Especially at this time of year, retailers are trying to move customers through the check out lines as quickly as possible. They have opened up extra lanes, set up roping to manage the lines and often have additional staff on hand. But why not involve the customers in efforts to expedite the flow?

The Ross stores capitalized on customer participation by putting a hanger stand in their lines. While customers waited, they could take the clothing off the hangers to facilitate the checkout and bagging process. Ross framed this task in a positive light: “Get your treasures home faster. If you’d like, remove your hangers and place them here.”

From the looks of the stands, many consumers were happy to oblige. Think of how you can engage your clientele to facilitate goals that are important to both of you and make everyone a bit more jolly.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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