Mastering Dispensary Promotions: Learn from Tommy Truong

Episode Description

In this compelling episode of Kaya Cast Podcast, we sit down with Tommy Truong, founder of KayaPush, to delve into the intricate landscape of employee promotions within the fast-paced environment of cannabis dispensaries. Tommy brings a wealth of knowledge and firsthand experiences detailing the challenges and opportunities that promotions can present to a growing business.

Tommy starts off by highlighting the critical nature of promotions—get it right and it could propel your business forward, but get it wrong, and you could face months, if not a year, of setbacks. He shares a cautionary tale from the early days of his business, where a seemingly straightforward promotion caused unexpected ripples across the team, leading to dissatisfaction and ultimately, attrition.

Throughout the episode, Tommy emphasizes the importance of creating a transparent, merit-based environment where every team member understands how they're being measured and how they can impact the business. He discusses practical strategies such as establishing clear KPIs, maintaining regular communication rhythms, and engaging in one-on-one meetings to not only gauge performance but also to foster individual growth and skill development.Beyond the mechanics of promotion, Tommy addresses the inevitable reality of disappointment that can occur even in the fairest of systems. He advises on how to harness this ambition positively, enabling a focus on personal and professional growth that aligns with the business’s needs.

Whether you're at the helm of a thriving cannabis dispensary or just starting out, this episode offers vital insights into making strategic, fair, and impactful promotion decisions that support both your team's and your business's growth. Tune in to learn how to handle promotions with a balanced approach that encourages transparency, meritocracy, and team cohesion.Join us on Kaya Cast Podcast for this enlightening conversation with Tommy Truong, and discover how to navigate the complexities of employee promotions to foster a thriving workplace culture.

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Episode Transcript


I have a friend who promoted his rock star sales associate to a manager. She will have the best stats. Just picture the best sales person you've ever met. And that's her. She knew all the inventory sold everything. Had the best items per transaction, best basket size.

You name it. She had it. She's just an exceptional salesperson. So he promoted her. And two months into the promotion. He quickly realized that she didn't have the soft skills to manage the team. And the team would push her boundaries on purpose. And she just didn't know how to handle this and it didn't help that some of the team members were hired in her cohort and they didn't want to report to her and they felt that they should have been a manager too. So he hired another manager for her to learn from, transitioned her to another role. And a demotion never works in practice ever. And she quickly went from feeling like a world beater to feeling out of place and inadequate and she subsequently left the business. Within a span of two months he went from having a rockstar sales associate on his team to that person no longer working with him.

What could have you done differently to help her set up for success?

Intro: Welcome to the KayaCast, the podcast for cannabis businesses looking to launch, grow, and scale their operations. Each week, we bring you interviews with industry experts and successful retailers, plus practical tips and strategies to help you succeed in the fast growing cannabis industry.

Promotions are such an important part in a scaling business and you get a right. Fantastic. You get it wrong. It's so detrimental to your culture. And it could set you back a few months, if not a year. Here's some things to consider before promoting your next employee.

The perception of unfairness is so detrimental to your business. If there's any sense of unfairness at all to employees on how things are managed, how employees are promoted. It's death to your culture.

The opposite of this is a transparent merit based environment. One in which employees understand how they're being measured, how they can make the most impact to the business. And who's making the most impact. So some questions to ask yourself are, do employees know how they're being measured? Do they have key performance indicators that they're responsible for? And do they know how they can make the most impact to the business?

Is there a rhythm in place for you? As a team to talk about key performance indicators and highlight exceptional employees who are making the most impact. And do employees know how decisions are made and whether decisions are objective. The vast majority of complaints that I see. About surrounding promotions revolve around fairness. Why should this person be promoted over me? I worked just as hard as this individual, I've been here longer. I worked just as hard. If not harder, it should be me. That's being promoted.

In the early days of our business, we hired a person to join our data team. And fairly, very quickly, he made substantial improvements to the way that we run things. He built in automations and help us. Onboard clients faster and more accurately. So we promoted him to team lead. And it was plain to us on how much impact he made to the business. So we thought everybody would be on board. Wrong. We couldn't have been, we couldn't have been more wrong. People were surprised. The team was surprised and they were genuinely surprised because of how new he was to the team. And one employee who was there longer than him thought that she should have been promoted. She was there longer. And she worked just as hard, if not harder. She put in a lot of hours to make sure that projects were completed.

And it's this because a, this is very disruptive to the business and she eventually left. And in retrospect, We made so many errors in this promotion. And we did so many things wrong.

We didn't give the team direction and clarity. There wasn't any clarity on how they're being measured. They didn't understand their key performance indicators. They didn't understand what the they could do to make the most impact to the business. And if they don't have clarity on how they can make the most impact to the business and how they're being measured, then what's left to them is thinking about tenure. And working long hours. . And we didn't have a consistent weekly rhythm to highlight. KPIs amongst the team and who was making the most impact to the business. The ultimate goal when promoting somebody is enrolling the team. The team should not be surprised. And the goal that you should have in place is it's a foregone conclusion. The team should be thinking, of course, Mary is being promoted. Of course Mary's being promoted. She's our top performer. And if you don't have team enrollment and there are surprises, then this could lead to. Just problems.

And one way of ensuring team enrollment is creating a merit base environment. Having direction and clarity amongst the team. The team understands how they're being measured, their key performance indicators and how they can make the most impact to the business. And having a rhythm in place where you can highlight key performance indicators to individuals. And who's making the most impact to the business.

You can do everything right. And still have an employee not be happy that somebody else got promoted. It's inevitable. It's just business. So what can you do? In my opinion. It's great that you have ambitious people working for you. It could be quite the opposite. It could be that nobody on your team cares about what they want in life and the direction that they're headed. And that you have a bunch of zombies on the sales floor.

You just have to make sure that this is not going to be a distraction and that everybody has a growth plan.

Everybody knows and understands that they have a growth plan in place to develop the skills that they need for their careers. Ambitious people always want to grow and they want to feel challenged. It's a really great opportunity for you to channel this ambition, to areas that you need in your business.

So help your team develop the skillset that they need for when the position opens up in your business. And if the position doesn't open soon enough, at least they've developed the skillsets that they need to take their careers somewhere else.

A great tool that we use are reoccurring. One-on-ones. It's a reoccurring meeting that you have with your employees. On a one-on-one basis, either weekly by weekly, et cetera. And it's a really good platform for you to gauge where people are at.

coach them on their key performance indicators and how they're doing as well as develop a roadmap, a game plan for them to add on skill sets that they need for their careers and feel that they're moving and that they're not stagnant.

If you're listening to this and you're planning on promoting your employees to different positions in your business. Congratulations. Your business is growing and promoting employees is such a crucial part. In scaling a business. So congratulations. And until next time, take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the KayaCast podcast. We hope you enjoyed the show. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast in your favorite podcast app, or visit our website to learn more about our guests and to access the full archive of episodes from the show. Join us next time as we continue to explore the world of cannabis and help you grow, launch, and scale your business.

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