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March 26, 2013

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Spotlight on Leadership
 

Industry Veteran and World Leader
Larry Yeager, recently retired, former VP of Alpha High Theft Solutions
on
Building World Class Teams - The Key to His Success

By Gus Downing
Publisher & Editor


All industries are comprised of two groups. The actual practitioners and the solution providers who support and help drive the performance and results of the industry itself by providing products and services the practitioners can use to accomplish their goals.

Often times undervalued and jokingly (at times) referred to as the 'dark side', solution providers have over the years helped to contribute the vast majority of product innovations and answers to the retailer's most difficult problems. Some would even go so far as to say that the industry's continued shrinkage reduction trend in the face of reducing payrolls is in large part as a direct result of the innovations created by these teams.

Many years ago one of the most quietly influential practitioners and industry leader, Fred Wilson, pointed out that his "industry partners", the solution providers, were critical members of his team and that he relied heavily on the leadership of those teams to help resolve and answer his problems and challenges.

Understanding their significance and the role they play, one must also realize that solution providers too are driven by the same principles that successful retailers measure, such as innovation in your space and excellence in customer service. For solution providers, these principles take the form of the products and solutions they offer, the leadership team that guides them and the team that supports their offerings to the market.

Given those principles and adding the requisite of over 25+ years of success at building world class teams and developing innovative solutions Larry Yeager, the recently retired and former VP and leader of Alpha High Theft Solutions, qualifies and exceeds what anyone would define as a world wide industry leader.

Learning and developing his leadership skills with two tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy and spending nine years with AT&T's Western Electric as a quality control engineer, he learned early on the value of teamwork, communications, and leadership.

Entering the retail Loss Prevention industry in 1976 with Checkmate, an EAS provider, and quickly progressing to the role of President & CEO within three years is testimony enough to the lessons learned and more importantly to his ability to use his knowledge to successfully drive that business to a very profitable sale in 1986. Just six short years after assuming the leadership role.

Simultaneously of this, in 1983 Larry actually led the start-up of Trident Security. A company whose success in electronic display security led to its sale to Protex in 1991.

Joining Alpha in 1993, Larry quickly realized the industry need for this highly specialized organization. He went on to build a team that grew the company four fold by 1999 and expanded the company internationally in Latin America and Asia. With team work, developing retail partnerships, and new product development as his mantras, Larry built the company into a great acquisition for Checkpoint Systems in 2007. He remained as VP and General Manager for the division, and five quick years later and on the exact day they joined Checkpoint, November 2, Larry Yeager now finds himself in the enviable position of hitting golf balls into the ocean (and into trees, and lakes, and bunkers).

Having managed and steered three successful organizations to sale, all of which were driven by his ability to lead and produce value for the retail Loss Prevention industry, is an accomplishment few can claim. Reluctant himself to claim any of it, Larry very humbly points out that he would not be where he is today if it were not for the people he had on his team. As he quickly says he may not be the smartest guy but he was good at assembling people who were the best at what they did. A trait that's rather evident when considering the scope of his accomplishments because as we all know it takes a team to be highly successful.

Over the last few years the leadership team at Alpha have all spoke to Larry's abilities as a leader and almost in sync with each other they mirror his communicative abilities and messages as though they're speaking from the same book. A quality and uniformity that's rare and impressive.

The continuity in their message and their ability to keep it in front of them, pushing them in the same direction is an engrained culture that transcends one leader and has led to Alpha's strength in the market. Larry knew full well what he was developing and in his opinion "Alpha's senior leadership team is at the top of their game", and therefore it was the perfect time for him to move aside and allow the team to continue to drive solutions for their retail partners.

It's not often that solutions providers are singled out for their industry contributions and accomplishments. But in this case being able to successfully drive three organizations whose sole purpose is to drive value to the Loss Prevention industry, is an accomplishment worth noting and one that will undoubtedly continue at Alpha based on the culture and leaders Larry left behind.

So the next time you meet with a solution provider don't be so quick to call it the 'dark side' because you never know, you may be meeting with another game changer just like Larry. Because over at Alpha they have a few of them who learned from the best.

 

News Brief
Sponsored by WG Security Products, Inc.

