Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011 - (Page 12)
Effective leadership has never been so critical to the success of a retail business. To help address many of the top-of-mind leadership issues affecting the industry today, throughout the year Canadian Retailer is featuring the 2011 Leadership Series – six columns, written by six top retail leaders, exploring such issues as leadership assessment strategies, coaching and mentoring, leading amid adversity and succession planning. This, the third installment in the series, explores the importance of leadership development and what it can mean to the growth of a company.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: FROM THE TOP DOWN
By Ethel Taylor, President, Black’s Photo Corporation
Leadership Development” can mean different things to different people. Many think of leadership development as individual events: one-off corporate retreats or offsites; seminars; training material or memos. However, Leadership Development is much more than any one thing. And, in fact, it is more than all of the aforementioned things combined. leadership development involves dayto-day exchanges, personal reflection, and on-the-job training in order to tie those sessions and offsites and memos together. And, perhaps most importantly - development never ends within a retail organization. There is always opportunity to turn leadership theory into practice: not just for one day, but every single day of one’s career. With respect to development priorities, I am often struck by how many senior leadership teams concentrate their company’s development in the middle of the organization, instead of looking to themselves first. In my estimation, leadership must always come from the top. And, if this is done properly, the investment to continuously develop and maintain those skills at every level of the organization will be an effective one. It’s also important to understand that leadership development must align with the organization’s goals and objectives. Inspired by the TELUS philosophy of continuous investment
in learning and leadership, our recreation of Black’s required a fundamental change in roles and accountabilities. In order to achieve this, our team came together to develop and support strategies throughout the entire organization that put leadership development hand-in-hand with our business strategies. When implemented completely and thoughtfully through the organization, we learned that leadership development must start at the top, and end with the front-line associates, providing that strategic piece of the puzzle that empowers everyone to improve the customer’s experience. Leadership is an opportunity for personal growth, but the bottom line is that it also improves performance. Having said that, it’s essential in the retail industry to ensure that the leadership development of store managers is properly executed - one of the greatest challenges as they are often a widely distributed workforce with a large number of direct reports, usually led by Regional Leaders. Store managers are the generalists of retail. They are at the receiving end of any number of Specialist groups (Buyers, Marketers, HR, etc.), all communicating downward as though their interests are the most critical. At Black’s, our store managers are currently participating in a rigorous leadership program, instituted with
the realignment of our retail stores and online presence to ensure that they’re equipped with the skills and ability to support in-store operations. It’s vital that this foundation be in place as we add the next blocks onto the “New Black’s”. Their Development takes place two days a month over a fourmonth period, and is fully supported by clear KPIs and an organization focus aligned to support learning as leadership development. In addition, every day our team members are learning from each other through formal and informal mentoring, daily best-ofbreed calls, with clear goals and processes to manage underachievement. The consistency and comprehensive nature of our leadership development at Black’s supports the consistency of our daily goals. This focus is not only a vital piece of the organization’s foundation, but it is our daily work… not a one-off event.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011
In Your Best Interest
Training and Education
Have Your Say
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011