The 10 commandments of effective leadership
Dan Mack, Executive Director, Mack Elevation Forum
There are more than 58,000 books sold on Amazon with the word “leadership” in the title. With so much literature available, why is the concept of leadership so misunderstood?
(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)
In a world where “higher value” normally refers to the shareholder and not the consumer, it’s easy to view the topic of leadership — a topic whose “answer” remains largely unsolved — with skepticism.
The first-ever Future Leaders Summit, co-produced by Mack Elevation Forum and Drug Store News in May, saw the industry speak honestly and openly about leadership with a special group of innovators, transformers and disruptors in the world of consumer brands, retailers and entrepreneurs. What they said matters. Leadership has very little to do with certified techniques and everything to do with individuality, transparency and originality.
The most effective leaders are multipliers who develop other new leaders. They embrace mentorship, and they develop talent diligently. They grow emotional intelligence. They practice deep listening.
The following 10 key takeaways from the event suggest that’s what it’s all about.
1. Story: According to Bill George, Harvard professor and former Medtronic CEO, “leadership is not about traits, it is about your life story.” Leadership is about understanding other’s stories, so you can help them thrive.
As Walmart’s Michelle Gloeckler shared, “Everything I ever learned about leadership, I initially learned as a young waitress.” It’s about serving others.
2. Share of heart: The quality of your overall leadership impact is dependent on your success in earning a high share of heart with your team and practicing deep listening. The ability to stay present with others demonstrates your commitment and allows you the vantage point to call out other people’s unique attributes. Connecting on a heart level creates trust.
3. Emotional intelligence: One’s EQ, or emotional intelligence, matters more than IQ. There is a direct relationship between how you show up and your ability to manage your own emotions and positively influence others. The best leaders are very self-aware and encourage honest assessment.
4. Purpose driven: Leaders that are led by a compelling purpose attract and retain the best talent. SoapBox CEO David Simnick noted that today’s consumer mantra is, “Don’t tell me, show me — and prove to me how much you care.” All of us — both in our professional careers, as well our personal lives — want to be involved with something bigger than ourselves.
5. Courage: Throughout his career, Massage Envy CEO Joe Magnacca has embraced risk. “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take,” Magnacca advised. Be willing to fail and pick yourself up quickly. Or, according to Mark Zuckerberg, “in a world that is changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
6. Diversity of thought: Ideas don’t care where they came from. Leaders who embrace broad diversity outperform teams that are monolithic. Embrace a culture that encourages the discovery of new ideas and recruits diverse-thinking — and acting — associates.
7. Transformational mindset: All of us occasionally struggle with stagnation. Transformational mindset demands that leaders are present, show empathy and give and accept “real-time” feedback. Transformational leaders are hyper-focused on vision and are skilled at recovering from failure.
8. Embrace paradox: There is no blueprint. Leaders must balance casting vision, driving results, developing talent and protecting culture. They must also be able to hold opposing views simultaneously. They are agile learners and swift agents of change.
9. Mentoring: McKesson’s Chris Dimos reminded us that being a mentor is an open invitation for leadership to flourish. The best leaders are capable of mentoring others, and are, themselves, coachable. And the best mentors have mastered non-directive questioning and coaching.
10. What is your why?: What do you stand for and who do you stand with? Fifty-nine percent of Americans say a company’s corporate social responsibility activities impact their purchase decisions. And it certainly influences whether employees choose to join a company. What you stand for as an organization — and as a leader — is as essential as the job description and the potential for long-term growth.
In closing, former Family Dollar chief merchant Jason Reiser — who last month accepted the job as COO of Vitamin Shoppe — offered 10 characteristics of today’s purpose-driven leader, including one rule borrowed from the late great Gen. George Patton: To effectively lead others, you must be comfortable walking behind them.
In this special report, Drug Store News highlights key discussion from the May 24 Future Leaders Summit and examines the best practices a host of leading companies are employing to attract, develop and retain the next generation of great business leaders.
Social media, school calendar will shape back-to-school season
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The upcoming back-to-school season will be extremely dynamic, as shoppers increasingly shop for school supplies online and tax-free holidays and school start dates shift.
“To the average consumer, back-to-school shopping may seem like a fairly consistent and predictable routine, but for retailers and manufacturers it is an extremely dynamic environment,” said Leen Nsouli, director, office supplies industry analyst, The NPD Group.
Birth of a back-to-school season online: While back-to-school shoppers are still shopping primarily at brick-and-mortar, they are increasingly purchasing supplies online. From July through September 2015, the e-commerce channel gained $90 million in dollar share growth versus brick-and-mortar. “Consumers are spending more online and it is occurring later in the season, with a seasonal arc forming from the first week of August and lasting through mid-September. Back-to-school online share will continue to grow, making it even more essential for retailers and manufacturers to optimize their omni-channel strategies,” said Nsouli.
Shifts in school start dates and tax-free holidays: School start dates differ by region and grade level around the U.S., causing variations in spending patterns and influencing when consumers are in stores and shopping for supplies. Areas such as New York and Seattle are among the latest start dates, while Atlanta and Phoenix are among the earliest. This year there will be two less shopping days between the Fourth of July and Labor Day. “Each year back-to-school spending occurs later, and a late Labor Day holiday in 2015 pushed out the spending even later than prior years. I anticipate this will also be the case this year,” said Nsouli.
At the same time, there will be differences in the handful of states that offer tax-free days during July and August. This year there will be nine less days by state versus 2015, and some others have shifted their days. This pertains not only to brick-and-mortar stores; e-commerce sites will also be offering tax-free savings on items. “All of these factors reinforce the importance of timing for retailers and manufacturers as they plan their assortments, in-store and online merchandising, and back-to-school marketing campaigns,” added Nsouli.
Influence of school lists and supply packs on purchases: “With 70 percent of teachers providing school lists and 30 percent offering school supply packs, it is no surprise that these are the primary stimuli for back-to-school supply purchases,” said Nsouli. K-6 school list items vary by region, which impacts the demand and sales for certain items in those areas. For example, a higher percentage of thesauruses are on school lists in the Northeast, and watercolors in the West, according to NPD’s Back-to-School Supply List Database 2015. There is also a regional relevance when it comes to school supply packs, which are offered to parents for purchase by the school.
“Social media engagement has added yet another dimension to every industry and season, and back-to-school is no exception. A perpetual stream of trends on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram means that teachers and other consumers alike are being influenced in new and different ways. This has also helped to put the fashion back in function when it comes to supplies; consumers are willing to spend more on aesthetically pleasing, or fashionable, products, ” said Nsouli. In fact, last year NPD found that over one-third of U.S. teachers used Pinterest and 20 percent used Facebook for classroom curriculum and school list inspiratio.