Eric Strom was promoted to Director of Field Loss Prevention for Mattress Firm. Eric will celebrate three years with Mattress Firm in April, and during his time here, he has been a significant contributor in building our Field Audit and Investigation Programs. Prior to Mattress Firm, Eric spent eight years at Lennar Homes where he finished his career there as a Senior Forensic Auditor. He graduated with a BBA from Texas Lutheran University and is licensed as a CPA, CFE, and CFI. Congratulations Eric!

Supervalu to eliminate 1,100 jobs. 
Minnesota based Supervalu is eliminating about 1,100 positions nationwide, or about 3 percent of its workforce, less than a week after the supermarket operator completed the sale of five of its grocery chains. Supervalu said Tuesday that sale of the five grocery chains means that the remaining business will need "significantly fewer" corporate and store support roles and functions. Supervalu has struggled for years to turn around its business. The broader supermarket industry has been facing growing competition from big-box retailers such as Target, drugstore chains and dollar stores. (Source wbay.com)

Store in Australia now charging $5 for “just looking”; hoping to combat ‘showrooming’.  A specialty food store in Brisbane, Australia is charging visitors a $5 AUD (roughly $5.25) in an effort to stop them from "showrooming." Celiac Supplies, which describes itself as "Brisbane's only gluten free and wheat free store," became internet famous yesterday when a Redditor posted an image of a sign announcing the policy. The Australian Associated Press tracked down the store owner, who said that she was forced to put up the sign after spending "hours each week" giving advice to people only to see them leave and buy a similar product elsewhere. "I'm not here to dispense a charity service for [large supermarkets] to make more money." Customers will apparently be refunded the $5 charge on making a purchase. (Source businesinsider.com)

Richard Schulze returns to Best Buy as Chairman Emeritus.  Best Buy co-founder Richard Schulze is returning to his chain of consumer electronics retail stores, according to the company. Schulze had been preparing a buyout bid for months, but he and a group of investors never managed to put together a formal offer. Now, he'll be chairman emeritus. Schulze has nominated two former Best Buy executives to join the company's board: former CEO Brad Anderson and former COO Al Lenzmeier. (Source latimes.com)

Five arrested in $2.5 Million dollar email European banking fraud.  Five Slovenian were arrested by police who were believed to have attached mal-ware to the computers of businesses’ accounting departments. Once the Trojan virus was released, the criminal gang took control of the businesses accounts. The gang employed 25 people as money mules to quickly move cash around the country. (Source sophos.com)

Walmart takes on Bloomberg report stating ‘shelves in the stores are empty’.  Bloomberg released a story stating that due to a lack of manpower, the shelves of local Walmart stores across the country are empty. Too few workers, less man hours and disorganized stores were pointed out as the problems; the merchandise is in the store but just not enough hands to restock. Walmart says the news service is wrong. (Source bloomberg.com)

Kate Spade stores looking to expand global footprint, plans for 500 stores worldwide.  The fashion company's sales growth has risen dramatically in the last five years from $91M to $462M, a 410% increase. And by 2016, it expects to reach about 500 stores worldwide. At the end of 2012 there were 205 Kate Spade New York stores in 20 countries plus 12 Jack Spade stores in 4 countries. This included 171 full price stores and 46 outlet stores. The company projects that by 2016 Kate Spade New York will reach 475-550 company-owned and partnered owned stores worldwide with 250-300 in North America. (Source forbes.com)

Vitamin Shoppe goes international, opening first store in Panama.  The franchisee operation in Panama opened early in March and is hoping to be a new direction for continued growth. (Source chainstoreage.com)

Wal-Mart Sues Union in Florida over demonstrations.  Walmart filed trespassing claims in a lawsuit against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and other groups holding demonstrations at company stores in Florida. A complaint filed March 22 in Orange County, Florida, seeks a court order restraining the group and several individuals from trespassing on Wal-Mart property to picket, demonstrate, disrupt customers or confront managers. Wal-Mart employees aren’t unionized. The lawsuit is aimed at the UFCW, its subsidiary OURWalmart and another group that allegedly trespassed 73 times in 13 states in the past year. (Source huffingtonpost.com)

Jailed Chinese Billionaire’s electronics company posts a $96 Million loss in 2012.   Gome Electrical Appliances is owned by Wong Kwong Yu, who is serving time for financial crimes, ranked No. 1,250 on the 2013 Forbes Billionaires List with wealth of $1.15 billion. Gome is faced with the battles of online competition and rising operating costs. (Source forbes.com)

