In our industry, we have seen some interesting shifting and movement within companies and company structure.

When we think about company structure, Company Culture does play a major part in developing strategies. Every department and every role of the company’s employees, its consumers, right on down to the retail partnership – rely on the communication of company culture.

I had the pleasure of taking on a telephone conversation with Mr. Lloyd Lippman. He is the President of Career Management a search firm specializing in Retailing and E-commerce as well as President of the Retail Marketing Society. With a full plate, he is also an adjunct professor at Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Lippman and I discussed a topic that he addressed in the RMS’s last meeting in New York City.

The group’s discussion question asked: “Is Talent Out of Fashion?” The panel discussion consisted of Meagan Glickman ( Dir. of HR at Chanel), Gail Monroe-Perry (Sr. Dir. of Talent at Warnaco), Nancy Straface (Sr. VP HR at Loehmann’s) and Erin Armendinger (University of Penn, Wharton School, Jay Baker School of Retailing).

I thought about that question, two-fold:

1 – “talent” meaning the artistic craft

2 – “talent” as in hired employees

 

I will explore the first.

In my experience, I have seen many designers and developers come on board to a company that expresses the urgent need for organic creativity and growth and original thinking upon hire. However, it would seem that these same companies may, at some point, redirect their original concept of hiring a “designer” by giving subtle hints that the design department “be inspired” by concepts that are already out in the market.

I refer to knock-offs or re-design and what I like to call “copy/paste” collections. I do not go into the wholesale aspect of buying pre-bought designs and supplying the labels on the sock bed (those have a win-win strategy that are more complicated than this idea). Perhaps, I thought that there is a growing trend of talent, being talent-less. Not because they are not talented – but that they are put in positions that downgrade or dumb-down their talented contributions to meagerly re-coloring and adding a strap or two to an existing design. Because I am a designer first, that is what I immediately thought.

However, the meeting was about concept #2 – change in the industry and noticing that the talent has changed as well. That the level of talent for a particular role has gone from the requirement of a two-year degree and 2-3 years of experience to the desired MBA today for the same position.

 

So where is the talent?

 

I talked to Lloyd Lippman in regards to the footwear industry in the retail segment. He told me that the reason for the discussion was that, “retail has changed so much in the past few years, based on the economy, consolidations, acquisitions, mergers, companies going out of business and streamlined with the advent of e-commerce and the accessibility to the Internet. We wanted to address how talented people are being cultivated to becoming leaders in the industry.”

It would seem as though these advents prompt things like restructuring (or for some, liquidating) marketing departments, creative and sales teams, all the while changing the company structure based on the idea that e-commerce will or has affected the business to the degree that it effects the bottom line.

The movement of this online shopping vehicle can cause companies to re-evaluate even its price structure or cut back on opening retail stores and focus on an online income and growth. We have seen the results of that taken so far as to reduce the value of the product to meet crazy discounted wholesale prices, where price has compromised the original company concept and integrity. All goals of the company is to fuel the financial stability – however to devalue the product will ultimately effect the stability sooner or later. The result is the drastic downsizing and debt accrued to manufacturing a less than great product.

 

Lippman went on to say that he “does not see growth in total retail stores but sales will grow because retailers are investing in more E-commerce growth of their brands”

 

I asked him his views on change in company culture – when it shifts management. “…The values and beliefs that leaders and managers communicate to the associates and customers” is the center of company culture. It is what we stand by as we present our product to our associates and to the millions of consumers. Management is there to cultivate the departments that are out there representing the brand and the company. Companies that are trying to hang on to consistency and their lifeblood need “educated, thoughtful and empathetic management.”

This management method will continuously sell the product as the result of the culture of the company, while providing a great product at a relative cost to the consumer (not cheap rock-bottom price). There is a grave difference between that type of management and the Theory X managers who are hired to crack whips and change the organic process of the success of the business. “People want to know that there is growth, security and responsibility with authority, with consistent recognition and feedback. And that is the way to keep good people,” he says in response to how we can achieve good talent on our teams and why talent cultivation is important.

Management is training the future success of the business, so cultivating talent is a top priority for any management position. So now I understand the trend in the higher education requirements – there is just no time to cultivate talent. For some, there is only time to fix and redo the financial structure. And that would require a coveted honor like an MBA degree.

 

We already know what can happen in the negative and so, Lloyd Lippman was gracious to bring out some positives. J. C. Penney (JCP), for instance, has been in a shift for quite some time and with its new CEO, Lippman feels that the changes will surprise you. He began to tell me that this “right sizing” of the organization is what positive shifts in management would produce. I have to agree that the direction so far seems promising for the company. That although you want to play the game and follow the crowd to gaining fast sales with super sale items and shoes for $9.99 – sticking to the plan aka Company Culture, will produce the best results in the end.

