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    Is Your Organization Battle Ready?

    Play to win, not just merely compete.

    By Terry McKenna, Convenience Store Coaches

    How strong is your company in the following key performance areas: people, system, culture and mission? Do you have a laser-focused strategy, employ speed as a competitive weapon and possess the agility to turn on a dime?

    What if one of the big, powerful, highly scaled regional chains (you know who I’m talking about) entered your market — are you prepared to take the fight to them, or would you be backpeddling, reactively trying to figure out what to do on the run? 

    Do you proactively engage in the fight, or do you passively sit back and wait for the fight (market conditions) to come to you? Are you the big dog in the fight or the lap dog? 

    These are all serious questions to consider. 

    The ultimate goal, more so than obsessing over your competition, is realizing your own potential. On a scale of 1-10, where 10 is maximum potential and one is operating on life support, where would you rate your organization in the four areas mentioned above? 

    After you rate your organization in these areas, the most important thing is what you’re going to do next. Like everything else in life, you have a choice: 
    1. Do nothing;
    2. Think about your situation forever, also known as analysis paralysis; 
    3. Enter a state of denial; or 
    4. Take action. 

    Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The future depends on what you do in the present.” So, what are you going to do?


    Sadly, too many organizations are systematically underperforming their potential. It’s estimated that 37 percent of a strategy’s potential is lost due to poor organizational alignment. Opportunity cost is at risk when performance does not match potential. 

    High-performance organizations anticipate where they have performance gaps, lack of alignment and areas where they may be underperforming, and they address these issues before they are implicitly shown in weaker than necessary results.

    Step back and analyze your store’s profit centers: fuel, foodservice (food, fountain and hot beverage), merchandise, car wash, and any other services or products you offer. 

    How does your store’s performance compare with your competitors and/or industry averages? What are your sales and profit expectations? Are your results above or below the line? Are your employees consistently performing to your expectations and standards? Have you set high job performance expectations for your employees and clearly communicated these expectations to them? 

    Employee job expectations should not end at: show up on time, be in complete uniform and don’t steal. You get what you expect. Expect a little, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get.


    Your employees drive business results. An owner’s job is to set a clear course of direction, establish job performance expectations and standards, and serve as a coach helping employees successfully achieve the expectations they are responsible for. An owner cannot be at the store 24/7 and cannot wait on every customer; that’s why we have employees.

    Follow this simple formula to achieve greater production from your employees:

    Involvement = Buy-in = Ownership = Engagement

    Get your employees involved by asking for their input on how to improve sales and store operating efficiency. Employees are much more likely to buy-in to something they helped create. Buy-in occurs because employees have a stake in the game: their ideas and contributions, not the bosses. When employees take ownership of something, engagement quickly follows.

    A new year represents a great opportunity to start fresh. Otherwise, more of the same will get you more of the same.

    By Terry McKenna, Convenience Store Coaches
    • About Terry McKenna Terry McKenna is principal and co-founder of Convenience Store Coaches Inc. and Employee Performance Strategies Inc., where he helps convenience retailers achieve greater financial results by optimizing their workforce. McKenna can be reached at (910) 458-5227 or [email protected] He also maintains a blog at www.terrymckenna.typepad.com.

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