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I feel very strongly and passionately about great leadership. It is a privilege to lead a team or a group of people towards success in the workplace, the community, or just on an assignment. With that privilege comes a responsibility — a responsibility to lead, guide, direct, praise, course correct, inspire, challenge, celebrate, inform, provide feedback, grow, self-reflect … and more; however, I believe one of the most crucial responsibilities is to BE THE EXAMPLE.

The leader is always on stage! The spotlight follows your every move. A microphone broadcasts your every word. A camera captures your body language, expressions, looks, and appearance. Oh yes — you are definitely on stage at all times. Are you broadcasting the right messages and principles to your team? Your credibility as a leader depends on it.

Leadership is hard stuff; however, the difficulty multiplies if you are not setting the example. A leader can hardly expect their team members to treat each other with respect if they do not demonstrate the same level of respect in their dealings with the team and business partners. The team will absolutely follow the leader’s lead.

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RETAIL LEADERS of all levels speak volumes on what matters most every day in stores. Do you allow a customer to walk by you without acknowledging them or offering assistance? Really? Never? Yes you do. We all do it as we are heading to the stockroom or while on the phone or in the middle of an important conversation with another manager. What have we told the store team when we do that? They saw it. Believe me … they saw it.

I challenge each of you to hold up a mirror to yourself today and examine what messages you are sending. Are you the example of leadership that you want to be? Are you the example of leadership that you need to be for your teams? Take this responsibility very seriously and you will seize a higher level of leadership.

Let me know what you see in the mirror.

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND RETAIL MANAGERS: Can it be leveraged for Communication, Motivation, AND RECRUITING/NETWORKING?

Did you just shudder at the thought of mixing your Social Media and work OR at the extra workload it might create? That’s good. Social Media can be scary mixed with your work peeps; however, can we find a way to leverage these communication vehicles for our retail teams and actually reduce our workload while working smarter? I think we can all agree that this is the now and the future. If you are not “LinkedIn”, you are definitely in the minority and missing out on a great resource. This is how we now communicate with friends, family, and our retail families. And it is awesome!

Most of you are using email, phone calls, voicemails, and conference calls to communicate with your teams today. What if? What if you could “tweet” your team? What if you could motivate the troops on Facebook with Status Updates of great performances last week? Newsletters are so last decade. What if you could find great managers and assistant managers by encouraging all of your team to participate on LinkedIn? Recruiting store management would become much simpler.

But how? You love your Social Media for your personal lives but you really do not want to mix that with your work teams. I think it could be accomplished with some easy steps. Twitter can be done through lists or a separate Twitter call sign for work. Facebook can be done the same way. In other words, my work Twitter call sign is DAILYVOICEMAIL while my personal is Tthompson.

Certainly you would want to set some ground rules for when, where, what to publish but how cool would it be!? Your teams will respond enthusiastically. This is how they are communicating away from work so let’s join in the conversation.

Recruiting great people for our teams can be labor intensive and it is a struggle to find the time to keep a network of potential managers warm until a spot opens. Let’s take on Social Media as a recruiting and networking vehicle by starting with LinkedIn.

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Join LinkedIn! Set up your profile and contact information. If you are already a member, make sure that all of your information is current.


Build your connections by sending out invitations and joining retail groups. Be sure to include past jobs and networks to enlarge your circle of influence. Add any networking partners that you have worked with in malls and shopping centers or that you have met at various industry functions.


Increase your exposure by commenting on Group Discussions and recent announcements. Get your name out there!


Post updates in the activity block when you open your LinkedIn home page.

EXAMPLES TO POST IN “Share an update”:

PARTY ZONE is looking for a talented Store Manager to take on an exciting opportunity in Atlanta, Georgia. Is it you? Contact me for details.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for GAP INC., the world’s leading specialty retailer? I would love to share that experience with you.

Store management openings in Texas at FINISH LINE! Interested or know someone who would be? Contact me at

The items you post here will show up in various spots to include your home page, your connections home page and on daily, weekly, monthly activity emails that go to millions of people. This is incredible free exposure for very little effort.


Have your Store Managers complete Steps 1 – 4. Now you have created a real recruiting workforce by countless exposures and retail connections.

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Now let’s move to Twitter and Facebook. These great vehicles can be tapped into as well —even if you do not want to create your own pages for total use. How? You could leverage the users already out there:

Your leader’s pages!

Your malls or shopping center’s pages!

Your center’s developer’s pages!

Your store’s pages!


Find out what is out there for you to tap into. Survey your management teams to assess what they currently have set up for personal use and any store pages. You will probably be surprised at the exposure you already have available.


Ask your manager’s permission to tap into their social media vehicles when you have a need to.


Establish a protocol for providing material to post when you would like to tap into their vehicles. The easiest method would be to give them the verbage via email. Example:

TWEET for stores xxxx, xxxx, xxxx to post Monday, February 7th: (Tweets are limited to 140 digits) Great opportunity at Philadelphia Apple store for ASM! Contact Act Fast!

Facebook post for stores xxxx,xxxx,xxxx to post immediately: Great opportunity at Philadelphia Apple store for ASM! Message me privately or comment here. Act Fast!


Post similar messages (but be sure to include contact info) on mall/developer pages yourself. Add to your calendar to do every Monday or the first Monday of every month. This could be assigned to one of your managers as well and taken off of your plate.

YES! It really is that simple! And …. it gets results. Tweet and LinkIn your way to no open positions in 2011.