 

He also gave me his opinion on the future of the footwear segment of the retail industry.

 

Brands are still very important to retailers. The only way to grow margins is to grow private label business.” Now we are looking at a considerable number of retailers increasing their private label offerings and gaining more manufacturing business like J Crew, Charming Charlie’s, Nordstrom’s and the likes. “Increase private label means there will be more design and product management positions.”

Now to wonder why these concepts are out of fashion is very interesting. Although it does not spell drought on the job front – it spells mystery on the front of company culture and employee cultivation. Perhaps it is every man for himself in some organizations but there is glimmer of respect for those companies who stand their ground and have kept talent very much in fashion.

 

Now, Some Background Information:

Mr. Llyod Lippman

Career Management has been around since 1978 providing the retail, catalog and e-commerce industry with some of the best talent in the business.

Retail Marketing Society. According to the website the organization was founded in 1965 (then as Retail Research Society) and is “an independent professional organization for the purpose of discussing current research studies, research techniques and emerging trends in the industry.”

Lloyd Lippman has been elected president for the last 15 years because he “believed in what Retail Marketing Society stands for… And that it is the best place to be in touch with retail, e-commerce and industry trends as well as great networking.” The organization focuses on the education of businesses in the retail and businesses related to the retail markets, including footwear.

The RMS website lists some heavy hitters on the board: Thomas Burns (The Doneger Group), Lawrence DeParis (C-Level Solutions), Margaret Cannella (Columbia Business School/Finance Adjunct), Mark Friedman (The Retail Tracker), Gloria Gelfand (Gelfand Marketing Solutions, LLC), Alan P. Kelman (Alan Kelman & Assoc.), Leland Kroll (Kroll Direct Marketing, Inc.), Robin Lewis (Robin Lewis, Inc.), Nancy Marino (Nancy Marino Associates, LLC), Daniel Schwarzwalder (Buckingham Capital), Joan Volpe (Center for Professional Studies – FIT) and Pamela Stubing (consultant).

 

Lloyd Lippman and his organization, the Retail Marketing Society, is having another event in May. This time is it is a half-day (morning) conference, “Trends in Digital Media: E-tail & Retailon May 9th at the Katie Murphy Amphitheater, FIT. The impressive line-up of speakers includes Perry Cooper, CMO, Rue La La and Mark Friedman, President, e-Commerce, Steve Madden

 

 

 

 




 

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Elaine Lefkowith

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David Gelfman

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Lenny Kalb

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Sharon Pommer

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Mike Bush

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Terry Pritikin

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Robert Smolowitz

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 Anthony Cheng

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The Qualities of Skillful Leadership

 

"If you wish others to believe in you, you must first convince them that you believe in them."  

- Harvey Mackay

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and CMI Logoopportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life.

What's important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here are some specifics:

1. Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It's not even a good substitute.

2. Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn't weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

3. Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you've got to walk in front of your group. You've got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, and discover the first sign of trouble.

4. You've got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can't get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we're part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

5. Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It's when you don't know that you don't know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that's just too much to take.

6. Develop humor without folly. That's important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it's okay to be witty, but not silly. It's okay to be fun, but not foolish.

Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I'd like to think it's unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It's fascinating. And I've found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.

- Reprint permission granted by Dr. James M. Wendling of The Wendling Group Authored by Jim Rohn

 

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

 Motivated to Action

Have you ever had a time in your life when you just couldn't get motivated? You knew what you wanted to do, you had the desire, but you just couldn't get motivated to take the first step. When your get-up-and-go has gone and you find it difficult to get motivated to take action, consider this -you may be going about it all wrong.CMI Logo

Experts in the field of human motivation tell us that instead of waiting until we are motivated to take action, we need to reverse the process andtake action to get motivated 

Nothing makes us feel enthusiastic like acting enthusiastic. Nothing inspires creativity like getting started on a new project. Nothing gives us the energy to move ahead like taking that first step, and then another. Your emotions take their clues from your actions, not the other way around.

Many lack motivation because of fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of too much success, fear of what others might think, fear, fear, fear. It can leave us paralyzed and ineffective. What is the cure for fear? ACTION!

  • If you are afraid of rejection, contact more people.
  • If you fear ridicule, make your presentation audacious and dynamic.
  • If you worry about failure, take action that will move you toward success.

The truth is, most of the things we worry about never come to pass. So why worry? Instead, take decisive action to cure your worry and overcome fear!

So, next time you just don't feel like it, do it anyway. Few things are as bad as we imagine they will be if we will simply jump in with both feet pretending that we can't wait to get started. Pretty soon you will feel like it. Shakespeare said it like this, "assume a virtue if you have it not."  In other words, if you want to be happy, try acting happy. If you need energy, act as if you have barrels full! If you want to feel motivated, take motivated action. Ham it up! Make it fun. Without a doubt, your feelings will follow your actions and pretty soon your actions will help you feel truly motivated. Try it!

