energize. You do not want to be a taskmaster. Like I stated above with Smyth, work to prevent burnout. Do something fun and creative with your team and make them feel special, allowing them to get re-energized and focused on the next task at hand. But before you go overboard, keep the focus on re-energizing not relaxing.
4. Remind. You will start to experience more momentum with these initial goals. While you may not be able to completely re-capture what created the initial “buzz” you should facilitate events that will remind them of what got them there. Having retreats, training sessions and fun team building exercises on a regular basis will always rekindle the original reason and purpose. This will further the excitement and keep the pace.
5. Recognize and Reward. Being a part of something big can get anyone excited and build momentum. But once the newness is gone, catering to an individual can keep things rolling for your team. Celebrate the victories that have been hard earned, to generate and keep momentum. Rewarding is key. Do this by real value rewards or symbolic accolades. Offer ongoing incentives, especially to those that go above and beyond. Recognize their efforts throughout your company. Not only will it encourage recipients to continue their efforts but others will be motivated as well.
Holiday time in our industry is the most stressful for the independent jewelry retailer. Take a little time to re-access. Follow these tips and get better and better every year. Everyone deserves to breath, and get an embracing THANK YOU!
Andie Weinman is president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International. Born with the “jewelry gene,” she has worked in the jewelry industry since she was 10 years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom and even at that tender age, she did a fantastic job. Weinman holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair, and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Weinman has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and did many jobs in the manufacture of jewelry. Her negotiating experience has given her the reputation as tough but fair in her dealings with the vendors.