At the end of each semester, the Profit Club does a brainstorming session and shares the lessons learned. This semester was twelve 4th and 5th graders, 8 boys and 4 girls. They never cease to amaze me how much they learn and apply what I teach them. I could not help but share the things they documented on the dry erase board during our classroom meeting time. Captured in their words:
What have you learned from working at the profit club store?
How to sell
Got a lot of business
You have to be nice to everyone even those people you may not like and normally would not even talk to.
Customers can be brats and they spelled it BRatz. Basically, saying the customer can really be a pain and you have to be nice to them anyway.
“The early bird gets the worm” – they quickly learned that if you are late for your work shift, the person who is at school early can take your place. Working the store for 20 minutes before school was their favorite part. A lesson for all of us that hands-on experience is the best way to learn and apply the objectives of the class.
Good customer service
A great list for fourth and fifth graders running a profit club store selling healthy snacks 20 minutes a day before school. They were open 25 days, 20 minutes a day. The results: $402.79 profit deposited in their account to use toward helping others. They definitely met their objectives of learning about pricing, picking products to sell, and helping others “being a prophet” to donate to missions.
Professional development of others is something I really enjoy. As a leader, I always encourage and help my team to continually learn and grow in their education and experiences. Some companies today may be challenged with lack of budgeted training dollars for professional development. Even if challenged, there are ways you can invest in people. Some ideas that may work for you:
Lunch and Learn – Take an hour a week and meet in person with your team. Have everyone to bring their lunch and have those remote to dial in to a conference line. Use this time to discuss a chapter a week in a book that you are reading together. Or have someone to teach others about something they have learned at a conference or through a recent training session. When someone does have the privilege to attend outside training, make it an expectation that they do a teach-back to the group upon return. It will help them apply what they have learned as well as provide new information to the team.
Identify gaps in skills – Work with your team to identify skill gaps so you will have target development plans for the year. Meet with each team member once a month in a one-on-one session. Help keep them on track to accomplish their yearly goals for professional development. If you need help in identify the gap in skills, consider trying a proven assessment offered through my company.
Toastmasters International – A world leader in communication and leadership development. For $36 every six months, members can improve their speaking and leadership skills. Start by checking out a local meeting in your area as a guest. You can also start your own club at your company. Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself.
Have you ever done something just because it was the right thing to do for your employees and then years later read about it in a book and have one of those “aha” moments? Well, I did. During my management career in the call center industry, the senior leadership group would get together and have an annual cookout for the employees. We were always very cautious of costs and sticking to our budget. We would price out having it catered and needless to say, we always ended up doing it ourselves. A trip to the local wholesale club store to fill our flatbed carts with food, drinks, condiments, paper products, etc. was the norm. Putting it all together and setting up a schedule where we each pull our shift of grilling, serving (fixing plates), and cleaning up. Exhausted before we even got started. It was all hands on deck and the management team did all the work in the midst of the hot humid SC summer. We always got great feedback from the employees of how nice it was but most importantly that it was very meaningful to them that we served them. For us to do all the work is what they really appreciated. So, my “aha” moment was in a book titled “Conflict Unraveled – Fixing Problems at Work and in Families” by Andra Medea. The author (page 76) talks about the power of food…..”No Catering……Having everyone out of their authority role eating together like kids in a family….Great for employee morale”! Aha, been there done that and now I really get it! It was the right thing to do but now I really understand why. Take the time to serve your employees.