Management Practices

The People-Focused Leader

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 5:13 PM
4MAT Case Study Type 1: The People-Focused Leader
Creates a sense of community; can’t say no.

Wendy White-McCown

Owner of Signatures Salon, Lake Charles, Louisiana

FOR FOUR YEARS, Wendy White-McCown ran her salon on gut feelings. She listened to others, “read” their needs and frequently struggled with ways to avoid hurting others’ feelings. Through intuition and force of personality, she grew her staff to 15 members. Then she realized, everything had changed.

“I saw that I had to be a different kind of leader, who could help others develop their performance capacity,” says White-McCown. “I realized that the business was never going to grow if everything came from me, and, that I didn’t have to be the go-to person for everything.”

The People-Focused Leader
Wendy White-McCown (holding the hat) and her Signatures Salon staff are celebrating 14 years in business.

After attending inyu training and unsurprisingly testing as a Type 1, she began seeing her managers in terms of their different strengths and tailoring their jobs accordingly. For instance, her creative service manager now handles all outside events and her more analytical salon manager deals day-to-day with the staff to build revenue, profit and productivity.

“The stylists were resistant to retail before she showed them how to set an attainable goal, such as adding just $2 to tickets each hour,” says White-McCown.

But she had a bigger problem than lackluster retailing. Like many owners who can’t say no, she was paying too-high commissions and was reluctant to take anything away from her staff. Working with her managers on the why, what, how and ifs, she arrived at this solution: Commissions are now dependent on retailing a minimum average of 75-cents ppc or “piece per client” in the Bumble and bumble terminology the salon uses. What this means is that the average price for each item a client buys is $21, so stylists must reach 75 percent of that goal to keep their higher commissions.

“They have six months to reach the average and are given every opportunity and many tools to get there,” says White-McCown. “Sometimes, keeping their commission means retailing just 50-cents more per client, which is something they understand.”

As a result, from July 2009 to July 2010, the salon’s monthly retail figure grew from $14,882 to $16,878.

“Now, my staff understands that we need a healthy business if they want to keep working long term in this great atmosphere,” adds White-McCown.

In the same series:
What's Your Leadership Style?
The People-Focused Leader
The Process-Focused Leader
The Productivity-Focused Leader
The Possibility-Focused Leader

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