Versa but to excel at one or both you must be aware

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versa. But to excel at one or both, you must be aware of the very different skills each role requires. The Elusive One Thing Sidebar R0503D_B (Located at the end of this article) The Game of Chess What does the chess game look like in action? When I visited Michelle Miller, the manager who opened Walgreens 4,000th store, I found the wall of her back office papered with work schedules. Michelle s store in Redondo Beach, California, employs people with sharply different skills and potentially disruptive differences in personality. A critical part of her job, therefore, is to put people into roles and shifts that will allow them to shine and to avoid putting clashing personalities together. At the same time, she needs to find ways for individuals to grow. There s Jeffrey, for example, a goth rocker whose hair is shaved on one side and long enough on the other side to cover his face. Michelle almost didn t hire him because he couldn t quite look her in the eye during his interview, but he wanted the hard-to-cover night shift, so she decided to give him a chance. After a couple of months, she noticed that when she gave Jeffrey a vague assignment, such as Straighten up the merchandise in every aisle, what should have been a two-hour job would take him all night and wouldn t be done very well. But if she gave him a more specific task, such as Put up all the risers for Christmas, all the risers would be symmetrical, with the right merchandise on each one, perfectly priced, labeled, and faced (turned toward the customer). Give Jeffrey a generic task, and he would struggle. Give him one that forced him to be accurate and analytical, and he would excel. This, Michelle concluded, was Jeffrey s forte. So, as any good manager would do, she told him what she had deduced about him and praised him for his good work. And a good manager would have left it at that. But Michelle knew she could get more out Jeffrey. So she devised a scheme to reassign responsibilities across the entire store to capitalize on his unique strengths. In every Walgreens, there is a responsibility called resets and revisions. A reset involves stocking an aisle with new merchandise, a task that usually coincides with a predictable change in customer buying patterns (at the end of summer, for example, the stores will replace sun creams and lip balms with allergy medicines). A revision is a less time-consuming but more frequent version of the same thing: Replace these cartons of toothpaste with this new and improved variety. Display this new line of detergent at this end of the row. Each aisle
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requires some form of revision at least once a week. In most Walgreens stores, each employee owns one aisle, where she is responsible not only for serving customers but also for facing the merchandise, keeping the aisle clean and orderly, tagging items with a Telxon gun, and conducting all resets and revisions. This arrangement is simple and efficient, and it affords each employee a sense of personal responsibility. But Michelle decided that since Jeffrey was so
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