LP Magazine

NOV-DEC 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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29 LP MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 I saw the resumes for these folks who were my peers, there were undergraduate degrees from the Naval Academy and West Point, graduate degrees from Dartmouth and Kellogg. Yet there I was never having completed my bachelor's degree. I remember that very day I called my wife and told her I wanted to finish my degree, at forty-nine years old no less. When I started researching how to get started, I came across something online that said, "Why get a bachelor's degree when you can get your MBA?" So after researching several universities in Dallas-Forth Worth, I applied for the EMBA program at SMU (Southern Methodist University), and I was accepted into the program. We made a family decision to sell our home in the suburbs and move into the heart of Dallas near both my office and the campus. For twenty-two months, I put my nose down, managed a very demanding job, and was able to balance work, family, and school to complete the program. It was tough on me and my family but certainly one of my proudest accomplishments. MODERATOR: Over the course of your career, would you highlight people who have made a profound effect on your life and helped you get to where you are today? LAMB: Over the years, I've tried to model the behaviors of leaders that I believe exhibit expertise in leadership. I've probably learned as much from the bad ones as I have the good ones. I've been fortunate to work for a lot of good ones. One of those is Frank Blake at Home Depot. Frank had this saying that it's the responsibility of leaders to absorb the complexity of retailing up in the C-suite and push simplicity down to the stores. In 2007 when he took the reins at Home Depot, the company was struggling. He had a maniacal focus on the stores, and a human and personal touch that really translated across that organization. Frank would handwrite a note—even to someone in the lowest level of the organization—recognizing someone who had gone out of their way to do something that impacted the operations or the culture of the business. Yet he was unwavering during times when he had to make unpopular decisions. I think he materially changed the course and direction for that company, making it one of today's truly outstanding organizations. MODERATOR: What do you mean by "absorb the complexity and push simplicity down to the stores?" LAMB: I'm a firm believer that what's simple gets done. We run a complex business in retailing that has a lot of moving parts. Whether it's managing the shrink with your AP teams, managing in-stock or service, or your ability to leverage technology or data, if you make it complicated for the store, it won't get done. Someone I worked with at Home Depot coined a phrase, "Having a simple plan doesn't make you a simple leader." I think the retailers that are getting ahead of the game are the ones that are digesting the complexity and pushing down a program that's easy to understand and implement for everyone on the sales "I'm a firm believer that what's simple gets done. We run a complex business in retailing that has a lot of moving parts. Whether it's managing the shrink with your AP teams, managing in-stock or service, or your ability to leverage technology or data, if you make it complicated for the store, it won't get done." – Mike Lamb, The Kroger Co. GETTING TO KNOW YOU

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