August 18, 2016

Answer to the Merchandising Question

How did you answer this question?

August 12 Question: Your merchandising team creates a new product line, one that is similar to an existing product line. The existing product line used to generate $10,000,000 in annual sales. Today, the existing product line generates $7,000,000 in annual sales, while the new product line generates $5,000,000 per year. Your merchandising team thinks that sales declined in the existing product line because the marketing team failed to properly market each product line. Your data shows you that customers rapidly switched allegiance from the old product line to the new product line. Describe how you will argue whether the new product is or is not a success when you meet with your Executive Team next week.


Can the candidate articulate cause/effect when cause/effect cannot be tested and can be argued a million different ways via a million different analytical techniques?

Can the candidate display empathy?

Can the candidate argue calmly when unjustifiably attacked?

Will the candidate ask for support from other Executive Team partners, or will the candidate fight alone?

Can the candidate sell a point of view that can only be proven via correlation?

Does the candidate just stare at you and say nothing?

The goal of the question is to reveal character.

In four out of five cases last week, I was looking for the candidate to reveal character.

In one out of five cases last week, I was looking for chops/competence.

I have a list of thirty-five questions I'd consider asking any Leadership candidate. I think it is important to constantly go back to questions that each candidate should answer ... allowing you to draw valid comparisons.

Time for your thoughts ... what did you learn? What did you agree with? What did you disagree with? What are you looking for in a Leadership candidate?


P.S.: Show me the merchandise that Wayfair features on the postcard? Oh, it's hard to tell? Of course it is hard to tell. The printer and the paper rep and the marketer win here ... Wayfair is selling discounts/promotions instead of selling MERCHANDISE.

You are better than this.

Don't listen to your vendor partners.

Listen to your co-workers.