Denver based Elite Sterling Security is the only U.S. distributor of a bulletproof clothing line.  The Colombia based Miguel Caballero has a line of polo shirts and leather jackets that are advertized as being able to stop a 9mm bullet. Elite is the same company that marketed the bullet proof backpack following the recent school shooting. The Men’s polo shirt sells for $3475.00, available in red, white or blue. (Source businessinsider.com)

Nine arrested in Houston on Identity and Credit card theft charges. The nine men, all Cuban nationals, are believed to be tied to a ring that was arrested back in 2011. Confiscated in the raid on Friday were hundreds of credit cards, embossing machines and encoding devices. A total of $13,000 in cash and two vehicles were confiscated. (Source khou.com)

Truck fire outside Dillard’s at the McCain Mall in North Little Rock.  Thick black smoke was seen rising from McCain Mall in North Little Rock late this morning after a tractor-trailer truck caught fire. Photos from the scene showed the truck's cab in flames. The truck appeared to have been backed into a loading area near one of the entrances to Dillard's. No one was injured. (Source thv11.com)

Off duty Mall Security guards pulls over a possible DUI suspect and fires his weapon 15 times.  The Mesquite, Texas security guard was on his way home from his shift and believe he saw a man who appeared to be driving drunk. After a first failed attempt to stop the car, flashing his security badge, the guard followed the suspect to the interstate were he cut him off. Once out the car, the guard believed the other driver was going for a gun, so he shot 15 rounds into the car. The driver was struck once in the head, but is recovering. (Source cbslocal.com)

Spartanburg Police Officer arrests a shoplifter armed with a knife and brass knuckles.  A man was arrested after police say he brandished a knife at a Sears employee and a police officer Sunday. An incident report states that a loss prevention officer for Sears at WestGate Mall saw the suspect conceal two T-shirts from the store. When the Sears Loss Prevention agent confronted the suspect, the shoplifter brandished brass knuckles and the knife. Police arrived on the scene at that time taking down the suspect and placing him under arrest. No one was injured. (Source foxcarolina.com)

Two arrested in Calvin Klein Outlet robbery in Phoenix.  Tips from the public led to the arrest of two robbery suspects who hit the Calvin Klein store in Anthem. On March 1, the two suspects entered the store just before closing time, forced the two employees into a fitting room and escaped with a large amount of merchandise. The suspects are now charged with armed robbery and kidnapping. (Source myfoxphoenix.com)

Armed Robbery at Stony Point Fashion Park Jewelry Store.  Richmond, Virginia Police are searching for three men who robbed a jewelry store at gunpoint Monday evening. It happened at a jewelry store in Stony Point Fashion Mall around 8 p.m. Investigators say three men entered the jewelry store and demanded employees hand over jewelry. Two of the men involved in the robbery were armed, according to investigators. No one was injured in the incident. (Source nbc12.com)

Off-duty sheriff’s deputy arrested for shoplifting and assault at Belk’s in Charlotte.  Shamika Grant worked as a Detention Officer for the Mecklenburg County jail, until Monday when she resigned following her arrest. Grant was attempting to steal two watches from Belk’s. When confronted by Loss Prevention she struck the agent in the face. (Source wsoctv.com)

Nashville Metro Police Officer sued for shooting at suspected shoplifters.  
Officer Christopher Cote is being sued for $100,000 for shooting twice at a car driven by suspected shoplifters who were returning items for cash. The suit claims the officer used poor judgment in the shooting; one bullet hit a suspect in the knee. (Source nashvillecitypaper.com)

Second Greenville Family Dollar store robbed this month.  Police are looking at possible connections between Sunday’s robbery and a similar incident that occurred back in February. The two store associates were not injured during the robbery on Sunday. (Source wcti12.com)

Arrests made in the UK Carphone Warehouse ‘streaming’ incident; thieves responsible for over $200K in thefts and damages.  Shoppers and members of staff are seen caught up in the melee as the gang members violently stole stock from display stands. During a six-month period, the group was responsible for the theft of over $200,000 in phones and merchandise as well as thousands in damages to stores. “Streaming” is the UK’s version of a flash mob robbery. (Source romfordrecorder.co.uk)

2012 Thought Challenge Award Winners to be announced next Monday. 

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eBay News
 

eBay PROACT Investigators Help Uncover Million Dollar Ring - Leads to Arrest of Seven

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Seven people were arrested Friday morning as a four-month undercover investigation yielded thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise. Detectives first learned of stolen property being sold in a business back in Nov. 2012. The business was selling shoplifted items, police said. It was also selling property stolen from vehicles, homes and businesses, police added. They face charges that include Colorado Organized Crime Control Act/Prohibited Activities , Money Laundering, Theft by Receiving , Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Conspiracy and Theft Detection Devices. Click here to read full article.

