It’s easy for us to identify the leaders in the outdoors, run, fly fish and bike industries. Those are the folks who are striving and pushing the boundaries of the human body and its relation to nature. They take the most unrealistic of dreams—from scaling cliffs without ropes to paddling their way around continents—and make them a reality. The intangible or unimaginable simply is for these leaders, without hesitation.
Now take those big ideas and translate them into the specialty retail industry. As leaders in the industry, we have to be the experts in creating dreams and shifting them into the realm of reality.
Before those paddlers could span continents or scale cliffs, they came to us. We had to—and will always have to—tap into that same level of creativity and energy that’s required to summit a mountain to connect with our customer’s dreams and wonder. Just as we had to create those products, we also have to invent and constantly reinvent this industry.
Just as the pioneers of all our industries have bushwhacked their way through unknown territory, specialty retail has the capacity to become the master and the leader of the next generation.
These days our entire community leans on our excuses. We blame the internet, the millennials, MAP and dozens of other faultless sources. But the reality is that our success is wholly in our hands. When climbing Everest the mountaineers could blame the wind, or they could push against it and arise victorious. It’s time to change, learn and grow.
The Mann Group has set out on our own adventure and exploration, and over the next six months we will be uncovering specialty retail innovators, inventors and leaders who have and will carry the industries to the next level.
We will dive into the characteristics these leaders exemplify in order to understand and apply those attributes to all our industries and teams. We will also be exploring the true desires of our customers so that we can best mold our industries to their needs.
I was on a plane ride home recently when I engaged in a conversation with my seatmate, chatting about my career and shopping in general. She is a professional consultant for IBM, and her insight was timely. She said most women gather to eat and shop together. Retailers have to provide something interesting for me—for us—to come into their store. What is interesting? What is compelling? What is the specialty story? We will be uncovering these answers and so many more.
What we know for sure is that when you have the proper tools to be an effective leader, it is as empowering as when you reach the unreachable, climb your first summit or ride your first bike. We’re so familiar with those feelings of dreaming and achieving—now it’s time to apply them to our industry.