Defining Culture Through People

Defining Culture Through People Typically, when I begin a dialog with an organization – one of the first things we discuss “culture”. From my perspective, organizational culture is defined by how people inside the organization interact with each other. How a company involves their team at all levels and includes them in building the culture. Culture is learned behavior; not an assigned one; it’s not a by-product of anything other than the people, starting with the CEO. Each company creates their own unique organizational culture by the individuals they invite onto their team and then by actions the people take once inside the organization; not the other way around. Behaviors Are Contagious Research by UCSD’s James Fowler and Harvard’s Nicholas Christakis, has shownRead More

Learning From Workplace Mistakes

Learning From Workplace Mistakes As I recollect my most excellent mistakes at work, one stands out as the clear winner…many years ago I worked for a company whose primary communication was voicemail. You would dial into a main number and hit a code/extension and you were able to leave a message for someone. So, if I needed to connect with my boss I would dial his extension and leave a message of things I needed to discuss or updates. If I needed to leave a voicemail for my team, the extension was different. Do you see where I am going with this? I accidentally dialed my team’s extension to leave a message for my boss. On that one message I left information aboutRead More

Outsmarting The Workplace Shark

Outsmarting The Workplace Shark Last week I wrote an article about ambition and what a great quality it is. I love socializing with ambitious people. Their enthusiasm is contagious, they want to be heard but they also are active listeners. They are driven, engaging, and have a ton of personality. They ask for help, they share their failures, they support others with the sharing of their best practices. It’s one of my favorite human qualities and along with sense of humor, it is a non-negotiable character trait in people I spend my time with. Ambition is often what separates the good from the mediocre and the exceptional from the great. What I didn’t include in my article in any detail was about theRead More

Ambition – Be The Game Changer

Ambition – Be The Game Changer The primary definition of ambition, according to Merriam-Webster, is “An ardent desire for rank, fame, or power. A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work“ I recently worked with an organization where there was a palpable [and tangible] lack of ambition at most levels. It was an interesting and unique culture for me to be immersed in and study as it was the a truly fascinating example of lower skilled workers, coupled with a severely lower wage workforce than I have ever been exposed – en masse – to in my career and a company that, sadly, sought these types of employees so that there would be no challenge toRead More

Customer Experience In Retail

Customer Experience In Retail In September 2016, RIS News and Edgell Knowledge Network, sponsored by CodeBroker, surveyed senior-level retail executives in North America with significant responsibility over IT, marketing, and customer engagement. Here’s the shocking statistic from that survey, “only 10% of respondents felt that store associates drive consumer engagement.” Additionally, when these same executives were surveyed about the business functions that do drive customer engagement, nearly two-thirds of respondents said brand image or marketing did. Product assortment was another top answer; more than half of senior-level retail execs cited it. It is staggering to me that only 10% of respondents felt that the store associates drive consumer engagement. Authentic, lasting, vivid, and durable relationships aren’t all transactional but they are much moreRead More

Why Dr. Jeckyll Becomes Mr. Hyde After Your Resignation

Why Dr. Jeckyll Becomes Mr. Hyde After Your Resignation Recently, I had an interesting experience that I had not previously had in my many years as a working professional. For the past couple of years I have worked in various roles as a consultant. In most cases – that I am extremely grateful for – my consulting contracts have been extended two or more times as the companies and I excitedly saw elevation in the area(s) we were focusing on improving. About six weeks ago I was offered a contract extension for a project that I had signed on for, originally for a 12 month period. As there had been some significant leadership changes just prior to the 12 month end date, IRead More

Breaking Up With Employees In Today’s Workplace

Breaking Up With Employees In Today’s Workplace One of my favorite things about my background is the relationships I have built throughout my career. I love getting communication from past colleagues. Sometimes they check-in just to chat, sometimes they share their success, sometimes they are seeking advice, and/or need support in their current role. I value and appreciate these moments of being available and a source of knowledge for them. An objective voice in what they believe is chaotic and is – usually – actually relatively simple when you extract emotion out of it. One of the biggest differences I see based on where my colleagues have landed in their careers is that when the environment is filled with highly-paid, highly-skilled workers theRead More

Passion Over Perfection

Passion Over Perfection This weekend I made a deal with my sons. Saturday we would visit Legoland for the day if Sunday they would enthusiastically embrace a trip to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I recognize for most ten and six year old’s this would be a miserable concession but I am extremely fortunate to have children that enjoy an occasional visit to an art museum. There was a significant amount of dialog before, during, and after our visit about the pieces we viewed and what evoked emotion and why certain pieces were powerful (in a great and inspiring way or even in a disturbing way). One of the best artistic examples of passion over perfection to me – as it relatesRead More

