I see my district manager storming into the store with a grumpy face, bullies past me without saying a word, flickers his attaché case on the counter and yells, "Who do you think you are! Such a young lad who is just starting out, just to hire 8 extra people just like that!' I hear disgust and see a grin, one of 'how are you going to get out of this friend.' He waits.
While I want to answer, he continues his monologue. “You are going way over the permitted percentage of wage costs.” I can already see my first branch manager job hanging on the willows. "Yeah, but…" I want to say. No chance, he roars on. "You personally ensure that the next time I visit this store, the wage cost percentage is back to normal." With red eyes he leaves as he came.
Two months later I see him walk into the store. He mumbles something, it turns out to be a greeting. Somewhat uncomfortably, he sits down behind my desk, takes his papers and silently places them in front of me. "I have to compliment you on the results," he says, somewhat embarrassed. 'Turnover increases enormously and wage costs drop in percentage. How do you do that?'
I look straight at him and ask, "How are you? How was your weekend with the grandchildren? What do you want to drink? That's how we do it. We now have time for customers, to be able to keep asking questions, to be able to listen to their answers. Try it, it works.