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STARTING THE NEW YEAR LIKE A GRADUATE: Steve Jobs, Commencement Address from Stanford 2005

Do you remember your high school, college, graduate school graduation ceremony? Can you recall what it felt like? Everything is exciting, stimulating and ahead of you! I have said several times how great it is to be a retailer because you get so many fresh starts to be great and succeed: new day, new week, new month, new quarter, new year. This would certainly relate to many businesses and careers. And now…. HAPPY NEW FISCAL YEAR 2011! A fresh chance to be outstanding and achieve whatever you desire to.

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To kick off the new fiscal year a very special treat for you! I wanted to give you a dose of inspiration, motivation, AND can-do mindset to start you off in a great place. I think my choice delivers all of that and more. No other person has done more for the business world and retail than Steve Jobs in the last 5 years. He is clearly a brilliant person but he is more than that. Steve is a visionary and a leader. He has done extraordinary things from unextraordinary beginnings. He speaks to the 2005 Stanford University graduation class in terms of three stories. Each story has a lesson for you as we embark on 2011.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

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I wanted to share this article from Steve Tobak, The Corner Office on BNET – The CBS Interactive Business Network. As leaders in retail, we must be constantly learning and growing in our leadership. Steve discusses 10 Ways to be a Better Manager below that I think will resonate with all of you as you work towards debriefing the holiday season and mapping out your plans for 2011. Enjoy and learn!

About the biggest mistake successful managers make is thinking they’ve got all the answers. Let’s face it, when you’ve got enough successes and failures under your belt and plenty of gray hair on your head, it’s a natural tendency to spend more of your time talking than listening.

That’s a pitfall none of us should fall into, and that includes me. While it sometimes seems like I have enormous disdain for some “leadership gurus,” especially the academic type, I’m always on the lookout for folks who, like me, have real-world management experience and the inclination to share it with others.

Angel investor, entrepreneur, and former high-tech executive Martin Zwilling appears to be one of those guys. In a post on Business Insider he shares some excellent advice on how to motivate and engage employees, which he says derive from three key factors:

Alignment of the employee with the goals and vision of the company.

Faith of the employee in the competence of management and their commitment to realize the goals and vision.

Trust in their direct supervisor that he or she will support his or her people and help them to succeed.

Zwilling goes on to name 14 management dos and don’ts to help accomplish those three goals and engage your team; I expound on 10 that resonated with me:

  1. Don’t send mixed messages to your employees so that they never know where you stand. Nothing gets people running around in circles, chasing their tails, like saying one thing today and flip-flopping tomorrow. Be consistent and clear.
  2. Don’t BS your team. Be genuine and straightforward. If your management sets direction you don’t agree with, explain that you don’t always agree with them but then, you’re not the boss. It’s called “disagree and commit” and it is effective.
  3. Don’t act more concerned about your own welfare than anything else. Selfish behavior inspires the same in your team.
  4. Don’t avoid taking responsibility for your actions. Holding yourself accountable is the only way you can credibly hold others accountable.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions without checking your facts first.Mature leaders never react or overreact to a single data point or event. All that accomplishes is getting others to panic and start pointing fingers.
  6. Do what you say you are going to do when you are going to do it. I’m not crazy about the wording, but the message is clear: walk the talk. That’s what builds credibility and confidence in you as a leader and your team as a group.
  7. Do be responsive (return phone calls, emails). In this day and age of over-communication I wouldn’t spend all your time responding to every little thing, but when it’s important, communicate in real time if possible.
  8. Do admit your mistakes … and take the blame for failures.There is no better way to learn and teach. Failure is how we grow and mature.
  9. Do recognize your team and publicly support your people.That doesn’t mean destroy your own credibility by BSing your management or acting as if your team is perfect, but when they do the job or excel, get the word out.
  10. Do ask and listen. Enough said.

Above all, remember that the day you stop listening and learning is the day you stop growing as a manager, as a leader … and as a person. In my experience, expertise is both relative and transitory.

This is my kind of advise and plain talk which is why I shared this article with you. Please let me know what you think of this article. Seize a powerful leadership style to deliver great results with a great team!

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Selling during the holidays is soooooo much fun! Seriously, if you can not sell a sweater or a candle right now, you may want to consider a career change, right? Oh do the customers want you to solve their shopping problems. Buying holiday gifts is stressful stuff so if you can get your hands on a customer’s shopping list and fill it for them…. You are a holiday hero to that customer and your sales will explode not only now but next year as well. Customers that have a great experience during this hectic time will return to you in the new year. It’s a great opportunity to win new loyal customers.

So how can you accomplish great selling on your salesfloors to maximize your December results? Teach your teams to practice the following:

  1. Get the customer’s shopping list! Ask the customer if you could take a look at it to see if you can help them check off some names on their list. This is so easy and most customers love it. They have it out and looking at it anyway. If it does not make sense in the beginning, that’s cool just wait until you’ve assisted them with their initial requests and then ask “Now who else is on your shopping list that I can help you with? Let’s take a look”.
  2. Have some preset items in mind ready each day to show customers looking for ______________. Fill the blank with 10 year old daughter, 30 year old son, boyfriend, 20 year old nephew, 15 year old grandaughter, etc. This has to be refreshed everyday due to sell through.
  3. Attach a salesperson to every male you see in the store. Let’s face it! Guys do NOT like to shop. They are just not comfortable doing it. Teach your team to approach all males with gusto and sell like heck. The guys will let you take care of everything.
  4. Make it simple for the customer. Utilize shopping carts, shopping bags. Place purchased goods behind the register for them where possible so their hands are free to explore the product. Carry packages to the car for them. Anything that makes a hectic shopping environment a little bit easier will go a long way with the customer.
  5. Show and tell. Get the products in your customer’s hands and tell them why this is the right gift(s). Personal testimony has a lot of value especially with customers shopping for folks that are not like themselves; for example, grandmas shopping for grandaughters.
  6. ADD ON THOSE GIFT CARDS! People on the floor should utilize gift cards as their last option and then the cashier team needs to always say “Now how many gift cards do you need while you are here? They make great gifts for ____________________ or stocking stuffers.
  7. Create a sense of urgency for the customer. “These have been selling fast. You should probably get it now because if you leave and come back, it may not be here anymore”.
  8. Keep the energy, enthusiasm high. Inject as much fun as possible into the store and experience. This shopping stuff can be hard work. Make sure your customers have fun doing it.

Sell like hell everyone and seize the season! You are going to be bored in February so enjoy the hectic season while you can because business will be back to usual in just a couple of weeks.

Please share any of your great selling tips by clicking on comment at the end of the article.

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Did I mention fill those floors? The most important key to winning in the last 2 weeks of holiday is to have full salesfloors. The customer will buy what you have if you just put it out for them to shop. The last 10 days before Christmas and the 4 or 5 days after Christmas demand a merchant headset on your leadership team. Driving sales can be as simple as having it on the floor in a shoppable way.

grocery coupons

EVERY DAY must include a thorough walk through of your stockrooms and salesfloors. With either a team, paper in hand, and/or a walkie to communicate immediate action, take stock of what you do own and map out where to adjust your presentations as needed to get more, if not all, of your product on the salesfloor. DID I MENTION YOU SHOULD DO THIS EVERYDAY?

With the velocity of units flying out the doors now, constant adjustments are necessary to keep a great looking presentation for your customer to shop. Every retail company has some brilliant buyers and merchants; however, they will never purchase enough of all the right sizes, colors, styles and will clearly purchase too much of some items. Most of these items were purchased up to a year ago and they could only make educated guesses and forecasts on what would and would not sell at this time. In addition, clearly there are differences from store to store even just a mile away so one store could have plenty of an item that the store down the street is completely sold out of. Corporate presentation direction could never address all of these issues so all store leadership teams must OWN this everyday. Stores that wait for direction from their corporate visual teams or their District Managers will LOSE sales. Move, move, move! This is a call to action for you to make business happen by filling those floors in a thoughtful and fast way.

District Managers! I know you would love to be able to guide this process in all of your stores right now but clearly you can not be in all your locations everyday. With today’s technology, you do not have to be there to make a difference. Tap into Skype, pictures, and video to see what’s happening on the floors and make decisions with the leadership teams on how to maximize their salesfloors. Think outside of your normal routine to make an impact on your business.


Here is my recovery strategy that I shared during Back to School. I thought it deserved repeating at this crazy time. If you have great ideas to share with our DVD community on filling the floor or recovery, hit comment at the end of the article and share!


The following are the behaviors that need to happen throughout the day as part of the recovery strategy:

  1. “Own your zone” mentality. When checking in the staff, the MOD needs to give a detailed expectation of what they need to do in their zone when not selling to the customer. During the day the MOD should frequently ask, “are you proud of how your zone looks right now?” All staff must be checked out of their zone to reinforce this behavior.
  2. Headsets. Use the headset to communicate to the stock team in the backroom to pull merchandise for zones. Teach the staff to utilize teammates on the stock team so that they do not have to leave their zone to achieve replenishment.
  3. Managers. Part of being an effective MOD is to direct replenishment as needed while doing figure eights and holding the staff accountable for owning their zones. In addition, the opening manager should leave the store in good condition for the closing manager and the closing manager must leave the store in great condition for the next day’s business and opening manager. TEAMWORK!
  4. Reports. Utilize any reports available to help with efficient replenishment. Utilize these reports to prioritize the incoming shipment to replenish key items and product that is extremely low on the salesfloor FIRST! Work with your stock team to push key items and low stock items straight to the floor.
  5. Folding. Teach staff how and when to fast fold or improve the presentation to 90% instead of 100%. Sometimes the velocity is just so fast that having a folding board or perfect display of boxed items on the salesfloor is not recommended or practical until a lull in the business flow.

Here are the action steps to implement this ontime recovery strategy:


  1. The team must work as a unit, starting in the front of the store and making their way to the back of the store in a wave. The team will then work from the back of the store to the front on the other side. Once a horseshoe is completed, the team begins again. The team will decide who stocks and who straightens so that no details are missed.
  2. The team working from 1 to 4 pm will be directed to replenish and keep the sales floor clean and shoppable. Filling and fast folding is key.
  3. The team scheduled from 7 to 10 pm will fill the floor to perfection, rework fixtures, make substitutions and merchandising adjustments, and clean. They are the “CLOSE TO OPEN” SQUAD.
  4. The team must never be pulled for other duties for the mission to succeed. The only allowance to veer from this mission is a CUSTOMER! They absolutely can and should sell to someone in the zone they are working in.
  5. Each store will have to “own their business” with this program. Start the program with fewer people than you think you need. They will probably surprise you with their endurance and speed. You may have to adjust the time frames due to local business trends.
  6. The store manager must hire to these shifts. It can not be executed without availability in these time frames.
  7. The recovery team will report to the mid-shift or closing manager. The MOD runs the salesfloor and any additional managers on duty should lead the recovery team.
  8. The fitting rooms and cash wrap are part of the program. The recovery team is responsible for cleaning up go-backs and returns at the cash wrap. This should be done hourly starting at the beginning of the recovery shift.
  9. Pick up trash! Busy days create a lot of trash and paper stuff on the floors. The recovery team is responsible for cleaning up the floors in each zone as they work it.
  10. PACE is key to this strategy! This teams needs to move in high gear.

Here is a sample chart for scheduling. The recovery team’s hours should represent 8 to 12% of total hours scheduled. This chart should fall within most stores payroll guidelines.

Forecasted Volume

Afternoon Team

Evening Team

Total Hrs Recovery










































































This team IS NOT in lieu of your stock team. They will simply expedite some goods to the floor; however, your stock team should still be executing their plan. The recovery team goals are presentation, shoppability, cleanliness, and replenishment in that order unless you do not have a stock team on that day.

THE PROVEN BIG WINS FROM THIS STRATEGY ARE: Eliminates the need for staying really late after closing, planned late night and overnight recoveries. Protects your payroll and puts staff on the floor while the customers are in the store. Puts the goods back on the salesfloor and in a shoppable position quickly. This is a great use of payroll dollars and delivers big volume days.

Let me know how it works out for you. Seize the peak with great recovery!

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Integrity is everyone in the organization’s job and responsibility. Every associate must contribute to the code through their feedback, contributions, actions, and communications. It is your responsibility to be a part of the integrity of your company. As leaders in your organizations as managers, it is critical that you do the right thing for yourself, your team, and your customers. Your actions should demonstrate and teach the integrity code of your business.

In “The Integrity Advantage”, written by Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford, a great story of integrity in action is told and shows that doing the right thing is good for your company and your customer. Here’s the story.

Greg Smith, a corporate insurance agent in Texas, was filling out a new policy for a client that he had just acquired when the customer asked him to change the effective date on the policy. The customer stated that he wanted the policy to cover a claim that had happened just a few days earlier. No big deal right? It would save this new customer several hundred dollars and would that really matter to a large multi-million dollar insurance company? Come on …. It’s just a small act of dishonesty.

Mr. Smith knew one day this would happen to him and he was very prepared for his answer. He asked the customer, “Well then, when is the next time you want me to lie to you?”

Wow! Greg Smith was comfortable with his behavior and actions as clearly it was the right thing to do for the business. What about this new customer who now has to foot the bill for the claim that happened several days before his policy was active? Did he dump this insurance company and agent? Absolutely not! The customer went on to spend nearly one million dollars with Mr. Smith over the years on several more policies. The customer had solid proof of Mr. Smith’s integrity and knew he could trust him. He knew he could trust Mr. Smith to do the right thing.

Your actions speak of your and your company’s integrity every day. Make sure it is saying that you have high integrity and believe in doing what’s right.

Adapted from Bits & Pieces on Leadership.

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Retail is all about beating Last Year’s key metrics from sales to conversion to units per transaction. This is how your results and performance are measured. I challenge you to look at it a different way as well. Always challenge yourself and your team to be better today than you were yesterday. This is guaranteed to take your performance to a whole new level. As retailers we should never be satisfied! There are always ways to do better and to do more. If you want to be a retail star and legend, challenge yourself to do exactly that. Ask yourself constantly what could we have done differently or better. Think: “Wow – that was an amazing day with an 18% comp and 35% conversion but I think we should have had a 20+ comp if we had ………. .” Be great by being better today than you were yesterday. Challenge all that’s possible.

Seize the best results possible!

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I know you felt what I felt — THE CUSTOMER IS BACK! The traffic was amazing and swarmed the stores! In addition, many of the customers were in stores earlier than ever before. There was an electric charge in the air as the customers filled shopping bags and carts like I have not seen in three years. Nearly every retailer had lines in the store or waiting to enter the store or both! It was crazy fun and I think a sign of a good holiday season ahead for retailers. With that said, are you and your teams ready to maximize the return of the customer this holiday season? Black Friday like business will be back again and again throughout December. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, the five to seven days before Christmas, and of course the big day after Christmas, all present huge important sales days that will warrant Black Friday like preparation, processes, and execution. Set yourself up for success with a deep dive debrief of your team’s Black Friday performance.

Start with THE METRICS! The numbers do not lie. Analyze your metrics and comparisons to LY for opportunities to correct performance or build upon success.

Big sales day mean busy registers. Dive into your cashier and line management performance. Who handled the pressure and pace and who may need to be reassigned to a different position in the store? Did the line wait time suffer and negatively impact sales? Line busters are so key to fast check outs and limited lines. Did you deploy them or should you have? Were they trained on what they should do? Did you receive complaints or compliments from the customer on your check out process? A key to great performance here is managing go-backs and trash. Did you tackle this well?

Recovery and replenishment separate the good performers from the great performers. The teams must be able to keep the store shoppable, organized and filled in. How did your team do? If your conversion dropped during the day, it probably points to a poor performance in recovery and replenishment. This must be scheduled and assigned to specific staff. If your recovery did not measure up, you must effect this for the remainder of the season.