How To Support Emerging Leaders [And Why It’s So Important]

How To Support Emerging Leaders [And Why It’s So Important] I have spent the majority of my professional life in the retail industry. I am slowly extracting myself from being exclusively designated as a retailer and voraciously working on some self-development initiatives that will support my skill set and core competencies that are transferable and compelling to different industries. I am currently working with four organizations – two inside of retail and two outside. My resume has always been difficult for retail to digest, my diverse experience inside our industry has absolutely worked against me [as it relates to being desirable to retailers (and more specifically, their ATS)] –  but as I am being contacted by a variety of organizations and exploring opportunityRead More

Supporting An Ethical Workplace

Supporting An Ethical Workplace One of my newest self-development projects is studying for my SHRM-CP certification – which I am really excited about testing for in December of this year. One of my favorite areas to read about and dive into is around ethical practice competencies and general issues surrounding workplace ethics. Part of the reason I am completely obsessed with this topic is that there is SO much information on what ethical business practices are, and how they are defined. The other reason I am fascinated by this topic is because – to me – behaving in an honest way, with a high-level of integrity and transparency is [and should be – always] the norm.  As a leader, I pathologically possess aRead More

Retail’s Sense Of Entitlement – The Enemy Of Success

Retail’s Sense Of Entitlement – The Enemy Of Success I have had the privilege of working for five retail organizations in the past 18-24 months  – as a consultant – in both short and long term capacities. The retail organizations have been very different in terms of products and/or services offered and processes used that define their business, but one thing is very much the same throughout each retail organization and it is very much compromising the health and outlook of far too many retail companies. Sense of entitlement…and it’s BAD! Over the past two to three months I have had a lot of lively and memorable debates with friends and colleagues about this really critical issue that we are facing. The debatesRead More

Being Positive In Today’s Retail Landscape

Being Positive In Today’s Retail Landscape Authentically positive people inside the retail industry are rare – most retailer leaders and team members walk around with a “negativity bias“. It is an unfortunate but very real trait we encounter in most of our retail coworkers and team members. One of my greatest challenges last year was really trying to turn around this propensity of people to possess a dangerous and overwhelming sensitivity to unpleasant or negative thoughts, comments, and/or news. Research shows that because we tend to favor the negative over the positive feelings/memories that we have to have a ratio of five positive events to one negative to maintain a healthy “balance”. Given the current retail industry environment – we experience a barrageRead More

Earning Respect In The Retail Workplace

Earning Respect In The Retail Workplace There is an intangible but super salient quality that needs to exist for a retail workplace to be highly-productive. That quality is respect. In order for a team to achieve the greatest results there must be high level of trust and respect for each other. There are challenges around respect and trust in too many retail organizations. This was this never more apparent this year than when I attended a spring meeting, as a guest speaker, for a retail organization. I arrived at the venue early and saw a region of Store Leaders come in. As the team members arrived they saw colleagues they know and clearly enjoy and you could see cliques forming as people wereRead More

7 Qualities Of A Remarkable Retail Leader

7 Qualities Of A Remarkable Retail Leader This morning I was browsing retail news and catch up on things that are happening inside our industry and I came across this article from Ashley Lutz at Business Insider. This article is about the decline and impending bankruptcy that online retailer, Nasty Gal, is facing. The story includes this line, “The company has had layoffs, and former workers complained of a toxic environment.“. I remember reading about this organization a few years back and some former employees described their experience as working in an environment of “mean girls”. A culture that was built around back-stabbing, gossiping|rumor spreading, hidden agendas, etc.. And where did this culture start? It typically stems from the leader, of course. InRead More

Excuses & Assigning Blame In Retail

Excuses & Assigning Blame In Retail Excuses! UGH – where do I start? Excuses make me crazy. I grew up in home that didn’t allow excuses. You made decisions – good or bad – and you had to endure the consequence of those decisions – good or bad. You didn’t blame your troubles or successes on chance or luck – you made deliberate and conscious decisions that had a real result and outcome that you – and you alone – owned. You didn’t excuse your lack of performance on anyone or anything. If you want it – you go after it. That has been the case with me as long as I can remember. Have I – on occasion – tried to makeRead More