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Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place

Or would you rather be their permanent baby-sitter?




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HOW CAN a jewelry-store owner get the members of his or her team to think and act like they are store-owners?

That’s the big question covered in the second episode of INSTORE’s new podcast series, JimmyCast, from jewelry-store trainer Jimmy DeGroot, along with co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA.

One of the main problems jewelers, and other business-owners have, is mustering the courage to empower their employees. DeGroot says many fear that if they train their employees to think like store-owners, they will eventually become store-owners … as your competition.

But is that possibility worse than having someone on your team you have to baby-sit as long as they work for you?

Meadows then explains his method for inspiring (notoriously resistant) millennial employees in his business. “Why do you always have to tell a millennial why?,” he asks. Meadows gives the example of a Chick-Fil-A manager, who instead of giving a young employee a broom and telling him or her to go out and sweep the parking lot, instead talks about the brand’s reputation for quality and how that extends through every stage of a customer interaction, from the moment they step into the parking lot until the moment they leave. Now having explained the purpose for sweeping the parking lot, he can end with a request instead of an order — “It would really help me out if you would take this broom and go out and take care of that,” the hypothetical store manager would say.

This process of providing a sense of mission is something that Meadows is working on at his own store — one he calls “how to share a why”. Meanwhile, Meadows is striving to speak even more fluently about the purpose and aspirations of his business — which he calls “what’s your why”. (For more reading on what makes “Why?” so important, try Simon Sinek’s business best-seller Start With Why.)


If store-owners can’t delegate or teach staff, bad things happen. This could mean nobody in a store being able to sell a one-carat diamond without calling the owner, or, even worse, the owner ending up as permanent “watch-battery guy” for his or her store, handling lower-value responsibilities simply because no one else wants to do them.

“Are you the watch-battery guy at your store?” DeGroot asks.

“No!” says Meadows. “Well, occasionally,” he has to admit.

Part of the process of training staff to think like store-owners is setting up “non-negotiables” using a “nominal group process” as Brad Huisken refers to it. In this process, the owner sets a goal — for example, “creating an amazing customer experience” — and then asks employees to brainstorm ideas to achieve this goal. Later, they take the best of these ideas to establish key “non-negotiables” that must always be followed. While the owner’s input is important in this process, for the most part, it’s driven by employees. Since employees have created the rules themselves, they are better at policing each other for infractions against the rules.

This is important, says DeGroot, “because I knew that if I made the rules, then I was going to have to baby-sit the rules.”

If a store-owner can’t do this, and can’t give up some degree of control of the process, DeGroot and Meadows both agree, they may be better off down-sizing their business and becoming a sole proprietor, where he or she can do everything exactly the way they want to.

Which almost sounds worse than ending up as a “watch-battery guy”.


Other episode highlights:

* Why DeGroot is not a fan of the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
* The Christmas gift DeGroot would most like.
* The one jewelry-store job that DeGroot hates most.
* Meadows shares how he now ranks his daily to-do list by the profitability of individual actions.
* How a specific personality test, called a “Flagpage” (, can help you determine the best roles for every person in your store. The test, which costs $24.99, breaks a person’s personality characteristics down into four types — called “countries” — peace, perfect, fun and control. Each person can be a resident of a single country or multiple countries — i.e. “fun/peace country” or “perfect/control country”.

Watch the video version of the podcast below, or listen to the audio version at the top of the page. And, to receive future installments of JimmyCast and all other INSTORE podcasts, search for “INSTORE Podcasts” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher or your favorite podcast platform.




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Jimmy DeGroot is a jewelry store manager who has been in the business for over 20 years. Now he spends his time training teams around the world at and sharing marketing advice through his blog site at Sign up for training videos here.



Thinking of Liquidating? Think: Wilkerson

When Peter Reines, owner of Reines Jewelers in Charlottesville, VA, decided it was time to turn over the “reins” of his 45-year-old business to Jessica and Kevin Rogers, he chose Wilkerson to run his liquidation sale. It was, he says, the best way to maximize the return on his decades-long investment in fine jewelry. Now, with new owners at the helm, Reines can relax knowing that the sale was a success, and his new life is financially secure. And he’s glad he partnered with Wilkerson for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “There’s just no way one person or company could run a sale the way we did,” he says.

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