When it comes to influencing change, the starting point almost always begins with determining whether or not there is a need for change. If something stands in the way of progress, whether the issue is real or perceived, it still needs to be addressed to help us move forward.
Let’s take a closer look at a current question facing the loss prevention industry.
No matter the company, industry, or group, we often hear references to a “Good Old Boy” network that has real or perceived influence over who has access, who gets promoted, who gets considered for promotions or other opportunities—and who does not.
In general terms, the “Good Old Boy” network refers to an informal system of connections or fellowships through which men use their positions of influence to control, persuade, manipulate, or otherwise effect decisions impacting a company, industry, or other group to help others within the group, hinder those that are not part of the group—or to protect themselves. Often connected through similar interests or background, these groups and individual players wield power through their connections and positions of influence. Some see this as an actual network, while others simply view it as an over-arching concept that’s shared between members of the group.
What do you think? Is there a “Good Old Boy” network that influences decisions made across the loss prevention industry? We asked the men and women of loss prevention to address this question in separate surveys.
Our survey participants strongly believe that there remains a “Good Old Boy” network that influences decisions made across the loss prevention industry.
Men: The men participating in the survey predominately agreed with this position with 69 percent strongly agreeing, 10 percent agreeing, and 18 percent somewhat agreeing. Approximately 3 percent of participants stated that they disagree that a “Good Old Boy” network remains in loss prevention.
Women: The women participating in the survey overwhelmingly agreed that a “Good Old Boy” network remains in loss prevention with every respondent agreeing at some level. 74 percent strongly agreed, while 26 percent stated that they agreed.
Here is a sampling of your comments:
“I believe that there are factions of ” Good Old Boy” networks, but many have fractured over the past several years as a result of retirement and the overall decline in brick & mortar retail. But the network still does exist to an extent and still can have an impact on one’s career.”
“The Good Old Boy networks are even stronger within individual retailers.”
“There are many LP/AP organizations that promote people based on relationships rather than results.”
“I am really not surprised that this question is even asked. That network has been in place for at least 30 years.”
“I have been in Retail LP/AP for 27 years. There was a “Good Old Boy” network back in the day. I no longer see that.”
“I worked in an AP organization that was run in this fashion. An incompetent director was brought in because he was best friends with the VP. The other 2 directors were forced out even though they were more effective field leaders, leaving only the incompetent one remaining. I almost left the LP industry due to this ridiculousness.”
“Some of it is political/social, for example ex-police, law and order-type individuals that naturally gravitate towards LP. We are also more likely to have conservative keynote speakers at NRF type-conventions. They tend to bring this ‘culture’ with them. Another area includes vendors that perpetuate the ‘good old boy’ attitudes and myth’s in an effort to ingratiate themselves with older/senior members of LP management. Fortunately, it seems less prevalent today than in the 80s or 90s. Most company’s LP teams have become more professional and emphasize various performance management metrics to establish value to the organization vs. being a part of the Good Old Boy’ network.”
“I saw this in action at my last company. There was a buddy-buddy system with the DLPM at the time. However, it wasn’t gender-specific in this case.”
“I’m a twenty-plus year LP veteran with WZ, CFI certifications and working towards my CFE. After leaving a certain organization in 2013 I have not been able to land a District or Regional LPM opportunity. Ironically enough I have held those positions in the past throughout the United States.”
“In 17-plus years of retail LP at varying levels I have seen it at only two of the companies I’ve worked at. Both though were very influential on how I carry myself as an LP leader now. It also paved the way for how I never want to be a part of the unwritten and often unspoken ways of that ‘Good Old Boy’ club.”
“If you’re a man and speak up, you are aggressive. If you’re a woman and speak up, you are acting like a Bitch.”
“What’s the ratio of men to women in LP? Women normally start retail careers in areas other than LP, so unless your company is willing to be open to accepting a non-traditional team member, it will remain unbalanced. Of course, I’ve had male bosses support those transitions and women bosses condemn me for the suggestion even though their path wasn’t dissimilar. Just read the recent article on how women and people of color are assigned or accept “housekeeping” tasks. I certainly lived it from parties, to meetings, the women made the plans, etc. This is a leadership issue as much as it is a gender issue and LP is decades behind the rest of the world in acknowledging it. Thank you for bringing it to the light.”
Do you have any additional thoughts? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below: