Management Practices

The Process-Focused Leader

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 5:13 PM
4MAT Case Study Type 2: The Processed-Focused Leader
Builds structure; needs to accommodate feelings.

Marilyn Ihloff

Owner of three Ihloff Salons, in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area.

SMALL TALK was anathema to Marilyn Ihloff, until she realized it got more attention than a diatribe on numbers. That was 10 years ago, just before she discovered the 4MAT system though her association with O'Neill-Blackwell and followed through with inyu training and workshops.

The Process-Focused Leader
Marilyn Ihloff (left) and staffer Kate Cottrill enlisted a little help from American Airlines to ship hair clippings to the Gulf Coast for free. "Now, I connect with more than data," says Ihloff.

"I always looked at numbers and went right into the what; I was missing the why," recalls Ihloff. "At meetings, there was too much reading of agenda and providing data; the staff's eyes were glazing over. I had to get in touch with my inner Type One-ness!"

To build her "stretches," Ihloff now starts with the "whys" and invites creative input. She says that the biggest payoff is in happy, well-attended staff meetings.

"To make the meetings interesting to everyone, we revamped them with music, slide shows and creative input," says Ihloff. "Three people make a presentation to a specifi c department, then we have a break-out session, during which the creative staffers can share the hows and the what ifs. Our meetings are limited to two hours; negatives are not allowed!"

Ihloff also struggled to get staffers to recommend retail. Her salons were averaging $9 per ticket, yet she knew that nearly 80 percent of consumers buy one new hair product within 24 hours of a salon visit. But, how to stop those eyes from glazing over? Here's her Type 2 list for elevating her salons' average retail ticket to $15 in about 20 months.

1. Set a benchmark. Ihloff used Aveda's $12.50 per ticket.

2. Explain the why. Retaining guests is the reason stylists are in the business. Don't ask them to sell; ask them to educate, demonstrate and recommend home-care programs, so that they can retain guests.

3. Demonstrate, provide dialogue, coach and use role-playing with feedback. Encourage employees to personalize the dialogue. Practice roleplaying until everyone feels comfortable. Make it fun and encourage employees to "fire up their Type Four-ness," as Ihloff says. At her salons, the product recommendations were then integrated into a comprehensive "Every Guest, Every Time," system, which includes the greeting, service-delivery imperatives, placing three products in a basket, walking guests to the desk, pre-booking and using referral cards.

4. Track and measure results. "To make this happen, you need a management team with representatives from all four Types," says Ihloff. "Working together makes us all more balanced individuals."

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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