LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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"During conferences and similar occasions, who is gathered together at the events?" said one industry leader. "It's many of the same people over and over again. We don't often make the effort to include women or newer professionals." This points to one of the most powerful reasons for the lack of progress in this area. We all have blind spots when it comes to certain perceptions, and it's difficult to solve problems that we don't see or understand clearly. We're comfortable with the status quo and don't feel the urgency to change. This can most certainly include gender diversity. For example, many men may believe women are well represented in leadership, when in fact there are far fewer than they think. Further, many men don't fully grasp the barriers that hold women back at work and aren't fully aware of the need for change and as a result are less committed to the issues that women face or the hurdles that can stand in the way. By the same respect, women may make certain assumptions as well, perhaps misinterpreting a lack of understanding with a lack of empathy. Of course, there are those who simply resist change and don't feel they should change or that they have to. There are those who prefer to hold firmly to past norms and those who choose to find fault in the behaviors of others rather than considering flaws in their own way of thinking. There are also those who use excuses as tools of destruction rather than using reflection as an agent of change. But for most of us, awareness is the first step. Whether reflecting on our own habits or learning to recognize it in others, we need to resist the trappings of finger-pointing and focus on modifying behaviors—including our own. Both men and women need to swallow the pill and get better. Here are some additional comments from industry leadership: "I don't think our teams hear enough from the leaders in our industry. We have to make people feel more than included. We must give them a sense of belonging." "I do think a good ole boy network still exists. As one of the few women in leadership, when asked to participate in an industry function, lead a session, or comment for an article, I'm usually relegated to a subject matter considered traditionally more female." "I wouldn't refer to it as a 'good ole boy' network; however, I think that there exists a tight network that has a certain standard that they follow, and breaking into that network can be difficult regardless of gender. It's important leaders make decisions with their eyes and their minds open. It's changing, but we still need to keep moving in the right direction." Leaders Stepping Up Promotions and other advancement opportunities should always be based on merit, productivity, commitment, potential, flexibility, ingenuity, and other performance-based factors. Overcoming disparities requires that we develop strategies that focus on engaging all talented individuals in growth opportunities regardless of gender or other nonperformance issues. When asked what steps retailers can take to develop female talent for LP leadership roles, industry leaders offered many suggestions: ■ Create a forum for minority and female leaders to share their concerns, successes, and needs with a direct pipeline to senior leadership. ■ Set specific goals and identify measurements of success. Accountability has to start from the top and reach every level. ■ Take personal accountability to identify talent and assign mentors. ■ Look for developmental opportunities that put everyone in the mix for promotions. ■ Educate your talent on both linear and nonlinear career paths. Stretch assignments both within and outside the department. ■ Support them in industry developmental programs like the Loss Prevention Foundation and Wicklander-Zulawski. ■ Support diversity training for leaders at every level. ■ Take real steps to ensure that hiring, promotional, and developmental decisions are based on merit, potential, and commitment, and hold leaders accountable. ■ Use depth charts, forecasting plans, and other initiatives that serve to support our talent. ■ Conduct more career conversations with top talent to ensure they know there is potential for them for next steps. ■ Support opportunities for additional exposure by putting talent out front as speakers, presenters, and subject-matter experts at conferences and events. ■ Denounce double standards for behavior, including and especially in social situations. "We sponsored this survey as it provides a unique and objective window into the ideas and opinions of the women of LP regarding key areas related to their roles. We have women in every aspect of our organization, from engineers to product managers, from sales to marketing leaders. We're also seeing many LP decision makers and pyramid heads in retailers' organizations, so we wished to recognize and support the outstanding women in the industry." – Catherine Walsh, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Tyco Retail Solutions WOMEN OF LOSS PREVENTION 52 JULY–AUGUST 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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