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Culture Club: Borrowed Wisdom

Stacey Soble | February 23, 2017 | 7:11 AM
Scott Buchanan, front and center, surrounded by his team at Scott J Salons in NYC.

When it comes to creating a strong culture at Scott J in New York NY, Owner Scott Buchanan loves to borrow wisdom from his favorite businesses and business authors. Three favorite ideas he’s incorporated into his business include:

Emotional Bank Account: “Borrowed from Fierce Conversations Author Susan Scott, this is the concept that each employee has an emotional bank account with trust as the currency. Managers need to ensure they’re filling the account with affirmative things like respect and positive feedback, so that when it comes time to correct or provide constructive criticism, it’s less of a withdrawal,” Buchanan says. “Fierce Conversations Leadership Training also helped me realize that relationships are central to the success of Scott J. It’s given us tools and principles to use, like the Conversation of the Relationship. We talk about how if it’s a guarded conversation, then it’s a guarded relationship. If you want a transparent relationship, then have a transparent conversation.”

Being On Stage: “From Disney, we’ve embraced the concepts of being ‘on stage’ in front of guests (so don’t yell at the receptionist!), and limiting ‘back stage’ behaviors to the breakroom,” Buchanan says. “We also train on the belief that “No question is stupid,” which speaks to how we react to the guest and each other with respect, always.”

Seek First to Understand: “Finally, from author Stephen Covey we borrow the belief that we need to ‘Seek first to understand, before being understood.’ We teach our team that we need to know where each other are coming from, not just in training and managing, but also in interacting with our guests. Each and every person we interact with has a side of the story, and understanding their perspective leads to the best outcomes.”

Buchanan advises that salon owners identify the experience and culture they want, then create the systems that support it. He also encourages others to adopt Scott J.’s three principles including, empowering others through partnership, igniting your team’s potential, and creating serious fun.

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