Do You Polish Bricks?

Darcy has accomplished her life-long dream, she owns a coffee shop in a small town.  She planned and saved, researched all aspects of the business, visited scores of cafes, bistros and coffee shops, and quizzed the owners.  She developed a sound business plan that her banker approved.  Darcy even contacted high school counselors because she wanted to share the entrepreneurial experience with young people who might one day open their own business.   

When the coffee house opened, staff had been hired and trained, the coffee was ready and so was Darcy.  Business was brisk and has continued that way.

Darcy has come to notice the different personalities among her employees.  Two excel at customer service, they are her stars. They always go the extra mile, making certain every customer is well-served, comfortable and happy.  They fill coffee cups without being asked and genuinely seem to love their jobs.

She has two employees she calls her bricks.  They are responsible, committed and perform their duties well, but are not as personable as the customer-focused stars.  The downside of the bricks is that they lack initiative.  For example: If they weren’t explicitly told to clean up, they didn’t, even if a mess was staring them in the face.  Darcy has constantly worked on improving their performance.  She calls it “polishing her bricks”.

Sadly, she also has a slacker.  Slackers are hard to spot.  They may interview well, sound enthusiastic and down-to-earth. It’s only after they have been on the job for a while that their true colors show: mediocre performance, lack of trustworthiness and only doing their share of the work when they know they are being watched.  They want income with as little effort as they can get away with.

Darcy has gained new people skills since she first opened her business.  She’s learned to hold on to stars and identify slackers early on.  She’s also learned that it’s easier to turn a brick into a star than it is to turn a slacker into a brick.  And she’s definitely getting better at polishing bricks.

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