Thursday, 1 March 2012

Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline passed on Monday.  My team, the Oilers, made a last minute deal that sent a 29 year old defenseman to another team for a 29 year old defenseman.  Those of you unfamiliar with hockey might find that a bid absurd.  The reason that trade made sense is that Edmonton was seeking a stay-at-home defensive player and the other team had recently traded away one of their more aggressively offensive D-men. 

What if independent retail jewellers were like the NHL.  What if out staff were so highly specialized that we could say to a guy in Ontario, “hey, I’ve got a 29 year old sales clerk who’s strong on diamond sales but weak in administration.  I’m looking for a mature salesperson with all-around product knowledge including high-end watches, who can be an assistant manager.  I’m willing to throw-in a George-Brown trained bench jeweller who can do basic watch repairs.  Are you interested in a trade?”

Why doesn’t this happen?  Well, I guess the NHL is a big business with each team a franchise within.  We all tend to be in business for ourselves and develop our own talent.  If you’ve ever heard of such a trade being made in our industry, let me know.  I’d be eager to hear about it.

Meanwhile, we notice that NHL franchises focus a lot on developing teams that require very specific, diverse and complimentary talents.  It takes a lot of fine-tuning to assemble an effective play-off contender.  So does your store.  One of the best retail teams I worked for included a charismatic male manager who many of our female clients just loved, an older motherly salesperson who had young couples eating out of her hand, and a well-rounded salesperson who eagerly performed many tedious administrative chores.  The rest of the staff, just seemed to find their niches, and we all helped others as the situation required (including cleaning-up and locking showcases behind our motherly sales lady.)

Take note of the talents you have around you.  If you’re hiring, craft your help-wanted ad to attract the type of person you need to round-out your team.  If that doesn’t work, maybe try making a trade or two and let me know how it goes.

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