Retail Leadership: Part II

3 Tips to Help Ensure You are Day 1 Ready to Serve as a Retail Leader – Part 2

“Congratulations on your one-year anniversary! We are super proud to have you as a leader on
our team” are the words I remember hearing from my manager after completing my first
year at one of the largest global retailers in the world. It was a tough year. The economy was in shambles. The unemployment rate was at an all-time high. Despite the circumstances, my team emerged as one of the most successful retail teams across the country.

25 years later as an award-winning retail leader, I strongly believe that I grew the most as a
retail leader during my neophyte year. I made a conscious decision to show up Day 1 Ready
every single day of the week as I tried to model the leaders that I admired and respected. As I spent some time reflecting on my career and thinking about the wisdom that I could share,
there are a few leadership lessons that defined my tenure as a retail leader.

I embraced the Day 1 Ready mantra. Day 1 Ready is about the preparation you undertake
to start a new venture, job, mission, or task.

It is about the work that you do in advance to ensure optimal success for your team or
company. On the contrary, Day 1 Ready, is also about mindset. Day 1 Ready leaders bring a
contagious amount of energy, enthusiasm, passion, and curiosity every single day. Day 1
Ready leaders are optimistic, problem solvers, and strong communicators. There is a level of
consistency in their performance as they strive to produce top results and motivate others.
As we delve deeper into the Day 1 Ready framework, there are three tips to keep in mind
to help you reach your highest potential as a retail leader.

1. Be Courageous

Leadership requires courage. John Maxwell stated it best: “Successful leaders have the courage to take action while others hesitate.” Courageous leaders are brave, daring, and gutsy. They are decision-makers, skilled at using data to make an informed decision, but also understanding they might be faced with a tough decision where the answers are not clear. They are considerate and courageous, displaying an ethos of care when they are faced with decisions that could potentially impact their team. They are willing to take risks, experiment with bold ideas, and embrace new solutions that could place them ahead of the competition. When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone to try something new? When was the last time you experimented with a new idea? When was the last time you were faced with a tough decision and considered how you could leverage your influence and position to advocate for others?

2. Be Creative

I can remember hearing one of my favorite leaders tell me “Courage breeds creativity.” As a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader, your ability to be creative is going to help you beat the competition every single time. Being creative is thinking about how to create efficiencies, reduce waste, and optimize performance. Creative leaders are willing to speak up, going against the age-old saying “this is how we’ve always done it.” Creative leaders are courageous leaders.

3. Be Confident

When you are courageously ready to launch your new creative idea, it requires commitment. The Day 1 Ready mindset is about the willingness to do what it takes to get the idea over the finish line. You must stay committed when the idea does not go initially as planned. You are willing to try again, perhaps making tweaks to the initial idea, often seeking input and feedback from others. What if a team member has a new idea? Can you provide them with space and confidence to help them commit to their new idea? How do you provide feedback in a way that is affirming and encouraging? How do you reassure the team member that you will support them even if their idea fails? You are committed to their success as a leader and they need the confidence to experiment, even if their idea fails. What can they learn from the experience? What can they learn from you as a leader?

As you embark upon your journey as a retail leader, I invite you to keep in mind the success profile of a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader. The Day 1 Ready mindset is fostered through courage, creativity, and commitment. The nuggets I have shared are leadership lessons tested over a 25-year career as a retail leader. I am excited to continue the journey of your development as a retail leader. Please follow my blog for additional leadership lessons for retail leaders.

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