LP 101: Organizational Partnerships are Essential to a Career in Loss Prevention

retail resignation letter

Building a successful career in loss prevention has always been predicated on the commitment to professional growth and development. Working in a business as dynamic as retail, it is essential that we remain flexible in our methods and progressive in our approach to a global retail market. As the business moves forward change comes quickly, and our skills and abilities must evolve to meet the needs and expectations of a new professional standard.

As we’ve all heard on countless occasions, a team is more than just the sum of its parts. But in the retail world, what exactly does that imply? The framework of the business was designed with the intention that every department within the company would provide an essential contribution to the success of the organization as a whole. The roles can be as variable as the needs of the business may require, but each responsibility is critical to make the company function properly.

Every department is necessary in order to achieve our desired goals. All have important purposes that are vital to the harmony and functioning of the business. And by the same respect, all must also work together if we hope to achieve any level of success. When we work together, we can accomplish things that we can’t accomplish on our own. We find solutions that might have been lost without the vision of teamwork. We achieve goals by sharing ideas and expectations.

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Our core processes are all interdependent—often more so than we realize. And we have to learn to appreciate the merits of the individual parts if we ever hope to grasp the value of the unit as a whole. Retail is a very diverse business, and much more complicated than many people expect. It is also a very competitive business that requires the insights and cooperation of a united work force. The sum of the parts gives a company its identity, and the identity of a company drives the mission and purpose of the business. That’s why it’s so important. It takes a combined effort and a team focus to forge a successful company. It takes effective leadership to bring it all together.

We often talk about the importance of having a “global” perspective of the retail business. We recognize the need to stretch our arms and embrace a greater understanding of the dynamics of retail. But if we truly want to build a successful career in loss prevention we have to take a comprehensive look into the business. We have to be willing to extend our field of vision to include the heart and soul of the organization. As redundant as it might sound, we can’t view the business globally if we limit what we’re willing to look at. We can only change our outlook if we’re able to see things differently. This requires that we search beyond the limits of our every day, and explore the business of retail from other points of view.

Truly effective partnerships involve much more than sharing responsibilities. We also have to share ideals and understanding. Looking at the key roles in the retail architecture, do you really understand what these different departments do? What are their primary responsibilities? How do their job functions impact the business? How do their job functions impact what you do? How do your job functions impact them? How can you be an effective partner if you don’t know the answers to those questions? We often fail to fully understand what role these different areas of the business play, let alone how their roles impact our goals and responsibilities.

It is a common cry in the loss prevention profession that the other areas of the business “really don’t understand what we do in loss prevention.” There are those that feel that there is a narrow perception of our department, and limited awareness of what we actually do. If that is the case, what are you doing to change that point of view? Are you communicating the right message? Are you communicating that message effectively? When you communicate with others, are you hearing the right message? Are you actively listening? Is the issue that they don’t understand what we do, or is the real issue that we don’t understand what they do? Why should you expect more from others if you aren’t willing to step up yourself?

If we hope to maintain a successful career in loss prevention, we have to build successful partnerships with our fellow departments and business allies. We have to adjust our insights, our attitudes and our approach to the business. Perhaps the best place to start is to take a closer look at several of the key areas within the business and build an overview of their fundamental responsibilities. While we can’t expect to fully grasp the details of the job responsibilities from an overview (and understanding that the responsibilities may be somewhat different from retailer to retailer), our goal should be to learn the basics and give ourselves something to build on. By starting with a solid foundation we can improve the overall strength of these relationships and enhance our value as a partner. Additionally, by taking a leadership role in the process, we also demonstrate our merit as an asset to the business.

By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about this and other topics designed to help build your career in loss prevention, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.

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