Retail Company Culture
Have no doubt whatsoever, the head of the organization dictates, through words and actions, what the culture will be.
I want to tell you about the incredible culture created by a CEO, and a gentleman, I’ll call Sam.
For three years, I had the opportunity to work for the company that this man headed up before he decided to sell his successful enterprise to a large, old school retailer.
We were saddened to be losing such a great leader but we knew he deserved the rest and we wished him well.
Those three years were perhaps the most rewarding and educational years of my entire career, one that spans over twenty years.
The company was managed in such a way that you had no choice but to feel like an important part of it.
No employee was ever treated like a number, unworthy of receiving up to date communication on what was happening within the company.
The executive were always aware of the impact their actions would have on store personnel and customers.
In this company everyone understood where, and by whom, sales were made and every effort was made to include input from the field whenever important decisions were being made that would affect employees or customers.
The man I speak of did not always have a successful company on his hands.
It was quite a feat, requiring dedication, a new direction and a new way of being. Sam did many, many things to move his company in the right direction.
I did not know this man as well as some of my colleagues did but I know, for certain, that he is a man with integrity.
Culture is something you build with every word you say and every action you take. A positive culture does not come about by accident.
It takes the ability and the willingness to know and admit that you don’t know everything and you don’t have all the answers.
It takes the guts to take action to fix something that’s not working. It takes coaching and loyalty and lending a hand to those who need it.
Store Managers were invited, and expected, to have an impact on the whole organization and not just their own store.
It wasn’t over just because someone said it was over.
And the company flourished. Following the news of the sale of the company, most field management stayed in place for some time.
It was like a period of mourning. Executive and management moved on to new challenges and the business went straight down, at least for the short term.
The new owners will never understand what happened. There will be reasons and excuses but they all amount to nothing.
It’s that simple and it’s such a shame.
Those of us who lived in Sam’s environment clearly understand what happened when he and his carefully chosen team were no longer at the helm.
The key to sustaining a successful business is to RESPECT the culture – after all, the business is secretly thriving on it; OBSERVE carefully, for a time, and then ACT appropriately.