The business operates seven days a week in the summer months. Some days are busier than others, with customers waiting in line. Most wait patiently while others, well … not so much. Inventories can run low, and sometimes be out of stock. The point-of-sale system is usually working properly, but sometimes it needs a little troubleshooting. Not to mention the cleaning, maintenance, and routine chores that must be tended to daily that are required to keep the business running properly and ensuring amazing customer service.
Observing this team of overachievers, I was super impressed. They worked well together, smiled while they worked, took a genuine interest in their customers, and created a wow experience for everyone they served. Many times, I saw them go above and beyond in the way of customer care. They worked in harmony to get the job done. It was a sense of teamwork rarely displayed in even the best of corporate environments.
As in any business, shifts need to be changed and covered, illnesses happen, family vacations are planned, and unexpected events can disrupt even the tightest schedules. The team came up with a system to make sure that all shifts would be covered, and although it came close a few times, they never found themselves short-staffed.
This was a well-coached staff and an extremely bright and motivated team that worked so hard to get the job done. Some were leaders, some grew into leaders, and watching them this season, I knew that some were future leaders. Not only in this business, but I could tell that these were individuals who would contribute to the success of any organization that would be lucky enough to hire them and who would be both emerging and transformational leaders wherever they would go.
Oh, by the way, I am referring to a staff of about 22 hard-working, loyal, and awesome young ladies ranging in age from 14 to 20. They are such an impressive team, truly one of the most talented, smart, and fun staff I have had the privilege of witnessing in my many years in business. Kudos to each one of them and a big shout out to the woman behind these young ladies, Kim Norton. As the owner and Chief Ice Cream Mixologist of Norton's Main Scoop, she puts so much effort into interviewing, hiring, training, and developing the team. And more importantly, she has a deep respect and appreciation for each person on the team. Even more than making some ridiculously delicious ice cream, the team's growth, safety, and well-being are her top priorities.
Although the business operates seven days a week for the summer, Kim decided to completely close the shop for a day this year to throw a staff appreciation party. She closed so that everyone could attend. Each team member had opportunities to share stories, great memories, funny customer experiences, and further bond as a team. And they all received small gifts as a show of appreciation. And some received awards for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and other such honors. It felt more like a family gathering instead of a company event.
Some of the girls have been a part of the business for the past four seasons and will be leaving for college. Their contributions will never be forgotten, their smiles will remain a part of the business forever, and their positive attitude will be their legacy for those who follow behind them.
Whether it's a business on Main Street or a Fortune 500 company, recognizing our team members begins with appreciation. When the people on our teams feel appreciated and recognized for their contributions, there is a much greater chance that they will stay with us, grow with us, or if and when they do leave, they will leave our business in much better condition then when they first arrived.
I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we take care of those who take care of our business, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.