Can your company pass the EQ test?
CPG executives each discussed their companies’ efforts to recruit and develop high emotional intelligence during a panel discussion moderated by Dan Mack, executive director of the Mack Elevation Forum, at the Future Leaders Summit.
For a sales and marketing team operating in the retail space to be truly successful today, team members need to have a high EQ — the emotional equivalent to IQ.
(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)
That was the key takeaway from a panel discussion among leading CPG executives — including, Todd Hutsko, VP sales at Fleet Labs; Nick Rini, VP global sales at i-Health; Kevin Garvey, director of sales for the Target team at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare; and Andrew Archambault, chief customer officer at U.S. Nutrition-NBTY — about what their companies are doing both to recruit and develop high emotional intelligence in their organizations.
“The data is wildly telling. People who demonstrate high emotional intelligence have a 58% higher success rate in every job there is — high tech, medicine, everything. It’s that powerful,” noted Mack Elevation Forum executive director Dan Mack and co-host and moderator of the May 24 Future Leaders Summit.
“One of the things I look for in people to join our team, is how much they talk about their performance in terms of what they did with others versus how much they talk about what they know,” said U.S. Nutrition’s Archambault.
For Pfizer Consumer Healthcare’s Garvey, “it all comes back to interest and passion,” he said. “That’s when you link it all together, when you connect those basic business competencies that we all have with energizing someone [around] purpose, passion and interest.”
“The most important thing is someone who has a passion for continuous improvement,” added Fleet’s Hutsko. “Someone willing to listen, willing to ask questions, willing to not have the answers; someone who wants to be better, wants to do what it takes. What’s going to stop [my] team from being the best it can be? That’s me. What can I do to support them and help make them better? [EQ] is the multiplier. Twenty-five percent of your success comes from IQ, 75%[comes from] EQ.”
Turning the lens inward, Mack asked the panel the types of EQ-related leadership skills that they are trying to develop within themselves.
“We have a saying within the team: ‘Feedback is a gift — both good and bad,’” said i-Health’s Rini. “Real-time feedback is critically important. So not only praise what we do well, but more importantly, what is it that we need to work on. … That goes all the way up the organization; in our organization, rank doesn’t have a privilege.”
At Fleet, not only do titles and roles not carry any special privilege, the company has done away with conventional business titles altogether. “We don’t use roles in our organization, and that’s really important because now I’ve got five coaches on my leadership team instead of five direct reports,” Hutsko explained.
In fact for Fleet, EQ has become synonymous with company culture. “If you have high EQ and you’re not worried about a title, and you’re very focused with a purpose — everyone’s rowing in the same direction — EQ is just an abbreviation for good culture,” Hutsko said.
Archambault believes he was fortunate enough to have mentors who put him in a number of different roles early on in his career to help him “understand the things you don’t know,” have the freedom to fail and to learn from it.
“The other piece [is], you’ve got to be really comfortable putting people on your team who are very different from you,” he added. Borrowing a lesson from famed hockey coach Herb Brooks, who led the 1980 U.S. “Miracle” Olympic team to gold, “I’m not looking for the best ones, I’m looking for the right ones,” Archambault said.
According to Garvey, at Pfizer there are really three critical factors that help foster happiness and create work-life balance for people at the company.
“The first is my job — what I’m doing,” Garvey said. “Does it provide meaning for me or drive something creative in my soul? Meaning and creativity are main drivers for us. The second — and this plays even more so with millennials — it’s relationships, interconnectivity with people. We all have individual jobs, but we can’t do them alone. And the final thing is — and I’m passionate about this — that work is going to change; life is going to change, we’re all going to have different challenges that affect us. But it all comes back to an EQ skill — being able to choose your attitude.”
Harnessing the strength of a knowledge organization
Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart EVP consumables and health and wellness
The people within a large company can be one of a leader’s biggest assets when it comes to solving problems and growing the business — if only you listen to your associates and stick to a core set of principles that guide all your interactions. This was the thrust of Walmart EVP consumables and health and wellness Michelle Gloeckler’s talk, “Harnessing a Knowledge Organization,” in May at the Future Leaders Summit, co-hosted by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum.
(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)
It’s among the important lessons handed down from Walmart founder Sam Walton — this idea that large companies are only as strong as the people, knowledge and expertise that exists within them. “The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved,” Walton once said.
