Hardware Retailing

MAR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/945288

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Page 14 of 114

Independent Thinking O ne of the primary roles of any trade association is to associate, to bring its constituents together to discuss business issues and learn from each other. At the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), we help independent home improvement retailers associate in a number of ways, primarily through the programs and initiatives of the NRHA Retail Leadership Institute. The Retail Leadership Institute is an initiative by independent retailers to develop programs focused on providing educational and networking opportunities that strengthen owners, managers and key employees and fill a need in our industry. It currently includes a variety of educational and working programs, including: • NRHA Retailer Roundtable series (launched in 2012) • NRHA Retail Management Certification Program (launched in 2013) • NRHA Foundations of Leadership Program (launched in 2017) Roundtables give retailers an opportunity to meet and discuss relevant issues and share best practices on topics of their choice. Today, we host a dozen roundtables annually, bringing together more than 100 retailers to learn from each other. The Retail Management Certification Program provides an intensive, college-level retail management and leadership program that facilitates the development of high-potential individuals looking to advance their careers as independent retailers. Students have included many children of owners starting the succession planning process. Our 10th class starts in April, and nearly 150 retailers having graduated from the program to date. Our most recent addition to the lineup is the Foundations of Leadership Program. This program provides a foundational course in leadership development so people who are new to management can develop basic leadership skills. We have discovered in the 100-plus students who have completed or are currently enrolled in this program is that many seasoned managers have also enrolled. These are folks who never had the opportunity to go through a formal leadership development program until now. This brings up an important point. In one of my favorite leadership books, "Learning Leadership" by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, the authors' research suggests there is a leadership gap that exists in all industries. They discovered that the average age of leadership development program participants is 42 years old. However, those same participants started leading people at 33. That's a difference of nine years, which suggests we are putting people into management positions before they learn the basics of leadership. Are we are setting our people up to fail? Not intentionally. The takeaway here is that we probably aren't doing everything we can to ensure our next-generation leaders have the tools they need to guide their operations into the future. The book also states that more than 50 percent of young people want to be leaders in their organizations, but their greatest fear is a lack of professional growth opportunity. And their willingness to stick around may be contingent on how well we respond to this need. They not only need leadership and retail management training, they want it. Developing future leaders is one of the most critical issues the industry is facing. We all know today's challenges—increased competition, finding (and keeping) good employees and the lack of formal succession planning. As quality employees become harder to find, developing the ones you already have becomes paramount to your success. If you have someone in your organization who needs industry-focused development and growth opportunities, consider what your association has to offer through its Retail Leadership Institute. Learn more at nrha.org/rli. Scott Wright, Executive Director, Retail Leadership Institute swright@nrha.org " As quality employees become harder to find, developing the ones you already have becomes paramount to your success. " Learning and Growing Together HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2018 8

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