- Reprint permission granted Copyright 2007 MindPerk, Inc.

 

 

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.  

- Thomas Alva Edison

  

Why Have a Coach

What if you could identify your inner motivation to achieve more of your goals more often? How would your life be different if you developed a keener sense of purpose? 

A professional coaching relationship creates value through a powerful, highly tuned process ofCMI Logocommunications and problem-solving that is "co-creative" between coach and client. It focuses totally on the client's interests, challenges and goals. Coaches help you improve performance and enhance the quality of your life. Great coaching helps you self-coach more effectively, not simply by helping you solve problems; it transforms the way you solve them. Coaching will not simply improve your life; it will transform the way you live.

Clients and coaches achieve more significant results together than either could achieve alone. While some people hire coaches purely for incremental growth, increased wealth or reformation, great coaching asks transformational questions. Instead of creating or developing the potential of the person being coached, effective coaching reveals and releases untapped value

If you recognize that you may have untapped potential, suspect a "blind-spot" in your professional or personal relationships, or simply want help in moving from "good to great," coaching may be for you.  You may be ready for a coach if you seek a safe space to expand your thinking with someone who will listen and respond rather than advise or try to "fix" you.

- Reprint permission granted by Mark Sturgell, Performance Development Network

 

But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for.  

- Paulo Coelho



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Career Management Insider

Our growth is driven by our commitment and passion to our clients and candidates!     
 
Vol 1, Issue 1                                                                                                  
In This Issue
Define Success
The Top 10 Business Commandments - from Sam Walton
Recruit Vs. Hire
Quotes of the Month

Click Here for Our Current Job Postings

Account Executives

 

Career Management was founded in 1978 in New York City to specialize in executive search for the retail, direct mail and e-commerce industry.

We support an active client base with significant national presence through the efforts of ten Account Executives and a substantial back up team of Researchers and Assistants with offices in New Jersey and New York.

Lloyd A. Lippman
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Alan Ravit

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David Gelfman

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Elaine Lefkowith

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Lenny Kalb

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Maria Annino

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Robert Smolowitz

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Shari Mooney

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Steve Lent

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Stew Schiffer

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Define Success
 

Make it clear to your employees what constitutes success and how they should measure their achievements. Goals must be realistic. Project schedules, for example, CMI Logomust be set by the people who do the work. People will accept a "bottom-up'' deadline they helped set but they'll be cynical about a schedule imposed from the top that doesn't map to reality. Unachievable goals weaken an organization. At my company, in addition to regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions between managers and employees, we use mass gatherings periodically and e-mail routinely to communicate what we expect from employees. If a reviewer or customer chooses another company's product over ours, we analyze the situation carefully. We say to our people,  "The next time around we've got to win. What will it take? What's needed?''The answers to these questions help us define success.

 

 

- Bill Gates, Microsoft

 
  
The Top 10 Business Commandments - from Sam Walton

This might be the world's shortest top ten, CMI Logobut sometimes simple is better. When I saw these keywords taken from Sam Walton, I felt like sharing them with everyone as they will make a difference if you follow them-he did!

1.        Commit to your business.

2.        Share your profits.

3.        Motivate your partners.

4.        Communicate all that you know.

5.        Listen to everyone in your company.

6.        Appreciate what your associates do.

7.        Exceed your customer's expectations.

8.        Control your expenses better than competitors.

9.        Swim upstream.

10.     Avoid conventional wisdom.

- Submitted by Mike R. Jay, The original source is: Guerilla Marketing on Sam Walton.

  
Recruit Vs. Hire

DefinitionsCMI Logo

Recruit - to seek out a person and persuade them to join you

Hire - to engage the services of a person in exchange for payment

Comparisons

fills long-term need vs. fills immediate need

Example: When Jenny wanted an assistant, she placed an ad in the paper, and hired the one who seemed most qualified. Robert got to know a number of junior people in his field. When he needed an assistant, he placed calls to someone he knew would be excellent. He spoke persuasively about the position, and made a generous offer in order to recruit the candidate to his team.

Key Point: When you hire someone, you select from among a group of applicants. When you recruit, you reach out and increase that pool or initiate contact with highly qualified individuals. Recruiting techniques include wining and dining prospects and maintaining long term relationships with them. Recruiting usually requires investing in relationships with the right people. Hiring is more of a short-term approach.

Benefit: Recruiting is a long term approach to finding high caliber people for your organization.

- Submitted by Isabel Parlett

  
Quotes of the Month

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

- Pat Riley

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

- Peter Drucker

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.

-  Betty Smith

Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.

-  Harold S. Geneen