I believe strongly in “training up” my staff, and am always looking for opportunities to teach new skills. There haven’t been any changes in my core staff for a number of years and we’ve fallen into a pretty comfortable pattern, and things have moved along smoothly.
That is until Kerice, one of my top groomers, recently went on maternity leave. For the last few months, we’ve been talking and having meetings about how to handle her special customers, how to keep our numbers up while she is gone and who will handle the other tasks she normally does. We’ve done our best to be proactive and address any issues that might arise before she left, but I can feel there is still a lot of tension around the changes that are taking place.
Transitions are like Mobiles
Years ago, I heard a talk about relationships and families. The speaker compared a family to one of those hanging mobiles. The different things hanging from the mobile represent the people in the family. The mobile hangs in balance until one of those “people” changes in some way. Then the mobile bounces around like crazy for awhile until it finds it’s new balance.
I think this analogy is even more true in business. We go merrily along until one of our employees leaves or we add someone new. Then our “mobile” gets upset and everyone scrambles around, trying to find their new place. This can be a time of stress, but it can also be a time of great growth for your employees.
When things change, or alter slightly (or dramatically!) things will go off balance for awhile. But just like the mobile, it will regain balance once everything adjusts back to a new routine.
However, when you're forced learn a new skill or manage your time better so you can groom more dogs, it can really make you "up your game". You can get a better idea of what is happening in your shop when things change--rather than when things are “normal” (are they ever really normal?). And, you can get a better idea of what you need to change.
These changes will make your shop more efficient and profitable in the long run. With your support and encouragement, as well as pointing out that feeling “out of balance” at this time is normal, your staff will end up stronger and excited about their new skills. So don't fret if your mobile is feeling off-balance or off-kilter. Take it as an opportunity to get more involved and see what changes need to be made in your shop to put you back in balance!