The crazy thing is that I actually looked forward to seeing Howard Klein at Nordstrom’s again; meeting him made me want to return to the store, even though I hate to shop. The experience caused me to think about a possible strategy for hiring key associates. As I reflected on the subject, a manufacturing company with which I have worked came to mind. One day I met the sales manager, who used to own his own business. He was obviously excited about his new company and was glad to be there, and he told me, “I would do anything for Duane (the owner/CEO).” In a nutshell: If you want to have associates who really care about the business and act like owners, hire them. However, when you do it, you need to be sure to treat them like owners. Are you aware of a small competitor or a vendor whose owner would be a natural fit with your team? Think about it.
I hate to shop. In fact, I really hate to shop. But I needed to upgrade my wardrobe, so I ventured into Nordstrom’s — and, to my surprise, I was delighted to meet Howard Klein. Klein probably deals with lots of guys like me, but he was amazing. He was direct, but not pushy. He offered a few choices, but not too many. He suggested items, but I did not feel like he was upselling me. He obviously really knew his business and was passionate about it. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I started interviewing him. I discovered that his grandfather had owned a men’s clothing store, his father had owned a men’s clothing store and, for 25 years, he had owned a men’s clothing store. You would have thought he owned Nordstrom’s, the way he behaved. So, should you try to hire “owners”? More on this subject next week.