Friday, October 02, 2015

Failure to delegate and upskill

So I had an appointment for coffee with a guy who owns a store that sells specialty retail goods, guy stuff.  High end outdoorsy stuff.  I won't be more specific than that.

We were supposed to meet at 10, when the store opened.  He had, I think, 5 employees.  A couple of guys who were basically mechanics, one guy who managed the parts department and phones, and another couple of guys who were ostensibly in sales.

But this guy did everything on the floor.  When the phone rang and there were complicated questions about products, he had to answer them.  When some clients came in to look at purchasing what might have been a $300-$400 item, it was he who had to show them how to get it ready to work, how to pack it up, etc.  His salespeople weren't even paying attention, didn't even try to learn.

At one point in time he got frustrated with a slight mess on the shop floor and he cleaned it up himself, while muttering under his breath.

It was really pretty shocking.  I stayed there for over an hour, waiting for him to break free, but he never did.  I got a lot of stuff done there on my phone, talked to a client in Europe, made a couple of appointments for next week, caught up on some reading.  But I had plenty of time to watch this guy.

Now, I had asked for the meeting, and odds were he didn't need my services.  Maybe he was trying to demonstrate that to me.  But I think not.  Mostly I think he had either hired people who were glorified bumps on logs, or he just didn't encourage them, or he didn't know how to manage.  Or he couldn't hire decent people because he didn't pay them enough.

Who knows.  It was a mess, I'll tell you that.  I'm not going to bother calling him back.

No comments: