Hooray For Curious Minds

Hooray For Curious Minds! If you are anything like me, you were glued to the Michael Cohen congressional hearing on Wednesday. It was fascinating and salacious. It was both the most interesting and worst of today’s politics. One thing really stood out to me and it was that there were stories and situations that Mr. Cohen offered to the committee that absolutely begged for follow up questions but those questions were never asked by most of the congressional representatives. This lack of curiosity is fascinating to me and it absolutely made me recollect a few experiences I have had surfacing or escalating questionable or outright diabolical people, behavior, and/or practices to various corporate bodies and it has – essentially – fallen on deaf,Read More

Ambition…It’s A Good Thing

It is undeniable that most successful people are ambitious. Those of us who dream of more need to be intrinsically motivated to reach for more – whatever that “more” is. It is THAT intrinsic motivation that propels us to try harder, work harder, and press on after experiencing setbacks. Ambition is a great trait. It’s one of those things – along with humor, authenticity, and integrity – that I look for when aligning myself with people, both personally and professionally. It always strikes me as odd when people are offended by or frightened by this trait. People who are self-motivated are few and far between and they are highly-valuable. Some people have a spark and a drive to achieve but that doesn’t meanRead More

Genuinely Fabulous Leaders Are Humble Leaders

Genuinely Fabulous Leaders Are Humble Leaders A ProSocial & Collaborative Leadership Quality A few weeks ago I shared a story about an interaction with a VP of Strategic Planning that was so profoundly bizarre and unpleasant it has consistently popped into my mind as it relates to how toxic that person’s leadership style must be with their team and how damaging they are to the culture of their company. In my first and only meeting with this person they spent 18 of our 25 minutes together detailing how important and revered they are and have been in all of their roles. It was an introduction I have never heard the like of before – it was filled with hubris and a flagrant disinterestRead More

I Declined An Offer For My Dream Job. Here’s Why…

I Declined An Offer For My Dream Job. Here’s Why… In early Fall 2018 I was contacted by a company that I – as a consumer – love! The role they were seeking to fill was fabulous and I was really excited, energized, and flattered that they contacted me to discuss this opportunity. This company is a “luxury & tech” driven organization that operates in the home care, personal care/beauty, and environmental care space. The role had been vacant for eight months and according to the executives in the organization, the field was struggling with selling and product knowledge – especially to consumers falling outside the economic description of a “deep-resource” customer. After speaking with nine people over the course of approximately fiveRead More

Prioritize Productivity

Prioritize Productivity Often times I will have a conversation with an executive and almost without exception they will bring up how they are working to make their team more efficient. How they seek to hire leaders who are scrum masters. They require Lean Six Sigma proficiency and certification of their senior and executive level candidates. These are amazing competencies and certifications to learn, have, and know but when it comes to strategy and strategic execution, nothing trumps productivity. Especially in today’s world, when so many organizations are hungry and clawing for growth, senior and executives leaders must bring a productivity mindset to the business, the people they lead, and place accountability around this value. . Company leadership is usually very eager to shareRead More

Be A Bold & Inspiring Leader

Bold & Inspiring Leadership The other day I wrote an article that outlined Price’s Law Theory which states that “the square root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work.” To put this in a simple to understand formula – if you have 100 people in a workplace, 10 of these people produce 50% of the total results while the remaining 50% of the work is shared among 90 people. In a company with 200 employees – 14 of these people produce 50% of the total results leaving 186 people to share the other 50%. And for most companies and leadership – that is totally acceptable. Objectively, however, it is profoundly unacceptable – especially in today’s quickly evolvingRead More

Who Is Doing The Work And Why It’s Important To Know

Who Is Doing The Work And Why It’s Important To Know Derek John de Solla Price was an information scientist, who is credited as the father of scientometrics. He is the genesis and brains behind the “Price’s Law” Theory. Now, usually when I am learning anything that even remotely resembles mathematics or science I feel a tremendous level of anxiety but I find this particular topic relevant, mostly accurate, and profoundly interesting. Mr. Price had a lot of theories about wealth, literature, and productivity. The theory that caught my eye is specifically related to workplace productivity. In this area, Price’s Law states that “the square root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work.” What does this actuallyRead More

For Fabulous Leaders These Things Are Second Nature

For Truly Fabulous Leaders These Things Are Second Nature I recently shared a story about a toxic leader that was allowed to wreak havoc on their people and – ultimately – the customer experience [and profitability] for approximately five years inside a retail organization. The style of “leadership” that was present in this manager was “Transactional Leadership” [or Management-By-Exception], this is where the leader focuses primarily on what is going wrong, rather than encouraging positive behaviors and contribution and recognizing strong performance. This is a very antiquated, awkward, tone-deaf, and unfortunate management style that was/is endorsed in this droll workplace that values compliance and hours worked by employees over innovation, creativity, and customer experience. In today’s world, with so much information about theRead More

The Dangers & Signs Of A Bad Boss

The Dangers & Signs Of A Bad Boss A few years back I worked for a truly toxic, broken retailer. Their people promotion criteria was extremely flawed and – objectively – bizarre. Their store staffing model was awful and counter to any acceptable level of customer experience delivery. Their executive leadership and senior-level leadership was, frankly, pernicious. They hired and retained people that severely lacked integrity or any sort of moral center. There were no organizational values. There was no vision other than some blurry “intersection of something and something” phrase. However, like in any fractured environment, there were a few really great people who I was [and am] always happy to help and support after I separated with the organization. According toRead More

The Retail (R)Evolution

The Retail (R)Evolution About 15 years ago I met and became friends with a semi-well-known Academy Award nominated producer/director. When he first approached me, his opening line was that he wouldn’t put me in movies because I was “too funny looking”. It was a great opening line and – let’s face it – fair enough. I didn’t know who he was when he introduced himself – even though he co-produced one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. What I did know is that after grabbing a cup of tea with him, he was funny and he was indeed one of the most interesting people I’d ever have the pleasure of spending a significant time with. During the initial getting-to-know-you phase ofRead More

What The Reports Aren’t Reporting

What The Reports Aren’t Reporting Yesterday was probably my most difficult travel day in my 20 year history of international and domestic travel. I spent a fabulous week in Romania last week visiting with a really innovative organization and executive leadership team and experiencing their beautiful country and fabulous people. Yesterday, I was excited to fly from Bucharest to London with a scheduled 40 minute stop in Munich. What was supposed to be an easy four and a half hour flight turned into a 14 hour travel day due to mechanical issues with our airplane. We were asked to depart our plane in Munich while they worked through the mechanical issues and/or another plane arrived. So, given my extra free time, whilst notRead More

The High Cost Of Not Developing Your People

The High Cost Of Not Developing Your People US companies spent more than $70 billion [internationally, $130 billion was spent] last year on learning and development. Unfortunately still, the majority of training that takes place is mandated at a specific time, in a stuffy conference room or via the intranet with a boring and ill-prepared instructor/speaker stumbling through poorly designed and miserably tedious PowerPoint slides. Even with the amount of money spent in the US on learning and development, the average employee only has approximately 1% of their week to dedicate to their learning & development. Taking a deeper look into training among various size organizations, the team at Shift Disruptive E-Learning found that organization’s with fewer than 100 employees provide an averageRead More

Why Your Employees Aren’t Advocating Your Retail Brand

Why Your Employees Aren’t Advocating Your Retail Brand According to the “Employees Rising” study from Weber Shandwick, social encouragement has an outsized impact on employer advocacy among employees. For example, employees with socially-encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales than employees whose employers aren’t socially encouraging (72% vs. 48%, respectively). Makes sense. The study goes on to say that: “One in five employees (21%) is estimated to be an employee activist, and another 33% have high potential to be employee activists. As the movement grows at an increasing speed, employers have an enormous opportunity to engage and capitalize on these powerful advocates, or risk missing out on an important group of supporters and, at worst, fail to curtail detractors whoRead More

Branding & Today’s Retail Customer Experience

Branding & Today’s Retail Customer Experience “Retail is a customer business. You’re trying to take care of the customer—solve something for the customer. And there’s no way to learn that in the classroom or in the corner office…” – Erik Nordstrom, Co-President, Nordstrom Inc. Nordstrom is known for delivering exceptional service. Erik Nordstrom, despite being part of the family that owns the company, worked his way up inside the family’s organization and had experience in various departments in the business. This experience helped him understand the retail business on a granular level first, thus enabling him to perform better in a variety of leadership roles inside the Nordstrom organization as his responsibilities grew. As retail leaders, even the ones in the home office,Read More

The Retail Disconnect

The Retail Disconnect Sometimes during the course of reading or researching a topic I think is relevant to our industry I come across really interesting and important statistics. The challenging part is seeing that this information is so available to us but we are (a) lacking the ability to identify these challenges could apply to our organization or (b) recognizing that they do, but we are unable to create an effective plan and currently do not have the leadership capability to elevate the results in the company in learning & development and bottom line impact through customer experience. These gaps are definitely an opportunity for most retail organizations and we need a strategy around them to improve and deliver needed development to bringRead More