The advanced education session “Developing Leaders in Your Store With Alden Mills” at Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will teach bookstore owners and managers who are juggling multiple responsibilities how to cultivate a store staff ready to take on more responsibilities and grow with the business.
Owners and managers who take this class will learn strategies when it comes to hiring and training employees who can think strategically, take initiative, and feel empowered to solve problems, who will not only provide leadership in your store, but possess the confidence to represent your store in the community.
In this session, Alden Mills — Inc. 500 CEO, former Navy SEAL, speaker, entrepreneur, and author of Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership (HarperBusiness) — will teach attendees about his C.A.R.E.-based model, which focuses on four ways of building relationships with customers, co-workers, and the community.
In a recent conversation with Bookselling This Week, Mills said his new book, Unstoppable Teams, teaches readers “how to build teams that achieve more than just a regular desired outcome. The book is really about understanding why people come together in the first place and do something above and beyond what people are asking them to do. It’s really a book about relationship-building and understanding the three spheres of relationships, regardless of what kind of team or industry you work in.”
According to Mills, those three spheres are: the contributors to the team, the customers of the team, and the community the team operates in. Mills told BTW that he often explains the premise of his C.A.R.E.-based leading system using this old quotation by Teddy Roosevelt: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
“The key is showing how much you care. I actually created the acronym around the word ‘care’ itself: Connect, Achieve, Respect, and Empower,” said Mills. “Those actions are not necessarily sequential, but as you execute on those four while building a team, you will find yourself caring for your teammates, and they will reciprocate.”
Mills, a former Navy SEAL who started off his young adult life in the military, said that when most people think of the military, they imagine “these big, rough and tumble guys who are all about this hard way of life, but at the end of the day, what does it take to get someone to do something so extreme, so above and beyond, like jumping on a grenade? What makes a special operations team different than just the generic infantry is that these guys and gals spend a lot of time together, so much time that they come to love each other. There is a bond of care so strong that the idea of letting down someone else is worse than the idea of dying. That is a really extreme example, but that is the baseline for where I learned how important care really was.”
Over the years, whether it was growing businesses as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, operating various charitable organizations, or serving in the military, said Mills, “all of those teams were built with the exactly the same principles: connecting and building relationships that were so powerful that people weren’t worried about their back because they knew I had their back. A leader’s job is to take care of your people so that they feel so confident in the support you are giving them that they are not looking backwards, they are daring forward. When that happens, there is no worrying about who is going to get credit for something. All they are focused on is giving all they can all the time. That is when you switch from just performance to high performance.”
Mills’ presentation at Winter Institute will feature stories and anecdotes to explain the C.A.R.E. framework, as well as an opportunity for booksellers to ask questions and discuss ideas from the presentation. When it comes to the bookselling business, said Mills, the applicability of the C.A.R.E. system relates to bookstores’ imperative to build a relationship with their own communities. One of the challenges indie booksellers face today is competing with online retailers, but where Amazon can’t compete with indies is within their own community, said Mills.
“An indie bookstore can’t take on Amazon head on, but what you can do is build relationships that are so unstoppable that customers are not going to care about the price of the book you’re selling because they know that that store cares about them,” said Mills. “When somebody starts showing continual care without any expectation of a return, that is the magic of where reciprocity goes into high gear. And it will be reciprocated in ways these bookstore owners don’t even understand yet.”
This Advanced Education Session will take place on Thursday, January 24, from 9:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., with another session from 3:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. Each session will be held in 220 Upper East ACC in the Ruidoso Room. Registration is closed but standbys may be admitted depending on space availability.