For further information on PROACT email inquiries to; PROACT@eBay.com

ORC News
 
Natick, Mass. man steals nearly $1800 worth of jeans.  Police in Natick are searching for a suspect in the theft of $1782 worth of jeans from a store in the Natick Mall. The man is believed to have concealed the 11 pairs of jeans in a bag from “Justice”. The name of the retail victim was not released. (Source myfoxboston.com)

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Thought Challenge
 

2013 Thought Challenge



So you think you’re really doing a great job.....huh?


By Fred Baish
Vice President North American Loss Prevention
Dollar Financial Group, Inc.



Those of us in Loss Prevention have always felt pride in reference to our titled position within a company. “I am LOSS PREVENTION.” However, how many of us could really define, within the scope of our jobs, that we were truly qualified to live up to that title? Not many, I would guess...

I was one of these folks – one who believed early-on that loss-prevention started and stopped with my primary duty (could be – walking the floor-preventing external theft, could be manning CCTV monitors and calling-out items of concern, could be performing analysis of data, in order to identify theft or fraud trends, could be a host of other things, as well). These are all beneficial and necessary skill-sets, but they aren’t all inclusive.

Competency in loss prevention relies on significant knowledge and understanding of many LP related skills, department and company procedural knowledge and investigative prowess, but most importantly – competency in LP evolves from our understanding and deep-down desire to SUPPORT THE BUSINESS GROWTH and those who manage that business. All too often, we are concerned with the job we do-individually, when we should really be focusing on the job we do to support the money-makers (the sales staff and others in Operations trying to DRIVE THE BUSINESS).

How many of you have looked at and understand your businesses P&L (Profit and Loss) Report (s)? If you haven’t – shame on you. It the best report card and learning tool you have available to you. Partner-up with Operations and Sales Management and identify those areas of the business that YOU could help support.

Think about it... don’t you think you would be received the way you really want to be within your organization, if you committed yourself to supporting them, instead of yourself?

Try it – you’ll like it

Submit your Thought Challenge today!

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Why Leading By Example Isn't Enough   Gandhi taught that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. Said another way, you must offer that which you seek. If you want to build an All-Star team then you must become an All-Star. The first step in leadership is to develop yourself. Learn your job and do it well. Set the example. (It's your obligation)

10 Steps to Getting More Done in Your Day  Every day, your to-do list seems to grow. And in this business climate of information overload and constant interruptions, it has become increasingly difficult to get anything accomplished Here are 10 steps to getting more done in a single day. (Feel accomplished, not frustrated)

8 Steps to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need  So much attention is paid to whether employees are "engaged" in their jobs or not. But managers at all levels need to periodically ask themselves a similar question: Are YOU engaged in managing your employees? The truth is, employees look to their bosses to get what they want and need at work. (Get involved)

Five Way to Become a Better Team Player Almost every employer these days is seeking "good team players" -- but what does that actually mean? The job requirements of today's employees have changed profoundly. Here are five tips from Harvard professor Amy Edmondson on how to make teamwork more successful. (Are you a team player?)

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Tip of the Day
Sponsored by Vector Security

Active listening is absolutely critical if you really expect to influence change or modify behavior. You've got to hear what they're saying before you can plan or expect to do virtually anything. And hearing what they're saying is not simply hearing the words it's all about hearing the meaning and the intentions behind the words. Because words have a tendency to hide the true meanings and beliefs. As truth is often cloaked in humor so is meaning hidden in words. With the number one obstacle being one's self hearing is often drown out by how we want others to view us. So if you can leave your self at the door so to speak you can then begin to focus on hearing what they're saying.

Just a thought,

Gus Downing


Gus Downing

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