Retailers, After This Election, We Need A Reset Button For America
By Bob Phibbs
For the past year, we have had an anxious cloud form over us because of the Presidential campaign.
You couldn’t just turn off the radio or TV and avoid it because there in your Facebook News Feed was a friend of yours sharing their opinion.
The other one.
When we got bored during the day, we turned to our smartphones to see what the other candidate was up to.
It seemed great fun at first.
But the longer it went on, the more dis-empowered we all became.
We dwelled on the horrific end-of-days outcome we pictured if the other candidate got in. We virtually lived in one giant echo-chamber of similar-sounding people.
And when many of our friends liked or commented on that other candidate, they became the other to us.
Now after the election, we are looking at some of our friends very differently. Because our feelings are so powerful, we feel powerless to change that.
If you’re on one side, don’t dwell in defeat and regret. And if you’re on the other side, don’t think there’s a magic wand that just made everything better.
Stop using Facebook as a weapon of vindication or end-of-days. Your posts, your emails, your conversations have to be compassionate and thoughtful if you want to be heard and appreciated.
My dad lived his life working for social justice. He worked tirelessly for civil rights in the sixties. When things didn’t go his way, he got angry.
As he got older, his anger was ready to pounce on anyone that disagreed with him. He lost family and friends because they were the other. He didn’t engage but pounced.
He died very much alone with his anger.
What’s this have to do with retail? Plenty.
Unless you engage, you can't convert.
Retail at the holidays has the power to unify. Has the power to connect. Has the power to create hope.
America needs a reset button to get back to not viewing our friends, our family and our community members as the other.
That means you have to get back out there and greet every customer, walk every square foot of your store, master every interaction, and do all you possibly can do to be a better retailer, be a better boss, be a better person than you were last week.
No one else is responsible for your happiness - not Hillary or Donald, not your customers or employees, and not your partner or your kids.
Only you can do the hard work of getting up, looking for the possibilities inherent in a new day, and do the hard work on yourself to vanquish fear, to not give in to hopelessness, and to not pounce in anger.
Only you can do this for yourself, your business, and for America. We desperately need a reset button to regain our own humanity.
I know one thing…
You can’t convert someone unless you engage them first.
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