How often do we think: “Why can’t we all just get along?”  I hear it among friends and I feel it when I read the paper or watch the news on TV.  It’s human nature to have strong beliefs.  Those very beliefs fuel our passions and are what get us going each day to accomplish goals.

At the same time, they often get in our way.  We become blindsided by our passion to the point where we just can’t see beyond what we think is right.  There’s no better example than our election year and the passions that have been ignited.

Does this come into play within our own work organizations? Absolutely.  As director of member relations, I hear from all sides, each feeling that no one fully understands what their type of business goes through.  Within organizations, different departments feel that those outside of their job role don’t understand what challenges they face each day.

While it is true that we can never fully understand something we haven’t experienced ourselves, I firmly believe that in the long run, we all have common goals.  Working together to achieve those goals and putting individual feelings aside to focus on the end result is what make the difference in success and the real feeling of accomplishment. That is where real passion pays off.

In the retail business, a team is more than just your immediate co-workers. Whether you are a retail store owner, a manufacturer or a sales representative, the team involves everyone.  Wasting energy on pointing fingers is useless. As we approach the 4th quarter, it is imperative that we all work together to make 2016 a fabulous year for our industry.

Look beyond your immediate staff and identify all those that really are needed for your success and work together on the following:

  • Clarify common goals internally with your staff and externally with all those you identified above
  • Outline your plan for the upcoming months and let everyone know what their role is in making the plan work
  • Identify areas that are or may be a problem and work together to find solutions – preferably before the problems arise
  • Stay focused, work together, and handle any of the issues that may arise immediately to get back on track
  • Have fun and say thank you to those that help along the way
  • Watch your business grow and celebrate

What strategies do you use in your business to encourage collaboration and communication?


Sue Warfield is the Director of Member Relations at ASTRA. With more than 30 years of experience in the retail and toy business, Sue offers insight into industry trends and tips and works to connect the retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliates in the specialty toy retailing arena. Contact Sue at