Bill Crawford's Blog

Theory "0"

I was in a Radio Shack a couple of weeks ago. I had just one item to pick up there - a short cable for my daughter to use to connect her digital music player to her car stereo system. I found it - with only a little bit of help - fairly quickly and was checking out before I knew it

At the register the store manager, a pleasant young man, Autralian by birth, was waiting for me. (I got to meet his fiance in an earlier visit to the store.) He wasn't about to let me leave with trying to get me to purchase something else - and he did a good job of it. Rather than trying to talk me into something randomly expensive, he mentioned the deep discounts that they were offering on batteries. A great pitch! Did I have any dead flashlights, any Christmas presents that would need them, etc.?

As fate would have it, I had stocked up amply on batteries during a special the week before at another store and didnt' need any.

He grinned at me and said something to the effect of - you came into my store and the only thing that you need is this one cable?

His using the phrase "my store" has stuck with me.

I have articles on my desk about the problem of "employee disengagement" - how to deal with employees who don't care about what they do, where they work, etc. I have used some of this material in the five or six seminar sessions that I led at industry events in 2008 dealing with employee motivation.

Then this young man asks me what I had in mind when I came into his store.

Management theorists divide managers into two groups - Theory X and Theory Y managers. Both theories talk about the motivation and thought processes that managers keep in mind when dealing with employees.

What about Theory O? Managing people in such a way that they view their store as "theirs" - with the eyes of an owner? Think about it - an owner would never do anything that would hurt the business, damage a relationship with a customer, create a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

If we lead, manage, coach and direct our staffs to this end, we can see more of them talking, and acting like, the store that they work in is "theirs"!


Some great thoughts about this concept have recently been uploaded to the Harvard Business School Website -

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