In the roles I’ve played in my retail career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Retail District Managers in various capacities. As a Store Manager, I’ve reported to District Managers. As a Marketing Director I’ve relied on District Managers to help execute campaigns in their stores. And now, in my role at Graff Retail, I collaborate with DM’s on rolling out and sustaining new training programs at store level.Read Article
You can’t read much about leadership these days without running across this notion of the need for leaders to be empathetic.
You would be forgiven for thinking initially that this will require you to become a real softy or that this is a ‘touchy feely topic’.Read Article
With summer quickly coming to an end and we look ahead to the biggest, most important selling season in retail, we wanted to ask you, who’s leading your team to battle during this make-it-or-break-it time of year? (And yes, that’s our fearless leader, Kevin Graff, suited up and ready to win at this crazy game we call Retail!)Read Article
The CANEX teams have been Graff Retail ONLINE clients for several years; growing and developing their teams using the Graff Get Selling and Get Managing e-learning programs. We often get out in the field and visit the stores, so when our VP, Linda Montalbano came back raving about these two ladies, I knew I needed to find out what it was that impressed Linda so much!Read Article
Everyday I’m out in stores visiting various retailers. Some are clients of ours, and others are just on my endless errand list. Pet stores, grocery stores, drug stores, sporting goods stores … the list goes on. I’m sure many of you can relate.Read Article
It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s vacation time.
The last thing anyone wants to do right now is read a long blog.
So, let’s get down to the point right away.Read Article
Who are the leaders in your company?
The owner(s)? The CEO? The VP’s? We often think of leadership in terms of the most senior positions in an organization (especially if we occupy one of them!). But what if this wasn’t true? What if we were to tell you that the most important leaders in your company don’t hold an executive title? That they work much closer to the front lines than the CEO does? That they, in fact, spend a lot more of their time in the stores than attending meetings at head office?Read Article
Some will argue that there is no need to even leave the couch in order to acquire anything and everything our little hearts desire. There is quite a bit of truth to that and many feel that you can’t beat the convenience of it as well. But consider this question; how inconvenient is convenience? The answer to this question also answers the bigger question; do we even need retail stores anymore?Read Article
Take the time to read this true, short story of how a work experience has been transformed from the mundane to the inspiring.Read Article
Thirty years into this business. That can make me feel old … and maybe I’m getting old too! Just think about all the good things we’ve all likely learned over the past 30 years. Some amazing things. Some scary things. Some useless things.Read Article
Summer is just around the corner, and depending on the nature of your business, you may be in full-force seasonal hiring mode. So, let’s say you’re already on track with finding and hiring the best people for the job. Equally important is having a training plan in place so when they do start, you’re sure to get the most out of your seasonal staff. After all, if it’s important enough to put them on the sales floor, shouldn’t it also be important enough to train them?
So, the question is, do you have a training plan in place for your seasonal staff?Read Article
Summer is just around the corner, and depending on the nature of your business, you may be in full-force seasonal hiring mode. So, let’s say you’re already on track with finding and hiring the best people for the job. Equally important is having a training plan in place so when they do start, you’re sure to get the most out of your seasonal staff. After all, if it’s important enough to put them on the sales floor, shouldn’t it also be important enough to train them?Read Article
I often get asked if Inspirational Leadership can be learned. The short answer is ‘yes’, however, it requires a change in mindset as much as it requires an advancement in skillset. And, that’s often the biggest stumbling block.
Many leaders are promoted based on their abilities, work ethic and proven track record of results. However, what we all know is that achieving sustainable results proves to be more challenging the higher up you go in an organization and the more people you must influence. Getting results in one store is one thing … getting them across a territory of stores or an entire company is quite another. Just think of how well a store runs when you’re on site, but then drops off the moment you leave.Read Article
There’s no doubt that the growing popularity of e-learning has made it easier for retailers to deliver consistent, cost-effective training to the masses. More and more, retailers are reaching frontline staff by way of video modules hosted on their own Learning Management Systems, interactive modules and even apps designed to keep staff informed, engaged and motivated out on the sales floor. All positive steps for retailers, but it does beg the question, “Have you lost the human touch when it comes to training your frontline teams?”Read Article
I have to be honest; I don’t like looking inside myself. Being introspective can be a very scary thing. It’s much easier to play the blame game; blame my team, blame my boss, my co-workers, other departments. There’s no shortage of people or things to blame if you really want to.
But, this is the thing; when we blame we lose power. We become victims. Where do you go from there? I’d rather place myself in a position of control rather than being a victim.
A few weeks ago I was speaking to a group about leadership; one of my favourite subjects! One of the characteristics of effective Leadership we focused on was Enthusiasm. I’m not talking about running into the office or your stores and high-fiving everyone, every day. I’m talking about the type of enthusiasm that inspires people to want to achieve their goals.
At this conference I had the opportunity to speak to front-line leaders as well as the store operations team from Head Office. I truly enjoyed working with these teams; however, I’d like to share one of my observations with you.
Get Your Head Out Of The Sand!
The sky isn’t falling on brick and mortar retailers (even though the media would like you to think so). But, the horizon is far from certain for many. We’ve seen thousands of stores close (yes, just as many new ones are opening … but hey, thousands still closed!). Online continues to grow and eat away at traditional retailers’ shares of the pie. For grocery it’s only 2%, but for fashion it’s as much as 20%.
The world as we know it for brick and mortar retailers has forever changed. The question is, “how many will change with it … and change fast enough to survive?”
Linda Montalbano (VP, Graff Retail, and key speaker on our #WebinarWednesday events) said something in one of her recent #WebinarWednesday talks that really stuck with me. I have spent about 30 years in retail; close to 20 of those years with Linda, so you can see that she continues to inspire even after all these years! Her statement was so simple, so honest, and yet I’ve never heard it before. This is what she said…are you ready for it? “Approaching a stranger is one of the most difficult things to do, and yet, we expect our staff to do that each and every day out on the retail floor; typically, with little to no training.” Never talk to strangers…oh, except in retail, we want you to do that each and every day! Let that settle in and really think about it. If it resonates with you the way it did with me, this simple, honest statement is about to change the way you approach training and development with your frontline teams.
Our parents all told us from a really young age to never talk to strangers.
Today I saw this quote, ‘If SERVING is Below You, Then LEADERSHIP Is Beyond you’. I have a lot of favourite quotes, but this one makes my top 10 list. When I reflect back to all the great leaders I’ve had the opportunity to work with, they all had one thing in common; their understanding that leading is a privilege, not a right.
It still shocks me how many leaders today feel they’ve more than just earned their positions. In fact, they believe they deserve their positions. They believe their teams work for them. They represent (and seem to love) the old pyramid style of leadership structure. Someone forgot to tell them times have changed.