In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what real leadership looks like

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“This holiday season, you’ve probably seen or read about all the retailers opening their doors as early as 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. We have decided not to follow that trend. Instead, we believe family comes first and you should be at home celebrating with them on this special holiday. This means none of our stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, none of our stores will be open before 7 am on Black Friday. ” – Michael R. MacDonald, CEO, DSW Shoes.”

I came across this on Facebook the other day. It rang so true to me since my wife and a lot of her friends work in retail from the management end.

A visible expression of company culture

One of the great features of the Internet, for me, is to read through the comments of others and get a sense of other people’s concerns.

The comments read:
  • “I like this company even more! I’ll buy all my shoes and sneakers there from now on.”
  • “I’ll be shopping at DSW.”
  • “I wish other stores would follow their lead! Of course if we, as consumers, refused to shop on Thanksgiving the stores would quit opening on family holidays.”
I applaud and admire this statement from DSW’s CEO. He makes it plain what the culture is about within his company. There’s no need to read some plaque or a statement from their website about the values they aspire to.

He says “family is important to our company” and this is how we are going to treat it.

It takes courage

Lots of times when the flow is going one way, it takes a real leader to stand up and say, “No, we are going to be different; we are not going to go there.” If you Google “leadership,” this is what you should find for a real leader:

Follow your own compass and not the herd. Not afraid to make a commitment and to back up the company’s vision and mission by refusing to follow the stampede.

The pursuit of profits as a “be-all and end-all” is an in fated strategy, especially in this age and cultured environment. These companies that have been inching the “Black Friday” process up more and more are in the final pursuit of their fiscal goals. So the best way for them to compete, they think, is to open earlier than the next company.

I said years ago as this store opening trend moved forward is that it would be only a matter of time before they started opening on Thanksgiving Day. This year, Macy’s announced that, yes, we are going to open on Thanksgiving but not until 6pm. I supposed they thought this was great since they figured that everyone would have eaten by then and was ready to get out and shop.

Hurry to eat, hurry to work

However, I’m sure that their workers were not overjoyed at the thought that they would have to eat early and then get mentally ready for the “Black Friday” madness on a national holiday.

I would suggest that all senior leaders to keep a plaque in their office or on their desk that can be seen as you look up. Read what your organization says about your people. You know, the part of the mission statement that says “people are our greatest asset.” Let that be your North Star as you sit in meeting or board rooms. Base your decisions on what comes out of the people filter..(continued).

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  • Chris McKerracher on 2014-12-03 5:57:53 PM

    Leadership is doing the right thing despite it possibly conflicting with short-term goals. Anticipate being in business for the long haul where usually, only the classiest survive.

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