A Chat With Sue Landay, President, Trainer’s Warehouse
Which brings me to the second key point to our success. A collaborative approach. My dad in 1977 wrote a book called “Synergistic Management: Creating the Climate for Superior Performance.” The basis of that concept and the basis of synergy is establishing trust among employees. That’s critical to creating a synergistic environment. Once that trust is created, then creativity really can blossom. You can do a lot. I think that it’s an approach I probably internalized growing up, and it’s really critical to how we interact here. We communicate with each other about virtually everything. And we do have lots of conflict and we do challenge each other. Not in the spirit of criticism so much as really trying to challenge how we’re thinking so were can make the best decisions. Whether it’s a marketing plan, a financial plan or product development, our thought is that if we bring our minds together, and challenge each other, we’ll come up with a better solution. As good as the original idea might be, if I go to my father and discuss how we can improve it, it gets stronger. I think that’s key.
I would say the last one is being grounded in integrity. We never steal products from vendors, although we’ve had some stolen from us. As I mentioned, we have a very liberal guarantee. We really want to be fair. We’re not out to get anybody else. We really want to do the best that we can by working cooperatively with other people. And that permeates our approach.
CS: What about the catalog business appeals to you?
SL: I like that you’re able to get immediate feedback and response on something that you do. It’s very reactive. You get instant feedback. As opposed to my husband who’s a novelist who has to wait three years before he gets any feedback on something. I think the other thing that’s really gratifying about it for me is that I have both an analytical side and a creative side. On one hand, I love being able dive into the numbers for data analysis and planning. On the other hand, it’s a tremendous creative outlet. Whether it’s developing the product, doing some graphics for a product, coming up with new logos or new names for products, there’s a tremendous amount of creativity. It’s a really wonderful way for me to balance those two aspects of who I am.