A Conversation With…
Bill Titus – Relationships and People Development are Key to LP Success
From dropping out of high school to his tenure as Vice President of Loss Prevention and Safety for the Sears Holding Company, Bill Titus has enjoyed a long and successful career while playing a major role in helping shape the LP industry.
His unorthodox road to his current position began when he dropped out of high school to join the military. Upon his discharge, he enrolled in community college and then transferred to USC where he received a degree in management and accounting. He then held a succession of increasingly responsible LP positions at Montgomery Wards and TJ Max before landing at the Sears Holding Company eight and a half years ago where he now currently oversees all LP, security and safety programs for Sears, K-Mart and other Sears holding companies.
Although he has responsibility for LP at thousands of stores across the nation, one of Bill’s primary responsibilities is developing people, and, as result of his efforts, his LP team is one of the top in the industry. He believes that having the right individuals is the key to a successful LP program. His philosophy is “if you do the people piece right, the rest of it comes together.” To accomplish this, much of his time is spent in selecting and mentoring the right people for his team. “We are careful to invite those who match our team,” he said. “Then we work to develop these employees and map challenging career paths.”
He looks for individuals who are self-motivated, inquisitive, problem solvers and great developers of people and partnerships as the key competencies. When someone joins his team, he develops a career track for that person. This individual track is based on a thorough evaluation of their skill sets with the goals of enhancing their strong areas and developing the weak ones. Top performers are slated for advanced leadership development to further enhance skills. His vision is for his team to excel in forging partnerships, building synergies and developing better ways of doing things.
He has found the greatest challenges now facing retail LP are a direct result of today’s economy. The nation’s current financial situation has resulted in a change of consumer behavior in their purchases, which has put pressure on available funds for LP capital and staffing. An additional consequence of the economy has been an increase in organized retail crime (OCR), which becomes very challenging to combat with decreased budgets. An additional challenge facing the LP industry is the rapid advance of technology, particularly in finding ways to utilize POS data streams in relation to EAS and CCTV.
Bill’s dedication to the LP industry does not stop at the Sears Holding Company. Believing that there is strength in partnerships, he is active in the NRF LP Advisory Council, serving most recently as chairman. He is also chair of the LP Research Council. His goal is to help grow the knowledge of and best practices in the LP industry.
Although Bill has a solid commitment to his work, he also maintains an unshakable dedication to his family, assuring that they receive the necessary attention and nurturing like his employees. He proudly points to how the many years in executive LP positions has shown him the priorities of life and work and how to appropriately balance both.
Bill’s commitment to his job, the LP industry and his family is a model that should serve as a template for others.