If you’ve ever had that post-workshop amnesia—especially acute when it’s something technological—the CoCoFiSt program presenters have a solution. The CoCoFiSt User Manual is now available to CoCoFiSt users on-line for downloading. “At the workshops we hand out copies, and so the website manual is an extension of the workshops. It’s a guide not only on how to get CoCoFiSt data, but also what the data may be telling you,” said the manual’s creator Mel Braverman.
In addition, as the database is updated, changes can be added to the manual on the web, so people can easily check the website for updates. The web-based manual also offers another plus according to Braverman, “If one person understands CoCoFiSt and wants to explain it to others in their organization they can get a copy of the manual for them. It’s great support.”
Braverman’s also launched another CoCoFiSt support program: CoCoConcentrate. This new program combines CoCoFiSt training with store-specific coaching designed to develop a store’s department managers to increase their expertise and improve performance. The program is held on-site, generally for a two-day session that helps managers develop department goals and achieve staff buy-in. “It’s a common acknowledgement of potential achievement,” Braverman said.
Braverman said it’s also a good opportunity for team building as well as raising the level of technical proficiency in store departments. “A lot of managers may have tertiary contact with each other, but this is an opportunity for people to learn about and understand other departments, and it looks for the best-practices in the store as well as from other stores.”
“It’s such a powerful tool,” he said about CoCoConcentrate, and it has a personnel-oriented benefit that managers may find very helpful for managing individual department heads. “Good data reduces the personnel difficulties. It gets people to work together, everybody can see the gap between their performance and upper quartile performance.” When it comes to the gap between current and potential performance, the information can be eye-opening.
Michele Buchanan, finance manager at New Leaf Market in Tallahassee, Fla., noted about her store’s experience with the program, “We realized we didn’t know as much as we thought we knew,” especially when it came to looking at margin performance. “Mel was really good about gearing the info to what we specifically needed. It was very worthwhile and he put us all at ease. Nobody felt dumb.” Buchanan added that they’ve gone from annual sales of $2 million to $5 million over the last few years and really needed the program as a reality check on their progress.
Braverman corroborated that when things seem to be going well is an even better time to use a program like CoCoConcentrate because you have the resources to invest in your staff. “It keeps your store focused on continual improvement. Is just doing well good enough? If you could see how you can do things even better, you would find that appealing. For what you spend on the training, you’d see the payback in the first three months, even in just one department.”