Did you have the right people in the right place in the right numbers? The schedule is the most important preparation piece to any big day. You can not spend too much time dotting your “I’s” and crossing your “t’s” on your schedule. Learn from Black Friday’s schedule and apply the learnings for the rest of the season. Analyze your customer to staff ratio per hour along with your sales performance by hour. What can you gleen from these numbers? You can always send them home but very tough to get them in during the heat of the battle.

How big was pricing on this key day? Did you have customers consistently asking for the price of items? If so, your marketing and accuracy were deficient. We must have all products clearly priced and signed for the customer. You either had this as an advantage on the big day or a detriment to your business in lost sales or efficiencies. Where did you stand? How can you correct it for the season?

What do you wish you had done prior to the start of the day?
Do it for every key day in December.

Debrief and hindsight with your team early this week. Write it down! Keep your notes for next year’s Black Friday planning. Apply your learnings and course corrections for the key days of December. We have a great opportunity to have a STRONG positive holiday season for the first time in several years. Get your teams in position to take advantage of it and maximize December.

Seize the season!


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The schedule is all set and the team is ready to be deployed. Every staff member has a job to do and a role to play on Black Friday. How about the management team — what the heck should they be doing?

Your management team’s assignments will depend on two key factors — hours open and the number of managers in the building. With that said, here are the key roles that should be played:

  1. OPENING MANAGER. The opening manager should be the store manager regardless of the store’s opening time —– whether it is midnight or 5 am. The store manager should set the stage and pace for the day. The power of early and midnight openings has grown exponentially the last few years. Midnight opening stores will have half of their day in by 5 am. The SM will be the MOD and driving the salesfloor.

  2. PERSONNEL MANAGER. The second manager to arrive should take over as the personnel manager. This role should check the staff in quickly at the start of their shifts; check out staff as they end their day and thank them for their performance; manage all 15 minute and meal breaks.
  3. CASH WRAP MANAGER. The third manager to arrive should take over the leadership of the cash wrap team and manage the lines. Staying on top CNW supplies and trash will be critical as well. This is your banker and manages the money and drawers as well.
  4. CLOSING MANAGER. The fourth manager in a standard four manager store will be the closer. This manager will be LOD and responsible for finishing sales strong and setting up the business for a big Saturday the following day. This manager must be a strong close to open leader.
  5. RECOVERY MANAGER. The fifth manager, when available, should be responsible for the recovery and replenishment efforts in the store. This manager should be scheduled from 3 am to 1 pm in midnight opening stores or 8 am to 6 pm in early open stores.
  6. MANAGER ON DUTY. The sixth manager, when available, should be layered in as an additional Manager on Duty to drive sales on the floor or as a complete mid-manager MOD in midnight opening stores.

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  7. CO-CLOSER. The seventh manager, when available, should be utilized as a double closer to ensure sales are maximized and the store is closed to open successfully.
  8. MANAGER ON DUTY. ALL additional managers that exist should be layered in as sales drivers running portions of the salesfloor or an additional cash wrap manager for midnight opening stores.

In stores that open at midnight but do not have the luxury of additional managers, deploy key associates in some of these leadership roles throughout the day. Most of these roles require LEADERSHIP NOT KEYS TO THE STORE to be effective.

Deploying your leadership team effectively will make a huge impact on your results. Rock out a record with the right leadership strategy!

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Are you and your teams ready to STOMP COMP this holiday season? Game on! The season is kicking into gear and it so important that you are ready to maximize this real opportunity to STOMP COMP! Here are some key strategies to implement.

These are theTEN ESSENTIAL “GOTTA KNOWS” for all levels of field leadership every day:

  1. Last year’s sales – you can NOT stomp comp if you do not know what comp is each day.
  2. Yesterday’s sales volume. Great indicator for forecasting and guaging your business.
  3. Current trend to LY…. What does the math say you will do today?
  4. Same day last week’s sales which is a great smell test. On Thursday, what did you do last Thursday?
  5. WTD and MTD sales! Where do you stand?
  6. Business environment events – know what is going on in your shopping center from One Day Sales to early openings.
  7. Key item sales and ownership. What is selling and do you have any left? Never start a day without knowing your product position.
  8. Staffing for the day! Is it still right for your up to date forecast?
  9. Replenishment completed last night – closed to open? Recovery plan for today. How many units were sold yesterday and replenished last night? How many units will you sell today?
  10. The holiday calendar! Veteran’s Day officially kicks the season in gear. Great call out this week is the shift from Wednesday to Thursday for the holiday. How will that effect your week’s business? Wednesday should be planned and forecasted down 20 to 25% for most stores. Thursday should be forecasted with LY’s Wednesday volume plus trend. Friday? Well Friday could be huge as many folks may take a long weekend with the Veteran’s Day holiday on Thursday – be ready for that with on calls. The calendar will have some movement throughout the season and it pays to be on top of it.

Now you are set up with the information to STOMP COMP with these guiding principles throughout the season as non-negotiables:

Have a selling culture on your team! You are helping a customer or helping someone who is. Stomp out task saturation.

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Effective scheduling for the business. Right people, right place, right quantities at the right time. Make adjustments as the business dictates and MOVE FAST.

MOD (Manager on Duty) presence leading the salesfloor. This must be a commanding leader that is driving sales from open to close. Someone must always be responsible for the results of every hour.

