Flip-flip, flip-flip, flip-flip, flip-flip…the sound of the revolving doors at Kaufmann’s Department Store more than 30 years ago in downtown Pittsburgh. If you grew up in the suburbs, you knew that the best place to meet your friends for a day of shopping was under the clock at Kaufmann’s.
The memories of shopping in retail stores is marked with exceptional service, quality of product and a superb experience. Shopping in the city was an event. Display cases always full, sales associates pressed and polished and shopping bags overflowing. Flip-flip, flip-flip.
Fast-forward, it is 2010. Flip-flip, flip-flip, flip-flip, flip-flip, the revolving door continues however, this time, it is the revolving door of corporate retail and the short term leaders.
Where have all the leaders gone?
Today’s most effective leader is far and few between. We live in a throw-away world. While there is merit in making change to grow in a career, today’s leader seems to be changing every 2 years at the executive level in many retail companies. Is it greed? Incompetence? Or is it that these are good leaders working for CEO’s who are inept?
Speaking from my own experience, I had 5 leaders in 6 years in one organization. All left the company. Flip-flip, flip-flip. The human capital left behind paid the price as did the stockholders. This in only one of thousands of situations where corporations are allowing executives to pass through the doors, pocket their money and move on. Flip-flip, flip-flip.
It used to be in the 80’s and 90’s, employees and up and coming retail leaders could without a doubt name the TOP 5 HOT retailers to covet. Employees were inspired by brands that meant something. Employees knew the names of executive leaders in competitor companies on a first name basis and respected them. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Flip-flip, flip-flip.
Many junior retailers are grasping at straws, paying gobs of money to pull in alleged executive talent only to turn them in under two years. It is no surprise that the most stabilized brands are those which have been around for decades; the classics. What do these companies have in common? Quality, brand recognition, realistic price points and consumer friendly engagement. They also have leaders with ethics, integrity, courage and lateral leadership ability.
The goodness coming out of the revolving door leadership trend is that quality leadership is rising to the top and aligning with quality brands. The classics are finally making a come back! If you are a flipper, perhaps you need to step aside. If you are a classic leader, congratulations… it is your time to shine!