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Editor’s Letter: The Hamster Wheel of Change

Spring is in the air, along with the smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of baseballs being smacked at local diamonds, and in our industry—change. We are a tight‑knit community and therefore, changes in leadership make the rounds quickly. And it seems like changes are happening quicker than ever, so there’s a lot to keep up with.

The career path at the leadership level in the retail loss prevention field can sometimes feel like a hamster wheel or like the circle of life. When a new leader first starts, everything is shiny and new, every idea is novel, every meeting a success, and he or she is held up on the edge of a rock like Simba in the Lion King. “Look at this new leader, he’s walking on water!” Every idea flows from their mouth like manna to the C-suite’s ears. He can do no wrong. He is given capital and head count. He is the Lion King.

Then as time moves on, the leader gets into the groove of managing the day-to‑day business. He excels, builds his team, and feels confident enough to try new things. He may have a mishit here or there, but overall, he continues to add value to the business—and may even get promoted. All is well within the kingdom.

- Digital Partner -

Then the business falters. The CFO needs to make cuts. Shrink hasn’t been great. Maybe it’s time to try some new blood. Just as rapidly as the rise, the leader is quietly asked to leave, and a new leader will be crowned. Business improves and this new leader now has all the best ideas. He has the funniest jokes, the best business plan, builds the best team, and is held up on Pride Rock. He is the new Lion King—until business cycles down again and shrink causes the hamster wheel to spin.

Loss prevention, retail, and business in general can be fickle friends. It’s not personal; it’s the nature of the jungle. Be prepared for changes in the industry at any moment—prepare for the worst and expect the best. My example here is an extreme one, but other changes can happen during these cycles as well. It could be that you are asked to take on a different role in your company or step down from your current position. Either way, be flexible when changes happen. Take care of your mental and physical health during and after the change. Use the change as an opportunity to push yourself to greater heights; there are higher vantage points than Pride Rock.

In this issue of LP Magazine, we continue our focus on giving you tools to help you in your career, at whatever stage you are in. We hope that you find ideas inside that inspire you and help you prepare for whatever change may come.

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