to measure business competencies along a lot of different areas such as business acumen around finance [and] people development. We are measuring competencies by putting them through role-playing to see how they react in a real-world situation where they’re dealing with conflict, addressing a group, or [have] to take data and put that into a workable process [to] present to a group of people. These systems are great, personally, but nothing substitutes spending time face-to-face with the people that work on the frontlines of the organization.
One thing that I do that is very useful, and is something my company encourages, is town hall-style meetings. I go into the store and gather 20 employees around a table and have a candid conversation about how the business is going. More often than not what comes out of those sessions is that they would talk about the leaders that support them. So I get a clear, unfiltered message from the associates who interact with our customers-how they feel about the leadership competencies and people skills of the leaders that support them.
How do you define brilliance in retail industry terms?
I define brilliance as someone who has the ability to create a team that drives sustainable results. In business you have economic cycles where you’ll have positive results. Then, the results will trend down [and] at some point trend back up. Without fail, you have leaders in every industry, retail included, that find a way, even in economic down times, to get a team to perform at a very high level, to deliver results consistently and in a very sustainable fashion. There is nothing magical or mystical about success. It’s about creating a clear vision, developing a good plan, understanding the needs of the customer, staffing a team that can deliver upon that, and having good measurements in place to understand how you’re progressing. Then you make the necessary adjustments by listening to customers and your team-making the necessary course correction but reacting quickly and delivering value. Success itself is a definition of brilliance.