Imagine if Retail Used SOLs in Their Business(es)?

On the way to work this morning and sitting in traffic, I looked out over the Elizabeth River and the port and wondered, “What would happen if the Standards of Learning were put in businesses and other professions?” Hmmmmm….

The manager of Big Box Electronic Store called his staff for a meeting one Saturday morning. In fact, this meeting was so important, he decided to close the business for two hours so that the new accountability/evaluation procedures could be introduced: The Sales of Life Standards. After seeing that all were present, the meeting began.

“Good morning everyone. Today we are starting a new accountability system for your performance reviews. In order to see growth and make sure our store chain is the best in the world, we want to stretch your performance on the sales floor.” He discussed the particulars of the program.

In year one, baseline data will be taken to see what sales averages are in each department. From there, a minimum dollar amount per department will be established, and hire/fire rates will be determined. In year two, each employee will be given a minimum sales quota per day. If these are not met after the first semester, employees will be put on a warning. After the second semester, if the quota is not met, somebody from corporate headquarters will be shadowing you to determine what the employee’s problem is. For those that meet minimum requirements, the quota will go up each semester with the eventual goal that every customer that comes through the door will buy a minimum of $100 per visit and each store will be held accountable.

Employees went ballistic!

“What if a customer is just getting information before making a future purchase?”

“Too bad. He must buy.”

“The economy! Customers can’t afford that much! EVERY single customer must buy $100 per visit by 2013?”


The manager also mentioned that due to the bad economy, salaries would be cut.

The stress level of the employees went through the troposphere. In fact, as every customer came in, employees were grabbing them by the collar and pulled them face-to-face. “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BUY? PLEASE!!!!!” Frightened, customers were seen running out the door screaming. Soon, customers were frightened and hated visiting the store. Shopping became so stressful that they didn’t even come close to entering the building anymore. The manager soon noticed his sales were plummeting. Employee morale was at rock bottom. Laughing stopped and creativity was gone. The atmosphere was all gloom. Smiling was rare. The evaluation process was not a success, for employees couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t get 100% of the customers to make major purchases.

The point of this story? Our customers, the students, can feel this pressure. As schools head towards 100% of students must pass state tests in 2014, is our stress taken away? No—it only gets worse. However, we can do something about it:

• Let students have breathing room: instead of worksheets, how about tracking their progress with a Quia activity? Yes, they could enjoy a game online, but I could help you track their progess: you have data and remediation records, and they don’t have another worksheet.
• Lower your paper work: Quia can track grades for you, grade the paper, and provide reports for you. Your stress plummets.
• Laugh: what if we had a humor/joke post on the blog? When you feel overwhelmed, take a laugh break?
• Put learning in their hands: What if we made a Voicethread? Podcast? Blog (see Mrs. Craig’s latest).

And last, but not least, invite me to your classroom to coteach. You won’t feel the burden all by yourself!