Q: What’s the secret to building a great performance management culture?

A: The following are, in my opinion, the most impactful contributing factors when establishing a great performance management culture: Embracing change is the first step; once people acknowledge that change is happening and it is unavoidable, the best way to embrace it is by understanding its long term benefits and having a positive attitude toward it. By empowering employees to make their own decisions, companies can provide tools for employees to take full ownership and accountability. This fosters the development of a high-performing culture and company growth.

Open and clear communication is key to maintaining that great performance management culture. Efficient communication channels that flow through all organizational levels preserve high-performing company values and ensure these are acted upon daily. Open and transparent communication within a company is also a great way to gather relevant insights from all levels to enhance performance management culture.

Related: It’s okay that nobody likes change. You can still get people to embrace your vision.

Q: You’ve already worked with a Fortune 100 and Fortune 400 retailer in your short career as a consultant. How important is the role of distribution to overall company success?

A: Let’s say you are looking for some gloves for an upcoming skiing trip. You leave first thing tomorrow morning and only have today to purchase them. There are plenty of retailers that sell this specific product, but you will likely go to the one where you know they will, without a doubt, be available. In today’s competitive market, retailers need to get the right products to the right stores at the right time in order to retain their customers. This process of distribution is crucial for a retailers success. It is important for a company to find the most efficient way to transfer its products to stores, keeping in mind certain restrictions such as available storage space and labor. Being able to distribute an order to a store on time without errors is critical to the profitability of a company and a key differentiator between the Fortune companies and other retailers.

Q: What qualities or characteristics make a great front-line leader?

A: A great front-line leader is one that successfully leads his or her team while coaching, motivating and rewarding employees. They are agile learners who positively embrace change in a way that inspires their team to do so as well. In addition, they are effective communicators that can listen, speak and write clearly to be able to reach employees from all levels of an organization. Lastly, they are resilient people that know how to act against all types of problems they might encounter and therefore lead their team to be resilient as well.

Q: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing today’s front-line leaders and how can they tackle them?

A: A front-line leader faces challenges every day. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve seen are keeping a team motivated, delivering demanding results and dealing with insufficient preparation.

A team can easily become unmotivated if they are performing a job in a setting where they feel they are irrelevant. It is up to the front-line leader of the team to provide the necessary tools and coaching to prevent an employee from feeling that way and ultimately affecting the team’s productivity. By maintaining healthy relationships with their team, managers can keep their people engaged and motivated.

Front-line leaders are also often pressured to deliver demanding results and must act quickly to adjust their team in order to achieve them. A good leader knows their team’s strengths and is able to use that knowledge to staff in a way that will most effectively bring results. They understand that expectations can change and are flexible and resourceful enough to adjust to the change.

Being a front-line leader comes with plenty of responsibilities. It is normal for a new leader to feel unprepared in some occasions which can be challenging and stressful. The best way to tackle this is by asking questions. Whether it is to a counterpart or to a senior leader, front-line leaders need to feel comfortable with asking the right questions to help them succeed. This is a challenge that seems simple to tackle but unfortunately goes unresolved too often in organizations.

Q: Earlier this year, you attended ProMat. What caught your eye there? What technology do you think we will see more of in retail distribution in years to come?

A: ProMat was full of innovative technology that not only is useful in retail distribution but also in other industries such as healthcare and automotive. In my opinion, we will be seeing more automated storage and retrieval systems in retail distribution in the years to come. In fact, according to a study conducted by an independent firm, 53% of product interest was toward these particular systems. Storing and retrieving products in a distribution center is a labor-intensive process and often where bottlenecks are created. Streamlining this process and, better yet, making it automated is a great way to reduce a product’s cycle time resulting in cost savings.

Related: See our recap of #ProMat2019 and the tech you should be paying attention to.

Q: You’re probably the most well-traveled of the LogistiPoint team. What’s one of your more memorable getaways, and where are you going next?

A: One of the most memorable countries I’ve visited and would definitely go back to is Japan. I had the privilege of going to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka last year and fell in love with their culture! Every city you go to is sparkling clean and the people go above and beyond to help you. They have amazing technology everywhere, even in their public bathrooms! Next year I will be visiting Spain and Portugal. Although I’ve been to Europe, I have never been to these countries which surprises me because I absolutely love their wine, food, and music. It will be an exciting adventure for sure!