Retail Executive

NOV/DEC 2017

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path forward to whatever the problem or the opportuni- ty at hand is. I think that's my superpower both at work and at home — prioritization and a logical mindset help handle and make manageable complexity, whether it's at Amazon or in my house." "For example, I participate in white board reviews with my teams, whereby we walk through numbers to un- derstand what we're measuring and why. I ask my team countless questions — what would you do differently, de- pending on how that measure is performing? What are the tools we think our vendors need in order to be suc- cessful against that measure? How many of those tools do we think are providing them with those capabilities? I conduct a '5-Whys' exercise to gain a deeper understand- ing beyond the numbers written on the board in front of us. For example, I recently received an email from one of my team members recapping the white board meeting. At the bottom of his email, he commented, 'I'm very ener- gized about the level of passion on this topic. I now have some new ways to think about how we want to pull in the data to really understand if we're being successful.' My empathetic leadership skills helped him understand how important I consider this project. And, the 'Think Big' part of our business drives my line of questioning. It also made him think about his role in the business." DePree and her team know that Amazon's customers expect more selection and choice coupled with compel- ling value, and they're always going to want things fast- er than they did yesterday. These are the fundamentals that force DePree to evaluate her team's performance to determine what can be done differently and better for the customer. Being an effective, empathetic lead- er who thinks differently and encourages her team to think differently is no easy task. But, rest assured, exec- utive leaders like Alexis DePree are a key component to Amazon's success. R becomes choosing when we need to develop new capa- bilities to ensure a consistent experience for customers globally and when we should modify the experience to better fit the local capabilities," she says. "A great example of balancing local with global is to consider customers in a remote community. Customers likely have a few traditional stores in the community, which may not have a broad selection. And, local stores in the same area have a fixed group of customers to purchase their goods. With global e-commerce, customers can have access to a broader selection at a low cost and fast shipping speed while the local small retailer will be able to sell goods locally and around the world. In this case, both benefit from a balance of local and global. To make a global offering a reality, the supply chains of retailers and brands will need to work closely together to offer a truly great global customer experience." Always embedded in DePree's work are elements of the operation or the global and local supply chain that are important to that experience. "Consider our Prime Ward- robe offering, for example. A critical part of that experi- ence is about making sure that returns are easy, because customers want to try on the garments. We accept that part of the business model includes returns. Part of mak- ing the returns process easy was having a box that can be resealed. My team worked diligently to understand the innovative packaging solutions that would ensure a great experience when the Prime Wardrobe package arrives on the doorstep and an equally great experience should they need to make returns." E M B R A C I N G E M PAT H E T I C L E A D E R S H I P DePree relies on the aforementioned methodologies and procedures to help her team to support supply chain execution. But DePree's personal go-to management style revolves around what she refers to as empathetic leadership. She admits that her leadership approach has evolved in recent years, as she is now a full-time working mother of three. "People want to feel valued, no matter their level in the organization and no matter their age in your house," she says. "People want to come to work every day and know that they have the opportu- nity to contribute based on their strengths and that I, as their leader, recognize, understand, and leverage their strengths. I stress the importance of diving deep and asking question after question to try to understand my team's differing perspectives." DePree does so by setting clear goals for herself and her team and fostering an in- clusive, transparent culture. "I naturally take problems and break them into components to understand what is at the core and drive clarity around the desired out- come. Then, my mind works to find the most efficient I conduct a '5-Whys' exercise to gain a deeper understanding beyond the numbers written on the board in front of us. Alexis DePree, VP Global Supply Chain, Customer Fulfillment, Amazon RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 16 EXCLUSIVE RETAIL FEATURE Executive By E. Harris LEADING AT AMAZON

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