Steve Sadove, the former Chairman and CEO of Saks, the iconic luxury retailer, on paper may not have been the kind of executive Saks you would think would have chosen to take its helm.
His path came from a distinguished career in marketing and consumer products with increasing leadership positions at Kraft and Bristol-Myers Squibb leading worldwide businesses.
So if you would ask Steve how did he adapt to the very different, challenging world of retail, with no experience? He'd tell you it was his self-awareness of what he’s not – a deeply experienced merchandising executive. It's that careful understanding about who Steve is and what he brings to the position which I believe enabled him to be an informed, insightful and successful leader.
Steve has a commitment to his beliefs in developing people. That keen insight underscores his many talents and skills sets. Yet ask him what his role was, he'd say, "to lead, define and create a culture and a winning culture through shared objectives.
As an alum of DIII Hamilton College, a former tennis player and current Chairman of the Board of Trustees there, Steve is sensitive to the parallels of leadership learning in collegiate athletics and the business world. He believes the heartbeat of great companies just like athletic teams is knowing that cultivating the growth of people is central to success.
Steve said about creating a culture, "all companies and organizations have culture. Yet, just asking the questions of various stakeholders about how does our culture serve the organization is the starting point.
Take a moment and listen to my chat with Steve. He's curious leader with a learning mindset committed to a culture of winning through success, fulfillment, and happiness of people.