Specialty Food Magazine

MAR 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/55461

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Page 40 of 63

THE EDUCATED RETAILERS' GUIDE One + One builds a wide range of relationships so that staff is solidly engaged with each other and the company, increasing empathy and making employees less swayed by stress, gossip and cynical coworkers. Learning new skills. Everyone does better when they're learning and their minds are moving. Getting employees involved in new projects will make it far more likely that they're learning regularly and consistently. And because they're learning through direct appli- cation, it's often more meaningful than what they'd get in a straight academic setting. What's In It for Your Business The more staff members learn, the more they feel they are contrib- uting, the more they feel fulfilled and the better the quality of their work will be. If the benefits of One + One were limited to those points, you'd still get an enormous win for the organization. But here are a few other business advantages to add to the list: Employees have better relationships within the company. When staff members start to sink roots in different parts of the business, their ties become more resilient. One + One builds a wide range of relationships so that staff is solidly engaged with each other and the company, increasing empathy and making employees less swayed by stress, gossip, cynical coworkers and the like. The business gets access to untapped employee skills. Many front- line people have far more to offer than most organizations realize, let alone access. One + One significantly increases the odds of that realization happening. It's win-win-win. The business wins because it gets needed work done by someone who's happy he's getting the opportunity to do it. The staff member wins because she's now getting added experience in something she's good at and probably enjoys. And other staffers win because they have an extra hand to help get the work done. Employees start thinking more like owners. The + One work gives staff a much broader, organization-wide perspective, and often puts frontline people into leadership roles they might not otherwise get to experience. As a result, staff starts to make more decisions based on what's good for the overall business. And that can only help us get better decisions and better buy-in. Departments being led by less effective managers get needed support. This one isn't a subject that most people will want to talk 38 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com about, but it's the reality of organizational life. At any given time, some managers won't be operating very effectively. By building a wider peer group, One + One gives a staff member who's serving under a weak manager a way to get needed support, both technically and emotionally. Not only does that help the staffer get through, but at times it can also reduce pressure on a new manager who may be feeling overwhelmed. Making One + One Work for Small Businesses Even if you have only half a dozen people working in your orga- nization, each will almost certainly have skills, dreams and desires that aren't going to be fulfilled by doing only their regular duties. Conversely, the organization will always have needs that could be well met by people who aren't formally expected to work on them in their regular job assignments. All the benefits I've outlined above— cross-training, greater resiliency, increased satisfaction—apply no matter the size of the business. A key to the success of a One + One program is to value all con- tributions. In her article, Welbourne specified that if the non-core jobs are not valued by the managers who interact with employees, this approach won't be successful. Welbourne goes on to advocate that we "determine what leadership education is necessary to create a culture in which both core job and non-core job roles are valued and rewarded." I couldn't agree more. While the idea of One + One is great, the reality is that a cynical, unsupportive manager can easily dis- courage or undercut the work. When a staff member comes back to his core job after spending some time on his secondary task, all the cynical manager has to do is say something along the lines of, "Okay, can we get back to some real work now?" to have the employee go from feeling enthusiastic to afraid. One + One will fail if we as managers completely ignore the content of the + One work by never asking about it and never expressing any appreciation for the extra effort taken to do the work. We need to encourage staff from the beginning, follow up dur- ing their + One duties and then help them translate new skills and knowledge back to their home departments. By buying in to the One + One philosophy, we can deep- en the commitment employees feel towards the company and also increase our commitment to employees. |SFM| Ari Weinzweig is co-owner of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., and author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Being a Better Leader. For more informa- tion, visit zingtrain.com. EMPLOYEE TESTIMONIALS FOR ONE + ONE Read what Zingerman's employees have to say about the successes of the One + One program at specialtyfood.com/ onlinehighlights.

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