But Gloeckler admitted that today, at organizations as large as Walmart with its 2.3 million global employees — including 1.4 million in the United States — listening to associates at the same level of granularity as Walton once did might seem impossible. But rather than be daunted by the idea of trying to talk to millions of associates, you can begin the process by identifying areas of diversity and understanding what people representing smaller groups can bring to the table, she said. By way of example, Gloeckler introduced attendees to a handful of key Walmart associates — including VP Walmart Care Clinics Sandy Ryan, chief medical officer Daniel Stein and support manager Daronn Gommer, who was homeless before starting a career at Walmart — to highlight how people from different backgrounds, areas of education and experience, and the roles they each play, can help bridge the knowledge and expertise that exists across a company the size of Walmart.
“This is the scope of associates that we have, and when you think about the challenge of harnessing a knowledge organization and listening to your people — the number isn’t the thing, it’s the vast experience and the vast life story that each of these individuals brings to work every day,” Gloeckler said.
Engagement and listening begin, Gloeckler explained, with four key factors that should inform all interactions — humility, self-motivation, confidence and the ability to filter risk. Gloeckler noted that humility was a necessary component of working with her team to find a solution to a problem in Walmart’s pharmacy business — an area in which she admittedly lacks knowledge, as she’s never been a pharmacist.
“The humble thing that the team and I had to do was to come together regardless of titles, put the common goal on the table and then work as a team,” Gloeckler said. “Being humble is about recognizing that you don’t have to have all the answers, and to be so bold as to be able to say to a group of your own associates, or your peers — or your leader — ‘I don’t know.’”
On the subject of self-motivation, Gloeckler shared a rather personal example, recalling her own modest, working-class Michigan roots, which fed her drive to work hard and succeed at an early age, graduating a semester early from college.
Another powerful example of self-motivation for Gloeckler is Gommer, the St. Louis-based Walmart support manager, who was homeless with two daughters before he joined the company. Gommer, in a profile from a local newspaper that Gloeckler read aloud, told the paper he used his situation and the difficulty of working while staying with different friends and trying to raise his kids as a motivator.
“I think about the different ways people are motivated, and that has to come from within; it has to be something that you believe in,” Gloeckler said. “In order to get the most out of any organization, you have to know your own self-motivation.”
Ironically, when she thinks about confidence, Gloeckler reflects on Michael Jordan’s career — not his six-time NBA championship career, but his otherwise lackluster baseball career, spent largely in the minor leagues. Confidence, she explained, goes hand-in-hand with humility; it is “the willingness to say you don’t know, to take a role you may not have experience in, and be humble enough to leverage the organization around you to find success.”
Finally, Gloeckler stressed the critical importance of a strong risk-filter to the leaders of today and tomorrow — the ability to know when people might be going too far and when you need to guide them back — and left attendees with a call to action.
“Think about a risky decision that’s on your plate right now. Who in your organization that you have not already reached out to might have had a similar experience or might have information that you need?” she said. “I [think about the] 1.4 million [U.S.] associates we have at Walmart — what a blessing that we have access to that many associates; what a shame if we aren’t able to connect with them and hear them.”
What is your why?
The best part of my job is that I get a lot of chances to learn cool, new stuff.
At the end of May, Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum co-hosted the first Future Leaders Summit in Chicago. Unfortunately, my list of key takeaways from the event runs much longer than my word count will take me. Luckily, our in-depth special report appears in this issue.
So for now, I’ll just stick to one dominant theme from that day: Purpose matters.
It was said a lot of different ways by different people throughout the day, but perhaps most simply: What is your why? CVS VP health care George Coleman described it as “connecting to the emotional core” of why you do what you do.
SoapBox CEO and founder Dave Simnick talked about the difference between cause and purpose. “Cause is an afterthought; purpose is intentional,” he said.
Purpose is in the DNA of the (fill in the blank): Company. Brand. Person.
Purpose matters more and more, because people demand it of the brands they buy. According to Edelman’s 2016 Earned Brand Study, which talked to more than 13,000 consumers in 13 different countries, 62% will not buy a brand that fails to meet its societal obligations; 60% believe it should be a part of the brand’s DNA; and 53% believe brands could be doing more.
It shouldn’t be surprising that people — particularly, the next generation of business leaders — are demanding it from the companies they work for, too. The best people will gravitate toward the companies that have defined purpose.
So, what’s your why?
Figure it out. Fast.