NEW ORLEANS — Leading by example — whether at the corporate level or in-store — can be fun, Harold Lloyd has often said.
One of the first speakers to lead off the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's Dairy-Deli-Bake 2008 seminar roster this year, Lloyd will speak at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 1, describing to deli, bakery and dairy managers, team leaders, and their bosses how and why leading the way can create an enjoyable experience as well as motivate people to get things done.
Lloyd also will outline 11 specific guidelines to follow on the road to becoming a good leader, and tips for communicating better.
His seminar is preceded by one at 8 a.m. that will focus on nutrition trends in the supermarket. Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan, Sloan Trends & Solutions, Escondido, Calif., was commissioned by IDDBA to study nutrition trends in dairy, deli and bakery and to survey consumers on their attitudes and buying habits. She'll kick off the seminar lineup with a rundown of her findings.
Some celebrities will be among the speakers later during the three-day Seminar & Expo. They include Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse and former White House press secretary Tony Snow.
Lloyd, of Harold Lloyd Presents, Virginia Beach, Va., is a former supermarket retailer and restaurateur who uses his own experiences — bad, as well as good — as fodder for his presentations.
“One of the reasons that Harold Lloyd has such a big following in the retail community is that he's walked in their shoes,” said Carol Christison, IDDBA's executive director.
“He's owned stores and restaurants, he's bagged groceries, swept the floor and managed the entire operation. Harold has an insider's knowledge, and he doesn't focus just on the successes; he looks at the failures to determine what lessons can be learned that will turn them into successes.”
Lloyd details several of them in a book he wrote this year, “Am I the Leader I Need to Be?” and he'll refer to some of the examples in his seminar.
Lloyd debunks the idea many have that a leader is unapproachable. Indeed, it's just the opposite, he said.
“Being a good listener is a mark of a good leader. He or she is a good communicator,” Lloyd told SN.
“Genuine leaders have vision and passion, and they bring fun to the workplace.”
For instance, he said, a leader doesn't greet his associates in the morning with just, “Didya sign in?”
Instead, he or she is apt to say, “Good morning, [fill in the associate's name]. Today's the day we're going to feature meat loaf sandwiches, and here's how I think we can do it best.”
In his book, Lloyd describes in-store events that generated enthusiasm up and down the line.
One of his favorites took some planning, but reaped big benefits. It was a yearly Pet Event he orchestrated when he was running a supermarket.
“We encouraged our associates to dress up as their favorite animals to help market the truckloads of pet food and pet paraphernalia we planned to sell,” Lloyd writes in his book.
“Our associates could also enter their own pets in different categories to win prizes. We had one pair of geese dressed in wedding outfits that waddled up the aisle. People talked about those geese for weeks. We engaged our customers, sold piles of merchandise and achieved a month's worth of above-average associate enthusiasm.”
But many “events” can just be spontaneous, Lloyd told SN.
It's often fun events that open the way for better communication, with both customers and associates, Lloyd said.
He writes that a genuine leader is optimistic and upbeat, or at least tries to be, all the time, and therefore doesn't tend to make mountains out of molehills.
He quotes Dean Smith, college basketball coach, who said, “If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you'll be dead a lot.”
Lloyd also describes a leader as one who balances his life well between work, outside activities and family.
“Good leaders invariably are health-conscious and family-focused, Lloyd said.