This is the time of year when loss prevention executives often bring their field team into corporate headquarters or a destination location to review the past year’s results and discuss the objectives for the coming year. It is both a celebration of the team’s and individuals’ successes, as well as a critical examination of opportunities missed.
Those of us at the magazine are privileged to sometimes be invited to attend these meetings. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to observe the interactions of a loss prevention organization. It is also an opportunity to meet and interact with the people on the front lines of our industry. Over the past three months I’ve attended several such meetings. I want to share some of my observations as someone from the outside looking in on these organizations.
My first takeaway is how grounded and competent the vast majority of the professionals are in our industry. Whether they are young in the industry or grizzled veterans, most of the individuals working in the field or on corporate staff are enthusiastic, focused professionals. I’ve been associated with the loss prevention industry since the early 1990s. It was my observation then and reinforced now that individuals in loss prevention are doers—people who get things done and done the right way. Perhaps it’s the personalities that are attracted to our industry; maybe it’s the roles they play in the organization. For whatever reason, most LP professionals meet and often exceed in the tasks they are given.
Another observation is that the leaders of these organizations are great mentors and managers. I see that in their strategic thinking and alignment with their corporate objectives. It’s obvious in their direct reports as well who are not just good soldiers for their executive, but also good generals in their own right managing their individual teams within the organization. Most of the pyramid heads I observe are a far cry from being dictators. Instead they lead by example with compassion and positivity. You see it in the interactions they have with individuals throughout the team and the look in the eyes of a district manager or corporate analyst when they talk face-to-face with the executive.
As strong leaders who oversee organizations that get things done, it is no mystery why loss prevention executives are gaining more and more responsibility within the enterprise. Not too many years ago, these organizations were simply “the guys who catch shoplifters” or “the people who come into the store to fire someone.” My, how that has changed. Now these organizations are often managing inventory, safety, compliance, risk management, logistics, and increasingly data and information security.
These observations combine to give me a very positive view of the future of our industry. We have strong, forward-thinking leaders as well as energetic, credentialed, accomplished professionals at all levels of the organization who will one day lead their own multifaceted teams. The future of retail loss prevention is bright indeed.