Achieving Goals

The atmosphere at Blinds To Go is completely different than my previous job. Before I worked at a large grocery store chain as a manager in training. I never felt that the company appreciated my thoughts or ideas. I was just a person who fulfilled a job. I used to always say that the front door was a revolving door, for hiring and firing. I enjoy working in a retail environment, but I wanted to be treated like a person who mattered. Within my first week of working at BTG, I was astonished by how much they care about me. They were asking my opinion on different situations and making me feel included in the team. Each week we work on goals that help me be a more effective employee and eventually a successful manager. I have grown so much as a person since the day I started and still continue to grow. I have become a much stronger and more independent person. Working here I don’t just sell blinds, I have been able to achieve my personal goals.

Building Relationships

Before I came to Blinds to Go I was working as a graphic designer at a tile company. All my past work experience never required building relationships among coworkers or customers. Having the opportunity to come to BTG gave me an experience in which I was able to work in a team environment. This includes giving and receiving feedback. This has not only made me grow as an employee but also as a person. Working in a team environment we all interact with each other on a daily basis and help each other grow. I have realized that this is an important skill in and out of the store. Being able to interact in a team environment has made coming to work much more exciting and interesting.

Growth

My name is Mark. I have been an Interim Manager here at Blinds to Go for about four months and at the company for a total of 18 months.

I am writing this blog in hopes to illustrate my growth, so far, at Blinds to Go. For someone new coming into BTG, it can be both very exciting and stressful time. Expectations for both yourself and your team are always being challenged. My initial start at the company began just like any other recruit. You spend the week at the corporate office in Paramus, New Jersey in which they foot the bill for lodging and a good portion of food. The growth I experienced during that week was honestly minor at best solely because I could not wait to meet my team that I would be starting with.

I quickly caught on to the introductory lessons of sales tactics and techniques. The one thing that really sticks out to me now reflecting back on that time is that I was so blind to what I was weak at. Soon after I began in store with my team I started receiving the same feedback constantly. Feedback is a vital part of growing here at BTG. The main reason is because you honestly cannot develop yourself or others unless you are able to identify the areas you or others need to work on. It took me six months to get to a point where I saw the urgency of making changes. Everyone has a different trigger or motivation that will drive them to this point. For the next five months, I concentrated on everything my manager put in front of me and what I could control.

At a little over a year was when I finally got the opportunity to take the next step into becoming an Interim Manager. Since being in this position for about four months now I have started to develop my own managerial style. Also, I have realized how important it is to establish a bond with your team and keep them motivated. My struggles so far have partially been linked to feedbacks that I have been receiving since the start and also some new hurdles. The main goal is to make sure that you understand the feedback that is being given to you and being able to apply it. You can not be successful not only in this company but where ever you go if you are not open to change as well. BTG really does invest a lot in the individuals that work here from the bottom all the way to the top. I am proud to be part of such a caring, involved company. This is one of the main reasons I will keep on growing and pushing others to as well.

Feedback

When I started at Blinds to Go a little less than a year ago, the importance of feedback in regards to my development as well as the development of my coworkers, was made clear to me. The idea of tracking growth and development through feedback, in the form of open communication and having weekly sit-down sessions with a manager, was a new experience for me. The experience was unlike any other job I’d ever had. I’ve been able to track my own growth through the feedback I’ve received from my team members since starting with the company.

Initially, I began working on my listening skills, which is a very important skill I had taken for granted. One of the next steps for me was the process of slowing myself down. This is one of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced because it’s such a multifaceted goal. First I worked on slowing down my speech, then I worked on thinking things through, having well thought out answers, and making sure to go over every aspect of a sale with a customer and complete all the types of operational tasks thoroughly. And I’m still working on reminding myself to remain slowed down. Right now I’m working on being direct. That has been a challenge for me because there are situations when it can be uncomfortable. Another aspect of being direct is being personable, which I’m currently working on, making sure I keep a cordial and professional conversational dialogue with the customer throughout the sale.

In a little less than a year I’ve made many changes and it has become clear to me that to be successful and advance in the company you have to be able to identify and admit areas where change is needed and make changes within yourself.  I have also learned to view feedback differently. Rather than looking at feedback as unpleasant, I now look at feedback as data that can be useful for my own continuing improvement.

My Journey – John

My name is John S. I work in Store 209, our Milltown, NJ location. I’ve worked with the company for a year and 3 months so far. Before Blinds To Go, I worked at Radioshack for 2 years. There I was a sales associate. Realizing I didn’t want to stay there I started looking for something new, and I came across BTG on CareerBuilder.com. I did a little looking into the company and liked what I saw, so I applied. I got a call back, had a store visit, and after learning more decided I’d give it a shot. I didn’t attend college so the thing that I admired most is that I have the opportunity to really start a career here without needing a college education.

I started [Blinds To Go] University the last week of October 2014. That’s where I got my first feedback. I was told that I seemed nervous and unsure of myself when talking to customers and in a role play. At the time it seemed like a lack of confidence, so that became my first hurdle to overcome when I got to my first store in Lakewood, NJ. It was a struggle in the beginning because I didn’t really understand what I had to do to overcome it. I was told by my team to really just try and talk like I was 100% sure in what I was saying, and if I was unsure of something or didn’t have an answer not to show it but rather just calmly double check with team members or just think it through completely. Later it became clear that it was really that I was being fast. Now, being fast was something I struggled with for months, and it’s still something I have to keep in check. With the help of my team though, and through their feedback, I’ve made strides with slowing down.

Now my focus has shifted to being more direct. It’s something I’ve started very recently, and my first thing I want to accomplish is just simplifying things for customers and in conversations with my team. Naturally I’m a very technical person, and being detail oriented is good, but I need to be more to the point and less drawn out in how I say or explain things. I don’t expect it to take too long seeing as being direct coincides a lot with slowing down, so I hope to be at a point where I can switch focus to something new soon.

That sums it up for my growth so far. Now I’m on to bigger and better things with BTG.