retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times had an interview over the weekend with Chris McCormick, CEO of LL Bean, in which he made several comments about his development as a leader that deserve some attention...

• "I’ve been here 30 years and was promoted, on average, every other year before becoming C.E.O. That’s part of what kept me here, because if you’re not learning, you’re dying. Every time I felt I was at the peak of the learning curve, the company gave me more to do."

• "In the late 1990s, Leon Gorman, a third-generation member of the family that started L.L. Bean, who was then C.E.O., made me head of the women’s product line. I knew marketing, not products, but I realized he was developing me to become a senior leader. The first thing I did was surround myself with women who knew the product line and had good taste in clothes."
KC's View:
I love the notion that every time McCormick thought he'd achieved a peak of the learning curve, the company's leaders gave him new challenges, new opportunities, and new things to do that he didn't know how to do. And, in doing so, developed a versatile leader who is shepherding the company from the catalog era into a highly digital environment without violating core company values, and who seems to understand that he needs to do for other people what was done for him.

A good lesson to be learned by every business leader, I think.