Head of the Table
By Kevin Malchoff, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development
Companies must have great leaders in order to realize long-term success. Many companies get off to a great start with an innovative product or service that brings special value to a group of customers, but they only stay vibrant if they have leaders in place that continually focus on their customers and drive results.
At Rich’s, we have a deep appreciation of the need to have great leaders in place around the globe and in all parts of our business. We rely on these leaders to drive both associate performance and associate engagement.
There is an age-old question, “Are great leaders born, or can they be developed?” But there is not a corresponding, “either/or” answer. Actually, leaders can be both born and developed. What we have done at Rich’s is identify the behaviors we believe are essential for a leader to exhibit. The beauty of identifying these leadership behaviors is they are behaviors that can be observed by others, and taught to all.
It is easy to argue that many great leaders are visionaries. But it is very difficult to assess who has or will have great visions. Behavior, on the other hand, can be monitored, evaluated and developed. For example, we believe that associates will perform better if they are informed about how they are doing through timely, ongoing feedback that is fair and accurate. After observing how one leader “tells an associate how she or he is doing,” that leader’s own leader can share with the leader what went well and what they might want to try differently next time, to be even more effective.
Our goal is to have all associates really engaged in the business. To accomplish this, we have identified five behaviors we want our leaders to “live” each and every day, because we know these behaviors will help associates feel more engaged. One of the leader behaviors designed to drive this associate engagement is called “communicate the big picture” and there is a simple reason for it.
It’s easy for salespeople to see how their work is important to Rich’s success, because the results (good or bad) are right in their faces – there is instant feedback. But what about other parts of the organization? How do associates who are “farther from the customer” understand how their work is important? We rely on leaders to help connect the dots and communicate that big picture, so everyone can get up each day knowing the role each individual plays in driving Rich’s success.
We are fortunate at Rich’s that there is a priority on having great leaders in place throughout the organization. These leaders are driving our performance and they are driving our engagement, and we are seeing the benefits of their leadership through the great business results we are achieving.