Flawless execution of all pricing and marketing strategies. Never has this been more important than now. The customer is demanding reduced prices and most stores have them but shame on you if the customer can not easily recognize where the deals and values are due to poor execution. No excuses — make 100% accurate pricing and signing happen.

Neat, clean, well-presented stores. This has to be an obsession of all teams every hour of the day starting with close to open. Recovery should happen in the moment to keep your great goods easily shoppable. Your customer to staff ratio will never be enough so your customers need to be able to put their hands on the items of their choice quickly and easily.

Shipment on the floor in 24! Never let your shipment cartons sleep through the night in your stockrooms. You need those goods processed and to the floor for your customers. Do not lose any sales that could have been saved if the shipments were processed on time.

Infect your team with the current campaign strategy! Your marketing teams have put together dynamic plans and promotions for your teams and the customer. Many dollars have been invested by your companies. Scream these great promotions and giveaways and specials in your stores. Get your teams pumped about them and make it electric in your buildings.

Invest YOUR time where you will get the greatest return. As field leaders you will need to be smart with your time and be where it matters. For a store manager that may mean the salesfloor driving sales or in the stockroom driving pace. For DM’s that may mean 1 hour visits to 5 stores in a day or spending the entire day in a troubled store. Make good decisions and do the right thing for driving holiday sales because on January 1st it’s all over.

It is time to STOMP SOME HOLIDAY COMP! Have fun out there and seize the holiday season!




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This holiday will test everyone’s patience and strength. Along the way will you choose to punch forward and plow through the challenges and difficulties or will you choose to grumble, complain, and lose your way? You have a choice! Choose to be great and make the best of every day. Find ways to win and tackle the challenges.

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Your teams will be looking to you to help them rise above the nonsense and negative noise. They will need you to prop them up when they have a difficult day. Be the one that chooses to look for ways to win instead of reasons why you lost. Choose to be great and lift your teams to a great holiday.

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Gift cards are an incredible vehicle for sales for retailers. Why? They are easy to sell, easy to redeem, a marketing tool, minimal workload, and sometimes 100% profitable as they are not all redeemed. Why then have they been soft during the recession?

→ Like with everything else, the customer pulled back their spending.

→ Bad press on expirations and added fees which were mostly untrue.

→ Afraid the retailer would be out of business after the holidays.

The number one reason has been falling prices on goods. The smart consumer could get great products with high perceived values for lower prices than the perceived value of a gift card.

Consider this, if you could find an $80 Polo Sport sweater for $22 at a Macy’s One Day Sale, would a $25 gift card to Macy’s feel the same? The gift recipient would certainly think you spent more bucks on them with the sweater and who doesn’t want their recipients to think you dropped a pile on their gift? As long as the pricing wars continue to drive sales in the register, gift card sales will remain challenged. With that said, it remains a hugely important piece of the holiday season.

Here’s the facts:

    $39.80         Average amount of each gift card purchased holiday 2009.

    3.5         Average number of gift cards that people purchased during holiday last year.

    27%        People that say they like buying gift cards due to the flexibility it offers the recipient.

    2007        The year gift cards peaked after a five year significant climb.

    67%        Purchased a gift card last year from a specific store.


Most popular gift cards last holiday were:

    31.0%        Restaurants

29.3%        Department Stores

    14.7%        Bookstores

    13.6%        Electronics Stores

    12.2%        Discount Stores

    12.0%        Coffee Shops

    10.2%        Entertainment Venues like Movie Theaters

     9.2%        Grocery Stores/Gas

     8.2%        Home Improvement Stores

     7.5%        Clothing Stores


Gift cards should definitely rebound this year; however, 2007 will likely remain the top year with prices still at discount rates on gifts in stores. At any rate, millions of gift cards will be sold and it is a key business driver for the growing and powerful week after Christmas, as well as, January sales and beyond. Train your teams to present gift cards to your customers on the salesfloor and at the registers. Gift cards are still a great gift for stockings, friends, service providers, teachers, coaches, long distance family, long distance friends, etc. Brainstorm with your team all of the great ways to present gift cards as a great option. Make it fun and competitive and it will pay off after the holiday.

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Fact source:

Seize the holiday season and beyond!

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Here it is — the playoff season for retailers. In contrast to sports, the Super Bowl comes early in the playoffs on Black Friday which is the most amazing day of the year if you are a retailer that loves your job. The entire season is full of excitement, enthusiasm, high hopes, frustrations, cheer, exhaustion, disappointments, celebrations, the full range of emotions and feelings. This season will be no different; however, the forecasts for success are cautious, bleak to solid. With the Back to School results in the bank, I think this year will be the best since 2007. The signs are there for some pent-up spending to explode. I expect to see some solid sales growth in the 3 to 5 percent range which would be a big win.

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The holiday season includes the results from both fiscal November and December. These two months represent 20% of annual sales for most retailers. Toys, jewelry and a few others produce up to 40% of their entire year’s sales. This year’s calendar has Thanksgiving falling in the same place as last year; however, Christmas day shifts one day later as it usually does. This creates one additional pre-Christmas shopping day in the season. Week 4’s impact is dropping the BIG day after Christmas into week 5 results and replacing it with a pre-Christmas day with Christmas falling on Saturday this year. Week 5 of December should be planned for the biggest comp week of the season.

$447B estimated holiday retail sales.

    Projected 2010 increase +2.3%.

2008 was the only year that did not have an increase since 1992.

    450,000+ people were hired by retailers in 2009 for the holidays.

