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How is Caring Measured?

by Victoria Wasylak • in
  • March 2019
  • The Sound of Money
• Created: March 14, 2019

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When my son was growing up in NYC he was obsessed with the New York Knicks and coach Pat Riley. Many say Riley is on the top-10 list of all-time best basketball coaches. Perhaps the number one NBA coach of all time is coach Gregg Popovich, AKA “Coach Pop,” president and head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. What can MI retailers learn from Coach Pop? In one word: Caring.

Below I’m paraphrasing from Culture Code by Daniel Coyle who writes about coach Popovich’s ability to keep his players fully engaged by establishing trust through caring.

The first tip you’ll find about the character type coach Popovich looks for is when you look at the Spur’s scouting template. You’ll see a box, and next to the box, there are three words: “Not A Spur.” If this box is checked, no matter how technically brilliant the player is on the basketball court, this player will not be pursued, because a selfish character trait has been detected. The Spurs takes the phrase “team player” literally.

The second tip which separates Coach Pop from his peers is the engaging conversational style he uses. His conversations are longer and more personal. Coach Popovich maintains a high trust, father/son type relationship with his players. It’s not unusual for Popovich to end a conversation with, “Love you brother.”

Gregg Popovich knows how to keep his players engaged and performing at peak level. This is important because a 2018 Gallup poll survey reported that only one-third of workers are fully engaged. A team of 30 employees only contains 10 motivated and fully engaged “A” players. That means 20 are mediocre.

The most common performance management style currently in use is over a century old. It was born during the time of the industrial revolution, when a compliance centric relationship was the rule which went something like this: Because I pay you, perform! The problem today is that workers, because of their experiences and expectations, want something more than taking orders. Employees are looking for purpose, opportunities, more frequent conversations, and a coach rather than a boss.

From an implementation perspective, it may sound too ephemeral, and void of structure to align your non-financial assets – 80 percent people and 20 percent technology – with your financial goals. After all, an owner hands his or her worker a weekly check, and expects results. The problem is, there is a person or a group of people behind every good or bad performance number. How do you better manage your human capital? Because human behavior is not a line item on your balance sheet, it’s invisible. The answer, of course, is to take your non-financial assets out of the dark and turn on the spotlight by using a measurement process, specifically designed for non-financial assets.

In my February column I offered three resources to help develop and measure your non-financial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Think of KPIs as your key value drivers.

Developing your non-financial KPIs can be done by asking one simple question: Is there a business question that’s so important, the answer ought to be measured? Here are three examples with the corresponding free tools to begin measuring your non-financial assets, also called intangibles.

Let’s say your question is: How well are we sharing our knowledge? During my 2017 Winter NAMM talk, I showed a video interview of Alison and Eric Jay, the surviving children of Stan Jay, owner of Mandolin Brothers. Mandolin Brothers was located in Staten Island, New York, where I live. For decades, it was my go-to music store for my growing inventory. One day I visited the store and noticed there were no instruments to be found. I asked Allison what had happened. She said her dad died suddenly and their training was never completed: “We literally didn’t know how to continue the business without our Dad.”

I asked what advice she would give other retailers. She said, “The owners should go on vacation more often to allow the managers to discover what they don’t know.” In this case, Stan Jay literally ran out of time to train his successors. If you visit, download the free white paper, “How to develop non-financial KPIs.” This short white paper offers a complete road map, with step by step instructions.

What percentage of our customers are raving fans? offers a free Customer Satisfaction survey tool which you can customize and place on your website. It offers one question: Please tell me on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our music store to your friends?

0-6 are your DETRACTORS. These are your naysayers.

7 or 8 are PASSIVE. Not overly enthusiastic. Maybe they like the location.

9 or 10 are your PROMOTERS. These are your raving fans.

What business issues keeps my key managers up at night? I recently asked a key manager to use the What are your pain points? tool available on my website, She told me her pain point was the long customer lines. It seems there were salespeople who would rather do unnecessary “busy” work rather than caring for the customer. Great feedback for the owner. Workers can become disengaged and act selfishly because they don’t feel cared for. Remember, your workers don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Jaimie Blackman – a former music educator & retailer–is a financial advisor and succession planner. Blackman helps music retailers accelerate business value now through team building, coaching & mentoring. Blackman is a frequent speaker at NAMM’s Idea Center and writes “The Sound of Money,” a monthly column for MMR. Visit to preview his value- creation tools and to subscribe to Unlocking the Wealth newsletter and webinars.

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