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3rd March 2015
The 8 Office Principles (Part One)

Today I wanted to share with you four of my eight office principles, or values, that I have on the wall in my office that I try my best to live by day in, day out. None of us are perfect, but hopefully I fulfil these most of the time.

So, here we go:

1: Always Keep to Your Word

Every time I make a commitment to someone in my store, I write myself a memo on my phone. If I say to someone that I will organise a day for them to spend in London, I make sure I make it happen. If someone asks me to check how much holiday they have left and I say we will; I make sure we check it.

I think being in a management capacity makes this a vital value. Your staff may not want to remind you or to make you feel like they're badgering you. But if you say to them you will do something then you should do the right thing and remember to do it!

2. Be Generous With Your Time

It amazes me the amount of horror stories I hear in retail, like a new starter not even getting to be introduced, let alone talk, to their Store Manager on the first day of the job. Or that cashiers in large organisations don't even know who their Store Manager is.

So I try my best to delegate the things that don't involve contact with staff (office paperwork, non-essential meetings) so I can spend time with the people that matter. Because I realise that how much time I spend with people can really have an impact on someone's day and I would much rather that it was a positive impact.

3. Have a Point of Difference

One day someone asked me "what is the James Markey brand?" and I laughed. Probably a bit too much, I laughed pretty hard. But later I realised the point, and the point is that you need to have a point of difference to be known for something, so that people remember you.

My point of difference? I would like to think it is my commitment to staff. Every member of my team who shows an ambition to learn more has a personal training programme that we created. I try to deal with issues as soon as they arise, before they escalate into bigger problems and affects others.

I guess only time will tell on that one!

4. Be Compassionate

I think far too many managers, and people in general, go straight into accusation mode before finding out the facts. "You're late" instead of "I was getting worried, is everything OK this morning". Surely it's far better to give people a chance to explain before correcting the error of their ways?

And in the same way there are rules but there are also times you need to bend the rules. For instance, if your bereavement policy only covers immediate family but a member of staff is emotionally attached to their cat and that cat is their life, then do you know what? That person probably does need a little time off just as much if they really cared for the cat. So it's surely better to bend the rule and show some compassion?

Check back tomorrow for the next four!

Thanks for reading.

James Markey

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What 7 Days of LinkedIn Publishing Brings You

Today is my 7th day of publishing on LinkedIn daily. I thought it would be a good opportunity to be open and allow you to see the facts and figures around views, likes and comments, what difference being featured makes.

Views, Likes and Comments

Views: 636
Likes 83
Comments: 11

New Profile Views: 21
New Connections: 3
New Followers: 4
New Recruiter Phone Calls: 2

Being Featured

I got lucky and one of my posts, "Why Working in Retail Isn't as Bad as You Think It Is" must have caught someone's attention and got featured on the front page.

The impact of reaching people outside of my own network was huge. To give you some perspective here's those numbers again and in bold is the figures attributed to the one article:

Views: 636 (498 - 78%)
Likes 83 (74 - 89%)
Comments: 11 (11 - 100%!!)

Other Benefits

So, why do this? Chase the page views and crave the comments? They are nice. But, actually, writing is quite therapeutic. It gives a reason to get up earlier in the morning. It helps clear the day's thoughts and feel like you're being proactive about doing something. My writing may not be the best but it won't improve unless I practice.

And The Downside?
Well, when that first disheartening or rude comment comes, I just hope I can turn the other cheek!

What are your experiences like?

Thanks for reading.

Until tomorrow!

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1st March 2015
Impacting The Macro

Currently, I am doing a business educational course to try to build my understanding in the retail and greater business world and I wanted to share something with you.

The first thing we learnt was about the micro environment (that is, things in a business that have direct and close impacts on you: your customers, your suppliers, your competitors etc) and the macro environment (that is, external forces that affect you long term and supposedly can't be controlled, often described as PEEST - Political, Environmental, Economical, Social and Technological).

We were being taught that, in business, we should focus our efforts on impacting the micro environment and stay alert to react to the macro. And everywhere I seem to research says the same. But why only ever react? Why not impact both?

I'm sure most people have heard, if not been told, the age old advice of:

Don't worry about things you can't control.

Now, I may not be able to control things like political policies but what if they're wrong, unfair or create injustice. Should we just placate and react to what's thrown at us? Or should we make a stand and let our voices be heard?

I personally think that the Macro world needs a rethink. It should not be the part of the world we react to, or consider uncontrollable, but the part of the world we INFLUENCE for the GOOD and that should be part of everyone's business plans.

Now, I want to draw your attention to companies which don't see the macro world as uncontrollable or unchangeable as you or I might be taught:

Virgin - Political
Succeeded in a petition to allow them to compete in Dallas Fields Airports which gave better choice to customers.

Iceland Foods - Ethical / Environmental
Was the first UK supermarket to ban genetically modified and artificial ingredients in own brand products. Beats competitors in the micro world and impacts the macro.

Barclays - Economical
Pays the Living Wage to all of their employees and supports the Living Wage Foundation to persuade more companies to pay the living wage.

Sure, you could find ways to argue that all of these examples are somehow confined to the micro-environment or reactions to the macro. But even in my naivety, shouldn't we be inspiring people to create change instead of getting them to placate?

Thanks for reading.

Until tomorrow.

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James Markey

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