Ray’s feet hurt like hell, and he didn’t know why.
“My right foot has gotten scraped so much, it’s starting to bleed,” he told me with a painful grimace on his face. I looked down at his running shoes. I didn’t see any blood stains. Before I could ask Ray a question, his girlfriend stepped forward and said, “I feel so bad to see how much pain Ray is in. Can you help him?”
The managers I coach don’t often talk about their feet. If the topic comes up, I’m the one to initiate, and it’s not to make their feet feel better, but to point out that they’re not flat on the ground. “If you want better executive presence,” I say. “You have to be grounded and centered. How can you do that if you’re feet aren’t on the ground?”
Ray, however, wasn’t a coaching client. He was a customer at Nordstrom. And, instead of his coach, I was a temporary summer employee in the men’s shoe department. What happened next in this incident from many years ago is a good illustration of how important it is to understand why you are having a problem before you try to fix it.
The first thing you do at Nordstrom after greeting the customer and finding out what they’re looking for is measure their feet. Ray had very small feet—at least lengthwise. He measured out at size 8.
I looked down at his shoes. They looked much bigger than size 8. “Ray, what size shoes are you wearing?” [Read more…] about The Real Reason Your “Shoes Don’t Fit”