Successful Retail Organizations Create Supportive Work Environments

Successful Retail Organizations Create Supportive Work Environments

I read an interesting article from Skip Prichard – Leadership Insights titled, Detect and Root Out Behavior That Undermines Your Workplace. There were some very helpful thoughts on various ways workplaces set themselves up for unproductive behaviors and/or behaviors that undermine the organizational health and development including, being counterproductive to the organizations vision and values:

(1) Sabotage By Meetings
“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” –John Kenneth Galbraith
-Ineffective meetings are productivity killers and according to Time Magazine, “Americans sit through some 11 million meetings every day — with the unproductive ones costing companies $37 billion a year.”
-Without a plan and a resolution focus – useless meeting are damaging to the business
-For information on how to bring efficiency to Retail Meetings, please see my article, Retail Meeting: How To Make Them Efficient and Effective

(2) Sabotage By Committees
“Committees can be deadly when they have the appearance that work is taking place when in fact very little is happening.”
-Without delivering clear direction, timelines, and expectation of resolution, committees can be time-wasters
-This also, frequently, draws out the decision making time longer than necessary and pulls focus away from actual roles and accomplishment

(3) Sabotage By Obedience
“Rigid adherence to rules and lack of flexibility may hurt the organization”

-According to Parature, keys to customer experience are:
(a) 41% of customers reported it was getting any issues resolved quickly
(b) 26% reported it was getting any issues resolved in a single interaction
-Having a policy that approval is needed or only certain people can process returns undermines the Customer Experience
-Creating empowered employees and training them will definitely support a culture of delivering exceptional service levels
-For additional information you can read my post on Toxic Employees In Retail where, it states: “Consider hiring workers that claim sometimes the rules need to be broken”. Although these workers are no different in terms of productivity, they tend to produce higher quality work.” and extract the potential hazard of sabotage by obedience

(4) Sabotage By Email
-The average corporate email user sends and receives about 120 emails a day
-“I sent you an e-mail,” and, “You were informed at the time,” provides a chasm within which today’s saboteur can operate
-The ‘CC: Everyone’ saboteurs shift accountability away from themselves to potentially lay blame on everyone else included in the communication

It is ironic that most of these business processes were put into place to protect businesses and can turn into an organization’s “Achilles Heel” if not managed or communicated appropriately. I love reading content like the Skip Prichard article when it presents common challenges in another perspective and leads to additional thought and action.


This article got me thinking about qualities and abilities that need be prevalent in individuals so that organizations can mitigate the probability of inviting “saboteurs” onto the team.  Here are some of those key qualities I came up with:

-These people are energized by problem solving
-They are thoughtful and collect relevant data to make a time-sensitive decision
-They are, generally, not much for wasting time and can galvanize thought and resolutions with enthusiasm and the sharing of ideas/best practices
-They keep themselves, their team, and the process on track when people introduce distractions onto the team

Committed To Self-Development/Curious
-In a series of articles I wrote about Career Obstacles I covered Unwilling To Self-Develop – These are people that will hold your organizational development back and stall growth for others
-Having people that are curious and committed to self-development will ensure that even if the employees don’t readily have the answer they will be resourceful enough to find it

Strategically Agile
-This person see the future clearly and understand their decisions today effect business down the road
-They can anticipate trends and react quickly to changes in the market – they are adaptable
-They are courageous and can create innovative strategies and plans based on the needs of the business

-They say things that need to be said [unlike the saboteur who will ask several people so that they have someone to blame]
-They let people know where they stand and provides guidance quickly and directly [they don’t tolerate people dragging their feet]
-They are not afraid to make unpopular decisions and can absorb the criticisms they receive and learn from them
-They are usually quite resilient

-Can develop unique and engaging approaches to business
-They are fearless in their approach
-They can explain the intended result of the action and the “why” behind it
-They can speak to and think beyond the “here and now”
-They are optimistic
-They can rally support and action around their plan as it is usually communication with passion and enthusiasm
-They are compelled to leave their mark and not do thing the way they’ve always been done to achieve better than expected results

A Great Business Partner
-This individual is fair to others and an effective listener to ensure all information is considered
-They can solve problems and work in tandem with other individuals and departments with being heavy handed
-They work to gain the trust and support of their peers and are in turn supportive of their peers
-They encourage collaboration

These are all abilities/traits that we can ask interview questions around to help to ensure that candidates will be team-contributors and productive business partners to the collective team. There are other qualities that are beneficial to a sabotage-free environment such as honesty and integrity but they are more difficult to measure in an interview screening process. It would behoove hiring managers and all leaders to discuss the expectation of a culture of partnerships and collaboration, of a drama-free workplace, and the expectation of all employees being highly-productive and committed to the success of the company. On the off-chance toxic workers make it past through hiring process and into the business, the best retail leaders and companies deal with them swiftly, fairly, and consistently so they are not able to hurt or sabotage the business. It pays to be transparent and allow candidates to see the inner workings of the business, allow for employee testimonials, let your employees be brand advocates to appeal to the right type of candidate.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

View all posts by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *