The Manager of Intangible Assets

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If you are looking for a little inspiration, look no farther than ACE Hardware owner, Gina Schaefer.

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Her outlook and drive has convinced many people to take a chance on her and her unconventional ideas surrounding the hardware industry. She bills herself as the owner of a “few cool hardware stores.”

For Schaefer, customer service isn’t a department. It’s an attitude. Her success starts in her hiring practices.

“If you hire them, you have to trust them,” she said. “You have to trust them to do what you need. You can’t grow a business if you don’t trust the people you have.”

Why develop policies to manage the 3% that are a problem? What about the 97% that are doing the job and going the extra mile? If you don’t address them, you’ve just unincentivized them to work.

Her business attitude has lead ACE to recognize her in their Center of Excellence program. Other managers and owners are learning from her unique mindset.

“Try why not instead of no the next time someone asks you to try something different,” she said. “You might be surprised how well that works out for you.  I had to convince a lot of people to take a chance on a female hardware store owner. I had to convince them to put these stores in some very different and unique demographics.”

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