Leadership Tips From Top Retail Execs
The National Retail Federation's Annual Convention & Expo wrapped up yesterday with a roundtable discussion on leadership. Lending their expert advice were seasoned retail leaders Stephen Sadove, chairman and CEO of Saks, who moderated the discussion; Marty Albertson, chairman of Guitar Center; Brian Devine, chairman of PETCO; Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry; and Brenda Malloy, managing director and global retail practice leader, Russell Reynolds Associates.
The discussion focused on the panelists' views on the following topics: leadership philosophy; how to develop a culture within a company; and how to communicate within your company. Here's a look at their thoughts on each of these topics.
Ahrendts: The goal at Burberry was to unite the disparate company — the retailer has stores and employees all over the world — around a single brand vision. Ahrendts' mantra has been to work for a higher purpose — the brand. She also noted that people work for people, not corporations. Therefore, you need to build trust around a human factor. Ahrendts cited a quote from retired football coach Tony Dungy that she's taken to heart: When you make ordinary people connect, extraordinary things can happen.
Albertson: You need conviction to lead. When gathering and processing information from your team, you need to have conviction around the data to implement a clear vision. The next steps in this process are to have the courage to take risks with capital and human capital and the integrity to stay commited to your conviction and courage. If your primary job is to lead people, they deserve candor. Don't get soft on people if they're not performing.
Devine: Empower your employees to push back. Tell them your goals then ask them how they'll help you to achieve them. Allow people to fail and learn from their mistakes. Other individuals' success should be your top priority; their success will enable your success.