Making It Automatic

There is a list of actions I do automatically. They take no thought because they are ingrained in my mind.

For example, take tying my shoes. My son must consciously think through creating a tree, circling around it before going through the hole to make the knot. For me, it’s automatic.

Typing is another example. I now type considerably faster than I can hand write a note. And I don’t even think about putting my fingers on ASDF and JKL;. It’s automatic.

When I get in my car, my hand knows exactly where the key goes. I don’t have to expend precious brain power remembering which pedal stops the car and which one accelerates.  It’s automatic. And I get to enjoy the view through my windshield.

I don’t consider myself an expert in shoe tying or typing or driving. In fact, I recently learned I’ve been tying my shoes incorrectly. And I know some don’t like my driving. It’s proof that practice makes permanent, not perfect.

Rhythms in Our Thrift Organization

As we manage our businesses, consider the actions and routines we teach, or simply allow. The demands on our team are high, so the more we can create routines that make critical functions automatic, the better our teams will perform.

It’s easy to start with what they need to know.

  • What to say to donors, customers and volunteers
  • What to do when opening or closing the store
  • What price and send to the store floor

But knowing what doesn’t make it automatic. How and when you share it, train it, and permit it makes it permanent. It’s the difference between strategy and execution.

Developing rhythms and routines for your team can play a critical role in reinforcing the right practices.

The weekly team meeting starts the week with a recap of the previous week and sets that stage for the week to come. The Focal Point of the Week introduces a topic that can be practiced as a team throughout the coming days.

The daily team meeting offers a designated time every day for the team to review metrics, share stories, and identify tasks to be completed as well as practice the topic introduced earlier in the week.

A monthly training session offers a hands-on learning environment, supplemented by each Focal Point of the Week. The interactive experience helps your team understand why we do what we do and not just what.

These rhythms are important to teach your team to think for themselves. Most of the thought is now automatic. And your team is developing leaders and not just doers.

Making It Automatic With You

The SMCo Thrift team develops tools and strategies to assist thrift operators across the country to Do Thrift Better. But it is only when the best tools are shared and effectively trained that a thrift organization can truly excel.

Join us for the 2017 SMCo Thrift National Training Conference to see both the what as well as hear more about the how and when to developing your team to their full potential.

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