Saccharin Leadership: Enough Already With The Sugar-Coating

Saccharin Leadership: Enough Already With The Sugar-Coating One of the principles of great leadership and a way the most successful leaders distinguish themselves – in any industry – is by building great relationships with their colleagues. They have unwavering reputations for being authentic, empathetic, and reliably honest. Global research from Edelman’s Trust Barometer reveals that despite integrity being the most desired leadership quality, only about 25% of people think their bosses actually have it. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of integrity is: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values and the quality and state of being complete or undivided. If integrity is the most desired leadership quality and if we commit to being authentic, truth-telling business partners and true leadersRead More

9 Telltale Signs You Have Built A Great Team

9 Telltale Signs You Have Built A Great Team As leaders we spend a significant amount of time and energy focusing on what we can do better; what we can adapt and evolve to be more effective; what do we have to do next to upskill our team members. We rarely stop and reflect on where we started and how far we’ve come because we are always looking to the future and what we need to do next; to have, and/or to be to be ready for the newest incarnation of business. However, it behooves us to take a moment and assess the team environment we’ve created. Great teams don’t just happen. To build a cohesive, collaborative, and unstoppable team requires a tremendousRead More

What Compels People To Stay At A Bad Job?

What Compels People To Stay At A Bad Job? I have been extremely lucky  in my career to work with some truly amazing organizations, and more importantly, truly fabulous leadership. I have also had the beneficial experience of working in environments that are not-so-amazing. I consider myself fortunate to have only encountered a toxic company and their toxic leadership twice in my career. Both times I recognized my value and decided to move on to a new opportunity that would excite me and would allow me to be…me.  One of those experiences concluded in early 2015 and inspired me to create a “No Jerks Policy” for my career that I firmly stand behind to this day. One of my favorite things about myRead More

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

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

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

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

Practicing Personal Accountability 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 with a pulse.Read 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