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IBD Summit opens with focus on culture

Published January 18, 2017
Dan Mann talks culture.

TEMPE, Ariz. (BRAIN) — Howdy. How are ya? Wadayaknow?

Your store’s greeting — the words and the feeling behind the words — is a key factor in establishing and reinforcing your operation’s culture, a theme of this week’s sixth annual IBD Summit here.

At an opening session Tuesday, Boston-area retailer Tom Henry shared how he and his managers worked to identify the feeling behind the way its employees greeted store visitors, so that it could be taught to new generations of employees.

“We decided it was like the way your grandmother greets you when you come into her home, or the way you welcome your best friend at your house,” said Henry, co-owner of Landry's.

More than 60 retail owners and managers, many from some of the largest and best-known stores in the country, are practicing their greeting skills here as they attend in-depth seminars led by IBD experts and keynote speeches from speakers from outside the bike world, interspersed with copious time for networking at the posh Marriot Tempe at the Butte resort.

The greeting may be a key to establishing and sharing a store’s culture, but culture is a constantly evolving concept that comes from history, principals, practice and leadership, said Dan Mann of Mann U, who moderated the session Tuesday. It’s not enough to identify a culture on a mission statement or motto, he said.

“It is nothing without some actual practice where you can look at it, and touch it, feel it, use it,” Mann said.

Panelist Mike Olson, co-owner of the San Diego-based Trek Superstores and Portland’s Bike Gallery chain, said he wasn’t as concerned with the greeting as he was with establishing the underlying practices that establish a culture.

“I just want people to greet people with a smile and ask for the sale,” he said with a smile. Olson said hiring people who fit the store’s culture is key.

“One bad hire can be devastating,” he said. “I’ve learned to be slow to hire and quick to fire.”

At Tuesday evening’s keynote, Canadian social media and marketing expert Scott Stratton talked about how in the age of Twitter, an organization’s brand can be established or destroyed in a matter of minutes.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain spent months developing its eagle-and-crown logo, but its branding today has more to do with a feel-good story that went viral on social media about hotel employees who shipped a lost stuffed toy back to its owner

“What I got out of that is, take advantage of opportunities to make a connection with a consumer,” Todd Grant, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, said Wednesday.

Wednesday’s first presentation, by WD-40 Company’s CEO, Garry Ridge, reinforced that an organization’s leadership establishes its culture.

“Who is the king of culture? You are,” Ridge said.

The conference continues through Thursday, and Dan Mann promised that the final session Thursday afternoon will wrap up all the lessons on culture into actionable “nuggets.”

“This is where the real ROI of the conference comes into play,” Mann said.

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