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Here’s How to Get the Most Out of Employee ‘Collisions’ In Your Store

Three ideas to boost the likelihood of serendipitous encounters.

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Tony Hsieh, the entrepreneur who found fame and even greater fortune with his shoe company Zappos, is a big believer in “collisions” — serendipitous encounters where workers randomly run into each other and share ideas. He told Entrepreneur magazine he’d even shut down a bridge linking his office’s parking garage to force workers to walk through a common area before they could get to their offices to encourage such collisions. Your staff may not be large, but could you shake things up to spark similar innovation? Occasionally get a bench jeweler out on the sales floor, insist sales staff take turns having lunch with other employees they don’t normally spend much time with, ask a new employee to review your procedures after their first two weeks, force yourself to strike up a conversation with that interesting-looking stranger at the Las Vegas show sandwich bar?

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Parian & Sons of Franklin Lakes, NJ was founded in the early part of the 20th century. But even stores that have successfully made it through the Great Depression, a World War and the Woodstock Generation must come to an end. With no family wanting to continue the tradition, the time was right for Glenn Parian and his wife, Maria, to retire. And what better way to do so than by hiring Wilkerson to help with the store’s liquidation sale. As Glenn puts it, with his credit card machine humming to the tune of up to 200 transactions a day, he couldn’t have done it without Wilkerson. “This is what they do,” he says. “This is what they do for everybody.”

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