Winter 2023 - 116

RETAIL CHAT
that can be learned with effort and consistency.
For me personally, there are three factors that help
cultivate a positive default attitude. The first is gratitude.
It's a cliche for a reason. This means giving thanks for
what I have and what's working in my life, rather than
fixating on the alternatives. Reflect on your blessings
rather than your burdens. Taking simple inventory
of " the good stuff " (family, health, security, unique
abilities, etc.) goes a long way, and with repetition,
conditions the brain to think positively by default.
The second factor has to do with lifestyle. Sleep
(easier said than done), plenty of exercise, a healthy
diet, connection with family and friends, and adequate
alone time to think and learn. This is my magic formula
for a positive mindset. However, I'll admit that it's
challenging to consistently achieve the perfect formula
while running a business and raising three kids. Three
out of five at any given time seems to be my average. As
all things are, it's work in progress!
The third has to do with emotional bandwidth, which
is a limited resource. As a business leader, I work
with a lot of people and there are many moving parts.
Not everyone and everything will flow to perfection.
Problems and annoyances are unavoidable and are
often out of my control. What is in my control is how
I handle these annoyances and whether or not I decide
to internalize them. To be an effective leader, you
must develop discipline in this area and protect your
bandwidth, so you have adequate space to serve others
and your organization with clarity.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TWO PIECES OF ADVICE FOR
BUSINESS LEADERS TO STAY ON COURSE?
1. Beware of " Shiny Objects "
Focus is key. This may sound simple, but it takes a
tremendous amount of discipline. As leaders we are
presented with ideas and opportunities daily. Sometimes
these ideas are in line with our business mission and
model, but more often they are not. Chasing the next
exciting, shiny thing is a dangerous approach that will
quickly throw your company off course. Having the
discipline to say " no " is far more difficult than " yes " .
Business is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay focused and
don't allow yourself to be seduced into distractions
disguised as opportunities.
2. Progress, Not Perfection
" Progress, not perfection " is a term that I often
say to the team. It's a concept that has been adopted
by the entire company and has become part of our
overall culture. Now, keep in mind this is coming from
somewhat of a perfectionist. However, I've learned the
hard way that the endless pursuit for perfection only
leads to disappointment. " Progress, not perfection "
116 WINTER 2023 GIFT SHOP® PLUS
encourages us to focus on and celebrate smaller
achievements rather than a meticulously perfected end
goal. Every project, every new process, and every
new product should be better than the one before it.
That's all we can ask for. Sometimes small steps may
feel insignificant, but all it takes is a glance back to the
beginning to see the progress is undeniable.
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU SHARE FOR COMPANIES INTERESTED
IN GROWING THEIR BUSINESS AND TEAM?
Know Yourself, Know Your Team
We are human and therefore imperfect. We all have
a unique set of traits that make us who we are. We all
have strengths and weaknesses. Great leaders know
their strengths and their weaknesses. They build on
their strengths and seek others to compensate for
their weaknesses. This personal awareness requires an
elevated level of emotional intelligence. Most people are
not willing to accept their shortcomings, so if you can do
that, you're already a step ahead.
Great leaders are also aware of the strengths and
weaknesses of the individuals in their organization. This
is essential when deciding roles and delegating tasks
effectively. Successful leaders know how to position
their team members to be successful by focusing on their
strengths rather than fixating on their weaknesses.
Know When to Get Out of The Way
A common challenge for leaders is knowing when to
get out of the way. This is crucial for businesses to grow
and evolve efficiently and organically. A leader must get
the right people in the right roles and know when to let
them do their job (as much as you may want to step in).
I identify with this challenge daily. However, I'm better
this year than I was last year, and I'll be better next year
than I am now. Remember " progress, not perfection " .
Embrace Challenge
Every great challenge presents opportunity. It's often
difficult to see this when we're in it, but this has been
the case since the beginning of time. Success is born
from distress. Use challenges to your advantage. They
are the best catalysts for knowledge and growth. It's the
time to innovate. Let others hide under a rock.
Gavin Marks is the second-generation owner and
CEO of DM Merchandising, an award-winning retail
manufacturer and gift industry leader. DM built its success
around a customer-first philosophy. With unmatched
variety and creative merchandising, its primary focus
is creating a top-tier customer experience retailers can
count on. Gavin lives and breathes DM and work doesn't
stop when he gets home. He loves brainstorming with his
three young daughters who inspire him every day with
unlimited creativity.

Winter 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winter 2023

Winter 2023 - 1
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