Blog #141 I talked about people that made a difference plus fun stuff as well. In this blog I want to talk about how Bob and Blake knew how to motivate.
Two Peoples names would send shivers down most people’s spines. All you had to say was either Bob Nunn or Blake Nordstrom were coming in for a visit and the blood pressure would raise immediately. I must admit I was nervous too because no matter how good you were prepared they were smarter…
The questions they would ask sometimes were always thought provoking or sometimes really simple. “Where’s your black polish” Blake was famous for asking people. I asked him why as I said in an earlier blog and the answer was perfect. If they miss something as simple as black polish you know you need to dig deeper.
Bob came in one day to tour the stores and partake in the recognition meeting with Blake. He was semi-retired at this point but was a big figure still in the Nordstrom Universe. I had met with him countless times before and always learned something from him which I liked. He would say something this time that stuck with me and I’ve even passed it on to others.
He came in early as he usually did and we walked the front line. At each table he’d ask me about the brands and how they were doing. We talked about my strategy of Nickels and Sudini and how we grew Munro. We went into the backroom and I reminded him of the visit in Arden Fair and the comment he made about “You can learn a lot about a department by just listening in the stockroom”. I told him I wanted to avoid that this time. We both laughed.
We get back to the floor and he complimented me about the department and our business. I told him it was tough at first and didn’t know if I’d survive it for a while. He looked at me with a very intense look. Then he said “Remember you were put here for a reason…don’t ever let anyone make you forget that…” Mic drop. It was an amazing thing to say. It also lifted me so high, I’ll never forgot those words. I’ve said that to others when they struggle too. It’s a good reminder to do a self-check.
I was a little closer to Blake and was looking forward to his visit. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t comfortable just looking forward to it. Blake was intense too and always asked a question you weren’t expecting. He always had great one liners too that made you think. “Extend yourself” or “People make the difference”. We talked about Bob’s visit and what Bob said to me.
It was a shorter visit than normal but great content. He walked the tables like Bob did and was very complimentary every table. He flashed that signature smile and said “you are killing it, keep up the great work. “
The next day was the recognition meeting. Blake gets up there and talks about how people make the difference again. He went on to say that we need to make sure we are treating our people well.
“I stopped by at the Palo Alto store and if you don’t know Mike Normart like I do, he’s a great merchant. “ What? Did he just say my name in a recognition meeting? He went on to say “Yeah Mike had his glasses all crooked and was telling me it was hard to turn the store around but they were on the right track”. “Let’s make sure we treat hard workers like Mike well, they make the difference”
I don’t think he was taking a shot at anyone but just making a point and I was probably the last person he saw before the meeting. Regardless it was pretty cool.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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