Hardware Retailing

MAY 2018

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

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2018 178 In fact, Schaefer utilized a leadership coach to work with her entire leadership team. For three years, the coach came in once a quarter and led the team through a variety of exercises to help them develop and refine their leadership skills. Schaefer looks for opportunities to expand her own knowledge anywhere she can. A few years ago, she was accepted to a program called Leadership Greater Washington. It's part of a network of leadership groups across the country. Along with networking and learning from a cohort of leaders outside of her industry, Schaefer learned more about a wide range of topics that were pertinent to her local business community. And what else does she do? "I admit I'm a bit of a leadership nerd," she says. "I read books, listen to podcasts, whatever it is that can help me be better." Identify Leaders to Admire In addition to personal development, there's a lot to learn by studying the careers of others who have been successful in business. When Schaefer gives a presentation to another group of retailers, she will often share stories about leaders who have influenced her in some way. While there are many Schaefer says have been an inspiration to her, a few rise to the top, and they are all from outside the home improvement industry. Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig are business partners who formed Zingerman's Delicatessen, a family of businesses in Michigan. Schaefer met them at a leadership conference several years ago and quickly resonated with their commitment to their community. While the two had aspirations to become a large company, they wanted to stay local and grow by promoting leaders from within their company. "They are a very large and successful company, and they've created a lot of good leaders," she says. "They've helped me home in on my mission to be fiercely urban as I think about growth." Another leader who's stimulated her creativity is Judy Wicks. Wicks is a former restaurateur from Philadelphia and author of the book Creating a team environment means offering ways for employees to share their own ideas. When that happens, employees can feel they are making meaningful contributions to the company. In addition to personal development, there's a lot to learn by studying the careers of others who have been successful in business.

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