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

Practicing Personal Accountability In Retail

Practicing Personal Accountability In Retail As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been very busy for the past few months. So much so, that writing has fallen by the wayside a bit, unfortunately. I have, literally, been searching for free moments here and there to start, work on and finish this post because it is about a real challenge we are facing in retail. So here we go… I am working with three organizations right now and one of them is a specialty retailer that is really feeling the challenges that so many smaller retailers are feeling but they also have added another layer of challenge where they hire predominantly to the criteria that their Store Managers are warm bodies withRead More

6 Ways To “Show Up” As A Retail Leader

6 Ways To “Show Up” As A Retail Leader One thing people learn about me very quickly is that I am a “no excuses” kind of gal. I believe we own our attitude and our commitment to life, work and the various situations we experience every single day. Does that mean I am made of stone or oblivious to the happenings around me? Absolutely not. But what it does mean is that I, wholeheartedly, believe that regardless of challenges, obstacles, issues, or frustrations I encounter each day – I owe each moment of the day it’s best chance to be great and to maximize the moments I have to be great. That is a personal and professional philosophy as both a mom andRead More

Inspiring Greatness In Uninspiring Retail Environments

Inspiring Greatness In Uninspiring Retail Environments Let’s face it – the state of most retail organizations is pretty bleak right now. Retailers are struggling to evolve to today’s consumer spending preferences and habits. With that comes internal struggles that can, frequently, cause the culture to become rigid, confused, and desperate. In these moments the culture will be impacted negatively. We tend to become haphazard in our communication of changes, we start to value compliance over innovation, we cease involving the teams [especially in the field] in planning processes, feedback, customer perceptions/obstacles, etc and become micro-managing dictators of compliance. In these environments, more and more employees feel stuck at work and are looking for glimmers of hope for the future of the organization andRead More

Developing Managerial Courage In Retail Leaders

Developing Managerial Courage In Retail Leaders As I mentioned in my last post, it has been a wildly busy several weeks. I am currently working on an amazing project with a company that is extremely challenged with their Store Leader level of employee. The company I am currently supporting does not invest in their people. Store leaders are selected using an outdated set of criteria – with the most important and valued “skill” that their store leaders can possess is [wait for it…] compliance. Very rarely am I working with an organization that is extremely healthy – sometimes it happens [but not very often] – in the case of this project, the company is struggling. It is struggling with its organizational culture, employeeRead More

Retail Leadership Accountability In Team Dynamics

Retail Leadership Accountability In Team Dynamics Holy Cow! It has been an extremely busy few weeks on my end so I have not been able to write as much as I would like to. The issue with this is I have SO much content to write about – I am overwhelmed by what to share and where to start. But…here I go… Inside this colorful, busy, and active few weeks one thing has consistently stood out and become exceedingly clear…there needs to be lots of dialog around personal accountability in retail leadership. I am currently working with a retailer to support field and corporate communications and to ensure that the voices in the field are included inside corporate initiatives and planning. One ofRead More

Inspiring The Future Of Retail Productivity & Organizational Health

Inspiring The Future Of Retail Productivity & Organizational Health I have the unique and invaluable experience, over the past several months to connect with lots of different retail organizations and get to know team members inside the organization from C-Level leadership to Part-Time Sales Associates. One of the most interesting constants I encounter when I am learning about the business is that on the list of business obstacles – the people piece usually falls toward the bottom of the issues. In recent months I have heard about marketing concerns, product availability/allocation issues, operational challenges – I have even heard rationalizations relating to the weather, the finicky customer – very rarely do senior- and executive-leadership truly assess their people component and readily identify opportunityRead More

Boosting Employee Morale In Retail

Boosting Employee Morale In Retail According to Sociologist and Harvard Professor Alexander Leighton, “morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” Mr Leighton spoke to the fact that morale is particularly important during times of challenges and controversy. As most retail organizations continue to fix their profit and customer experience issues we are wearing away at the morale that we desperately need to drive results. Leaders, particularly those who are responsible for the customer facing teams, must know how to inspire and maintain a high-level of morale if they are committed to success and excellence for their team. Unfortunately, it is all to common that morale is measured by theRead More

The Dangers Of The Status Quo In Retail

The Dangers Of The Status Quo In Retail In almost every single retail workplace there is an accepted and established way of doing things. These are policies, processes, and procedures that someone developed and deemed a “best practice” along the way. Often these processes are defined when a policy is launched – sometimes the practice is updated or minimally reshaped but so frequently it is established and then forgotten and the employees are still required to follow the accountability to the letter – without question. Not updating, eliminating, or overhauling the status quo can be a very dangerous and destructive path to choose in today’s retail climate. Working under the umbrella of the status quo during this precarious time leads to the vastRead More

Toxic Retail Leadership

Toxic Retail Leadership When I created this headline I, initially, typed “Poor Retail Leadership” – but using the word “poor” brings up the idea that the leader may be okay – perhaps just not very strong. What I want to write about today is the truly bad and toxic leader and how they interfere with the growth, development, and retention of truly remarkable team members. We are witnessing the rise of toxic leaders in the retail workplace. There is so much pressure to deliver, execute, and comply in retail today that many leaders choose to lead through fear and intimidation as opposed to behaving as a supportive and inspiring business partner to their team. Someone that is committed to hiring great talent andRead More

The Benefits Of Retail Employee Development

The Benefits Of Retail Employee Development Most retail employees – regardless of current position – have designs on a more senior level than where they currently stand. And that’s a great thing. The challenge is that we are so busy keeping up with process and operations with our teams that we are unable to build in the valuable exercises that support employee development and career growth. Every single retail employee can benefit from a focused development program. Retail is such a fast-changing and fluid industry if anyone believes they are up-to-date in their development and growth – they are automatically behind. Yet it’s easily forgotten or allowed to take a back seat due to the pressure(s) of everyday business. Why? Why is employeeRead More

Adding Value To Your Retail Organization

Adding Value To Your Retail Organization Something that has become of a bit of a buzz-phrase in retail is “adding value”. However, this is actually kind of a big deal and something that great retail team members understand. From a leadership perspective: When we invite – by recruiting and sourcing talent – people onto our teams we are inviting them for a few reasons [or at least we should be]: They would complement our company culture; They would complement our team dynamic; They display some/most of the critical success factors that define our top performers; They would be a benefit and future leader in the organization; They are seemingly aligned with the organization’s vision and values; They are passionate about their career pathRead 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

Bad Days In Retail And How To Minimize Them

Bad Days In Retail And How To Minimize Them As I was writing the article “Retail Productivity & Morale Killers“, my objective was to – in that same article – provide some ideas on how to turn challenging cultures around and deliver a greater level of happiness to your team when morale starts to erode or your team hits a rough patch in their path to deliver excellence. Turned out there was too much to write about with JUST the causes for the issues so I thought I would dedicate another post to this topic and share some statistics and ideas on how to minimize this productivity killer. As a senior level retail leader I force myself, though I may want to denyRead More