A little over 6 weeks ago I became a Starbucks employee. I am going through their RMT (Retail Management Training) program and I am loving every minute of it. So far, I have completed Barista, Shift Supervisor, and Assistant Manager training.
My manager and I devised a schedule that would allow me to work on the floor with the partners majority of the time. She encouraged me to ask questions, talk with the partners about their experiences with the company and customers. What do they love, is there anything they think we could improve on, etc. I was able to create an environment that encouraged open conversation and welcomed suggestions between my fellow partners and myself.
The ability to converse openly with one another is crucial to a productive, and positive environment. This style of management and education is one that I will bring with me wherever I go, and encourage others to do. We learn so much from one another and are able to improve everyday operations by talking openly.
Six weeks later
Six week later, I was launched as an Assistant Manger and placed in a new store. This week was my first week and it has been a “hit the ground with your feet running” time. I love it. Every day I enter the store I know that today I am going to learn something new, work with people who are truly amazing and love what I do. The key here my friends is passion.
When customers ask me what I plan to do with my life, or when do I finish school? I respond with a huge smile saying this is what I want to do, and that I will be pursing a graduate degree in a few years with the help of my company.
Love what you do
I wanted to work for an amazing company who has a passion for it’s partners, customers and the communities that surround it, and I have been fortunate enough to find one. When I look into the future I see myself still working for Starbucks. I may not still be an assistant manager but I know that this is my career and my passion. Why on earth would I let it go?
You can’t plan your life, embrace the changes and help shape your future. As my favorite author Mitch Joel says “embrace the squiggle.”
Friday nights at my house consist of pizza, salad it is the be lazy and relax night. Last Friday mom was out running errands so dad and I had a dinner date at the kitchen counter. We talked about my sisters, work, graduate school, and his job. We catch up on everything that is going on before going off on an education tangent. (Which I love)
My father has been working in the oil and energy industry since before I was born, over 24 years. He started at the bottom, managing gas stations and climbed his way in to a Vice President position. Since then he has retired and now works for a well-known consulting firm in the oil and energy sector. He has both a Bachelors and Masters degree and attended additional programs at an Ivy League school. Basically, he is a dork. But he is a fun, sporty, happy dork, who loves to educate and pass on all the knowledge he has gained over the years.
Dinnertime with dad is always the best, one on one. It turns in to a fun info session about his job and projects. Everything I have learned in regards to Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and re-structuring manufacturing plants from floor employees to executives comes from him. We review past projects (but he never tells me the names of the companies) and talk about what he does when he first walks into a clients office, plant, or building. Observe, listen, say hello to everyone, and remember that you are all people; titles mean nothing.
Question & Listen
“Does your office and manufacturing plant workers all walk into work through the same door?” Do they all enter through the manufacturing floor’s entrance?” Yes? Than that is great, it symbolizes a unity among all employees from floor to executive. No? Then you have a lot of work ahead of you. Something as simple as what door you enter can send the message, “We are different.” It has a subtle way of saying we enter through this door and sit in these fancy offices because we are not equal. (Please note this has nothing to do with race, sex, age etc.)
The important thing to remember for any job is that you are all on the same team. You each have a role in the company that helps keep the ball rolling. No single person closes the deal, the team does. So next time you walk into work go through the common door (mainly for manufacturing facilities) smile and say hello to everyone, because you are all apart of the same production line.
Asking questions is always difficult, especially when they are your boss. Subconsciously we fear that asking a question or asking for clarification shows that we are unintelligent. Therefore we seek other ways to find the answers that can be clearly answered by asking one question.
Speak up, and open your mouth. I have made it my goal to always ask questions when I need clarification or if I just don’t understand. Think of it this way, if you don’t ask and do something completely wrong you look bad. Then you have really dug your own hole.
So open you mouth, it’s your career on the line not just a grade in school.
Definition: Loyal customers will consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price. (http://www.answers.com/topic/brand-loyalty )
We learn in school brand loyalty is key to a successful product and the result of a successful marketing strategy. Goal: To have consumers associate your product name with a purchase decision.
Ex: I need to pick up laundry detergent.
Company’s goal: I need to pick up Tide. (My mother is my example)
When my mother puts together her list of things to get from the grocery store she uses brand names instead of the general product. Pick up Tylenol, Tide, Sprite, Lays Wavy potato chips…etc Brand Loyalty takes years to establish, it is not just a purchasing choice it is a relationship. As generations grow older companies need to focus in on their new target markets. My mother has already picked her brands, her loyalty is set. I on the other hand have not picked all my brands. Yes I pick up Tylenol, but that is after I have tested other brands for my headaches. But when it comes to laundry detergent I pick up what I can afford; Tide is not in my budget range and I don’t see why it is so great.
One thing I think about is how do I brand myself?
I am not a product on a shelf or shoes that a person can wear, I am a person. Right now I am still finding myself and figuring out what I plan to do with my life and my career goals. I do know that I am a marketer, not a sales person. I analyze commercials for fun, I make it a game to see who they are targeting and if it is catchy or not.
For example there is a car dealership where I live that has the some of the worst commercials I have ever seen. They wear smiley face boxers and use Star Wars terminology in their commercial. But I remember their company name and what they sell. They may have horrible commercials but they work, and I make sure to point out the commercials to my friends. I am sharing their message by word of mouth for free just because of their commercial. It is a total success!
My personal brand identity is a work in progress. As I grow, my identity grows, and it is currently at the defining my target market stage. Once I figure out my goals I figure out my target market…all I need is time.
This past week I traveled to Rome, Italy where I walked the streets, observed the culture and gained insight about the business industry (focusing on marketing). From my personal perspective, the way to make it is to learn the culture. Immerse yourself or always be considered an outsider. Culture is an interesting thing; you can either adapt to it when the time comes or just observe from a distance.
Roaming the streets is the best way to get a feel for the culture of the city. Going to the market and observing the sales that take place and noticing how when you have two vendors why a person picks one over the other. It is all about relationships and creating that recognition with one another.
When walking the market there were two produce stands next to one another selling the same product at different prices. The two produce sellers were shouting out their prices and what they had, one was sell for a lower price. An elderly woman walked up looked at both stands and noted who was working and instantly recognized one of the sellers. Guess which stand she chose? Shopping at the market for produce and fresh fish everyday is not unusual, the food is fresh (in American termonolgy organic). But having a relationship with the person selling the product influences our decision. In this case the elderly woman chose the person she knew despite the price difference. Note that in the States we go for the cheaper prices example Walmart’s everyday low price vs. the local produce seller, if Walmart is cheaper most likely you will buy there.
Relationships help us pick and choose what we want to buy, what we want to do, and who we want to see. There aren’t billboards lining up on the street advertising price cuts or digital advertisements running on a building for a new car. The goal is work to live not to live to work. Money is just a possession not who you are, your family and your relationships created over the years are what helps define who you are.