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Love/Hate Relationship with Salon/Spa Rules & Structure
December 18, 2017 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment
From birth, our lives are governed by rules and structure. There are rules when to wake up and go to bed, when to eat, what to wear and all those things not to touch. Yet we all tend to do and touch things we shouldn’t.
We go to school that starts and ends on time. Arrive late and you’re marked “tardy.” Don’t show up and you’re marked “absent.” Accumulate too many of each and you’re called before a higher power and introduced to consequences.
When driving, there are rules and laws to prevent dangerous situations and accidents. Many obey the laws and many test their limits.
In business, rules and structure shape thinking and behavior to create more predictable outcomes. The more thorough the rules and structure are dialed in, the more predictable the outcomes become.
Delivering consistent, extraordinary customer service is more than an outcome, it’s the end result of well-designed and well-executed systems, rules and structure.
- Delivering a precision haircut and finish, color, facial or any other salon/spa service is the end result of systems, rules and structure.
- Creating employee growth and income opportunities is the end result of systems, rules and structure.
- Creating profit, paying down debt and building cash reserves is the end result of systems, rules and structure.
If all of the above are the end result of systems, rules and structure, why do so many salon/spa owners, managers and employees struggle, and at times, resist or fight them?
Here are my six No-Compromise Leadership strategies for owners and employees to make peace with the love/hate relationship with rules and structure:
- Success is a discipline: There is no shortcut to individual or business success. Success requires relentless hard work and the discipline to stick to it. We learn from mentors and masters. We learn from our peers and competitors. Without discipline, and the rules and structure that create it, success cannot be earned or achieved. KEY: Embrace rules and structure so you can become the best at what you do and create the business of your dreams. The more disciplined you and your company become — the faster you grow.
- Teamwork is by design: Employee-based salons and spas must strive for the highest level of teamwork. Teamwork is best defined as coordinated effort and passion to achieve a shared vision. The more owners, employees or both resist rules and structure, the more chaos and disruption in the team and culture. KEY: Owners and managers are the overseers of rules and structure, not to command and control people, but to ensure progress and consistency.
- Clarity is having everyone on the same page in the same playbook: The most common affliction in business is lack of clarity on what, how and when “things” need to be done. It doesn’t matter if there are two employees or two hundred, clarity means information flow, a system to make it happen, and the rules and structure to make it stick. KEY: The very first requirement of No-Compromise Leadership is to have absolute clarity where you’re taking the company. Absolute clarity cannot be achieved without systems, rules and structure. The more casual and informal the rules and structure, the less clarity there is.
- Team versus independent: To compete directly with employee-based salons and spas, booth rental and suites promise “freedom from rules” and “build your own business — not someone else’s.” The fact is, going independent may sound enticing, but going it alone demands the highest level of personal discipline. Simply put, to succeed, you can’t avoid rules, structure and discipline. KEY: The combined energy of a vision-focused team creates a formative foe capable of achieving levels of success far beyond any independent. A vision-focused team can only occur with systems, rules and structure.
- Rules and structure versus micro-management: There is truth in the statement, “Systems set you free.” Just as a hands-off “country club” culture creates business dysfunction, micro-managing people feeds resentment and staff turnover. No one likes to be micro-managed. The discipline of teamwork that the rules and structure create is built by coaching, training and mentoring, not by standing over people guiding their every move. KEY: Leadership and empowering others to achieve their full potential is about coaching employees to think, act and make decisions like an owner. This cannot be achieved without letting go of a certain degree of control.
- Careful what you wish for: Too many leaders want their employees to do what they will not do themselves. A leader that violates the rules he or she expects others to follow, is not a leader. True leaders set the example and live by the rules, structure and culture they preach. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 35+ years of coaching salon and spas owners, it is the hard work is “fixing” the mess owners create in their own companies. It’s the owner that needs fixing — not the employees. KEY: To fix what they don’t like in their company, owners need to look in the mirror first.
Here’s my challenge to you: When it comes to the implementation and locking in of rules and structure, just how effective is your company?
If employees keep pushing back on rules and resisting structure, is it the rules or the employees that are flawed, or the leadership and culture that are flawed?
Lastly, if your salon/spa company has been struggling to create higher levels of teamwork, structure and discipline, step back and trace the breadcrumbs to see where they lead. Most often, the breadcrumbs lead to the leader. That’s when you need to ask the toughest question of all. What about YOU must change first?