56% of consumers shop where the low prices are.

    40% of people began their holiday shopping before Halloween in 2009. About 20% of people started their shopping before October.

38% of people started their holiday purchasing in November. And amazingly, 22% of people did not start their shopping until December LY.

    The Commerce Department reported that the average spending in 2009 was $681.83 with $386.55 of that being on family gifts.

87% of retailers offered specific Cyber Mondays specials last year.

    1/3 of Black Friday shoppers bought toys last year.

$343.31 was the average amount spent from Thursday through Sunday of Black Friday weekend last year.

    79 MILLION people shopped on Black Friday last year.

1/3 of Black Friday shoppers were in stores by 5 in the morning.

    50% of Black Friday shoppers purchased apparel or accessories.

40% of Black Friday shoppers purchased books, CD’s, DVD’s, videos or video games.

    38% of Black Friday shoppers purchased electronics.

22% of Black Friday shoppers purchased Gift Cards.

Let the season begin!



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“Here come the holiday hires. Here come the holiday hires. Right to your front gate.” But wait! How many? When? Rudolph, help me! I have no idea how many people are needed this holiday season. Do not fear — there’s an app for that, too.

Retail Math is back to take the guesswork and mystery out of holiday hiring.

Let’s break each step down. First, determine your forecast for Black Friday. This year it may feel like Russian Roulette to set a forecast for the biggest day of the year; however, gather all of your facts and make an informed forecast. This day is simply not like other days. The crowds will come regardless of the economy just like they did last year and the year before.

What do you need to know to set your forecast?

LY’s comp percent on Black Friday

Trend going into Black Friday LY

Trend for last 60 days TY

Mall events LY and TY on Black Friday

Sales volume for Black Friday the last 3 years

Competitor changes TY to LY

Competition plans for Black Friday

Mall hours LY for Black Friday

Mall hours TY for Black Friday

Proximity to department stores, toy stores running early morning events

Scheduled promotion activity for your store(s) and how it compares to LY

Traffic trends TY


All of this information should guide you to an informed decision on your forecast. I recommend being cautiously optimistic which will allow you to schedule staff to convert your traffic. It is much easier to send your staff home early than to bring in extra people after the fact on this challenging parking day. Start with LY volume x trend and then tweak with all of the information gathered.

$98,500 (LY) x 103% (Trend) = $101,455        3% positive trend for the last 60 days applied to LY sales volume. Now tweak that based on the information gathered in the above table.

Next, determine your largest volume and workload week for December. For hiring purposes, you need to know what will be the largest payroll hour workload week during the season. 2010 has Christmas day falling on Saturday which will create 5 powerful volume days plus Christmas Eve. Week 3 of December will have four very high volume days and three powerful volume days. With that said, I think it will be close which is actually the biggest volume week so workload may be the differentiator. I am leaning towards week 4 being the biggest week of the year with the customer shopping closer to the holidays and schools will likely be out the entire week. I would forecast 3 to 5 points off trend in week 3 and plus 3 to 5 points on trend in week 4 due to the calendar shift. Take typical holiday workload into account; for example, clearance event or early spring releases planned, to determine total hours workload.

With all that information, forecast your biggest volume week using trend and calendar shift, as well as, factors that are relevant from step one.

Week 3        $205,000 (LY) x 98% (Trend of 3% – 5 points) = $200,900    Again… tweak these numbers based on the information gathered in the above table.

Week 4        $215,000 (LY) x 108% (Trend of 3% + 5 points) = $232,200

At this stage of planning your forecast does not have to be perfect and can be refined later. This is initial planning for hiring purposes.

Step Three takes your forecast from Step One to determine your staffing needs for Black Friday. With your Black Friday sales forecast in hand, hand write your ideal schedule for that day complete with job and zone assignments. We will discuss more tips for scheduling that day later but two important tips for this exercise are to keep your hourly team fresh with shorter shifts like 5 hours and stagger the incoming and outgoing personnel to eliminate any mass exits and disruptions of the store.

With the ideal schedule in hand, check your math to keep within your payroll guidelines. Black Friday will represent 48 to 50% of the week’s volume and should utilize 35 to 40% of the hours available. You now know the payroll hours and ideal shifts for the day. Here’s the math:



STORE 123 = 34 – 22 (CURRENT STAFF) = 12 HIRES + 3 (10% OF 34) = 15 HIRING TARGET FOR PHASE ONE

Hiring for phase one should be complete one week before Black Friday.

The final step is your hiring target for the season based on Step Two’s forecasted volume and workload week. With the volume target in hand, run a mock schedule on your system or hand write it if that is not available. Keep in mind the same tips of shorter shifts and staggering staff. Layer on your workload estimate for the week. This estimate should take into account any information that you have gathered from your supervisor or reviewing LY’s workload hours. It is reasonable to expect a similar workload TY with markdowns or product moves or promotional activity. Make sure your scheduled final hours for this exercise are in line with your company’s payroll program.


STORE 123 = 58 – 22 (CURRENT STAFF) = 36 + 6 (10% OF 58) = 42 HIRING TARGET FOR PHASE TWO

Hiring for phase two should be complete one week before your largest workload/volume week begins.

So there’s your targets. Do the math and seize the holiday hires right on time.




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So you want to be a District Manager!? Really? Are you sure? The first step is to understand the position and what it really entails. Spend some time discussing the job with your District Manager. I know you think you get it but… you only see a small portion of what the District Manager actually does and how they spend their time.

