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

Benefits Of Self-Development

Benefits Of Self-Development I get very excited when I hear about organizations that invest in learning & development for their people. REAL learning and development, not just learning that benefits the organization but information that promotes and enhances the marketability of the employee and their career path – whatever that may be. Unfortunately, organizations that truly and unselfishly make an investment in the growth of their team members are rare but they are out there and they worth their weight in gold. I also get extremely delighted when I meet people who are passionate and completely obsessed with their personal development. People who proactively seek to upskill their knowledge or competencies are unique and engaging as they share with and learn from others.Read 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

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

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

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

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

Keeping A Retail Team Positive During Leadership Transition

Keeping A Retail Team Positive During Leadership Transition Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I’d like to add a third certainty for those of us in retail: change! Those of us who work inside this industry get to experience change and shifting priorities on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis. That’s one of the things we usually enjoy. If you are in retail and you don’t enjoy evolution – this can be a pretty rough and miserable industry to be in. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H.P. Lovecraft Usually, as it relates to ourRead More

How To Fix Broken Work Relationships In Retail

Broken Work Relationships In Retail One of the greatest pieces of advice my very first Director of Stores ever gave me when I first started in retail was “don’t burn bridges. Retail is a very small community and you will interacting with the same people throughout your career”. This advice was very valuable and frighteningly true. Retail is not always easy and sometimes we fall into unhealthy or unhappy patterns with our coworkers. Most coworkers won’t overtly show their dislike for you as they are cognizant that displaying their dislike or upset with their colleagues may impact their careers negatively. Instead they will display passive aggressive practices and/or resort to juvenile behaviors to communicate their displeasure. Doing or saying things to create difficultyRead More