Over a year ago, we highlighted an interview with Terry Lundgren, President, Chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc. In that interview, Mr. Lundgren shared why he loves this business. After 30 years working in retail, he said: “The constant change. You can’t stand still in retailing. You must always be innovating and pushing the envelope. The competitive landscape is always changing. The customer is always changing and evolving, and so must we. I like being challenged in this way. I just love this business. It’s a privilege to come to work every day and do something I absolutely love to do, even in this very difficult economic environment…”
Mr. Lundgren has been interviewed once again, and his insights are no less fascinating. On NRF’s BIG Blog, the CEO — of one of the most famous retailers in the world — discusses a range of topics from Macy’s annual parade, emerging holiday trends, and the company’s focus on localization. One particular part of the interview that struck us was Mr. Lundgren’s thoughts on how seasonal employees can turn a part-time holiday position into a full-time career. He goes on to share:
In September, Macy’s announced that it was hiring 65,000 seasonal employees during the holiday season. Some of these seasonal hires may hope that their temporary positions become permanent. As someone who spent part of his career as a store manager, what advice would you offer a seasonal employee on ways to stand out to management in the hopes of transitioning from part-time holiday help to full-time company superstar?
There will always be room at Macy’s for someone who is energetic, knowledgeable and focused on the customer. Selling skills are key. Many of the people who start with Macy’s as a seasonal store associate will end up with the company full-time. Some of them have risen through the ranks to be senior executives at Macy’s today. When I was just starting out in the company after college, I received some great advice from the manager who recruited me to the company. He said that to succeed, you need to “bloom where you are planted.” That advice has stayed with me to this day. It means that no matter what your job, do it to the very best of your ability. Really care. Go the extra mile. Show initiative and creativity to achieve your goals and go beyond them. If you really pour 100% of yourself into your job, people will notice. You will create your own opportunities for advancement.
Tell me something about yourself that most people don’t know.
When I started out in college, I planned to be a veterinarian. Then I learned what a veterinarian does for a living and what it was like to artificially inseminate a cow. So I switched to business. My first exposure to retailing was a high school job delivering clothing from a tailoring shop to local menswear stores in southern California. But I never really aspired to a career in retailing until I graduated college and interviewed with Bullock’s department store in southern California to be an executive trainee in the buying organization. At Bullock’s, I saw what an interesting, fast-paced business retailing was, and what good opportunities there were to advance my career without having to move from one company to another. I went from trainee to CEO of Bullocks Wilshire in 13 years and never stopped learning or loving my job.
To read the full interview with Terry Lundgren, visit the NRF BIG Blog.