There are several HUGE shifts involved when moving from a Store Manager to a District Manager. These include moving from a more physically demanding job to a taxing mental job; 24/7 availability and accessibility (true); indirect responsibility to complete tasks (no you can not do it in 12 stores); significant planning responsibilities; and more! It is a big job and very different from managing a store. Great Store Managers do not automatically make great DM’s. It is a different skill set and leadership challenge. Did I mention the rookie FIFTEEN POUNDS you will gain? A testament to the shift from physical to mental work.

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So the first step is to determine whether you have the right stuff to lead a successful district and the desire to do so. It is a huge commitment and life shift which you should thoroughly think through (with your family and personal needs in mind) before pursuing. Have a serious discussion with your DM and RM on your skill set.

It’s a go and you are ready to start this career path. To begin the process, RUN A GREAT STORE! District Managers are not promoted from poorly managed and underperforming stores. Be an accomplished Store Manager! To lead others you must first own the skills and knowledge that you will be holding others accountable to.

Now it is time to start stretching yourself. Expand your role as a Store Manager by taking on special projects and assignments. Every experience not only increases your name recognition but provides a great opportunity to learn and enhance your skills. You will be building a database in your head to refer back to as a DM. The more you know and have done yourself, the better equipped you are to lead others.

Great District Managers are skilled talent scouts and people developers. With that said, Store Managers that want to be District Managers must begin developing and demonstrating those skills now. Be a great recruiter for your district. Take that on for your DM as an assignment. Work hand in hand with your District Manager to fill any needs in the district as well as building a network of contacts for future needs. In addition, be a great developer in your building. Your ASM’s should be some of the best in the district as well as promotable. “People promote people” is not just a saying. It is real! How many managers in your district on every level have been touched by you through recruiting, mentoring, developing or promoting? Double that and you are well on your way.

And finally, there is so much to learn and experience to prepare yourself to be promoted. You must take responsibility for that growth. Your leaders will help but it will not be their most pressing issue or task but it will be top of the charts for you. Ask, ask, ask! Ask for time. Ask for store visits. Ask to travel with them. Ask for extra projects. Make yourself top of mind BUT be reasonable and patient with your bosses. They have big jobs and lots to do. They absolutely want to help you in your journey but have to fit it into a million other things. Step into a leadership role with your peers and learn by doing. Experience as many situations as possible. This is how it happens. Enjoy your journey and best of luck!

Seize the promotion by seizing each day!

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Did you just shudder at the thought of mixing your Social Media and work? That’s good. Social Media can be scary mixed with your work peeps; however, can we find a way to leverage these communication vehicles for our retail teams? I think we can all agree that this is the now and the future. If you are not “LinkedIn”, you are definitely in the minority. This is how we now communicate with friends, family, and our retail families. And it is awesome!

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Most of you are using email, voicemail, and conference calls to communicate with your teams today. What if? What if you could “tweet” your team? What if you could motivate the troops on Facebook with Status Updates of great performances last week? Newsletters are so last decade. What if you could find great managers and assistant managers by encouraging all of your team to participate on LinkedIn? Recruiting field managers would become much simpler.

But how? You love your Social Media for your personal lives but you really do not want to mix that with your work teams. I think it could be accomplished with some easy steps. Twitter can be done through lists or a separate Twitter call sign for work. Facebook can be done the same way. In other words, my work Twitter call sign is DAILYVOICEMAIL while my personal is Tthompson.

Certainly you would want to set some ground rules for when, where, what to publish but how cool would it be!? Your teams will respond enthusiastically. This is how they are communicating away from work so let’s join in the conversation.

If anyone is already doing this please let us know how it is going. If you are going to try this, let the DAILY VOICEMAIL DEALIO community hear all about it.

Seize SOCIAL MEDIA to communicate with your teams!

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POWERFUL WORDS! Empowerment is such a huge piece of leadership and I think that is what Nelson Mandela is speaking to. Grow and lead your people by setting them up for success and letting them lead. Guide them and stay connected but stay back and let them get up front. Your people will grow with you behind them as a safety net and guiding force.

Leaders have to have the courage to let go. Let your people learn, make mistakes, and get stronger. Great leaders are measured by the strength of the team around them.

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As technology invades our world in every way, innovations continue to surface and change the way we live, learn, communicate, read, and SHOP. Here comes “Shopkick”. There’s an app for that!

Shopkick is a new application for iPhones (Android Fall 2010). It is pretty cool stuff. Shopkick has several big name retail companies signed up to participate: American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority, and Simon Malls. This is basically a reward program but has other elements as well. Shopkick will know when you are in the store, where you are, and what you are doing. It will award you kickbucks (points) for certain behaviors like entering the store, picking up (yes, literally just holding) a specific item, going in the dressing room. The kickbucks will eventually add up to gift cards and other prizes such as Facebook games or music downloads.

Shopkick is literally rewarding behaviors. B. F. Skinner anyone? Good girl – here’s a kickbuck. Very interesting stuff and just think of the data it is collecting for the retailer about how you navigate inside the store. As a retailer, this is extremely cool and I can see a lot of value in this information. As a consumer …. this is a little creepy, right?

At any rate, our world is changing literally every day with technology. Shopkick may or may not survive and impact retailing and shopping; however, this type of innovation is certainly just scratching the surface of the future. Smartphones are getting smarter and smarter and smarter.


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