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Ep. 9: Steve Sadove, Former CEO of Saks Fifth Ave & Board Member, Colgate-Palmolive

By Exact Media

In our latest podcast, Ray Cao spoke with Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue and Board Member, Colgate-Palmolive. Sadove started his career at General Foods, became the CEO of Clairol (which he helped sell to P&G), and then took over as CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue which was sold to HBC just a few years later. Here are our top three favorite highlights: On failure. That was one of the great lessons I learned... if you're a baseball player and you hit 333, you're in the Hall of Fame. So you can't hit 100%, and part of the cultural lessons that I learned and I still teach people is… "It's better to try and fail than not try at all." And that you can't have a culture where people get shot if they stick their head up… We want our people who are trying things all the time and learning and saying, "Ah that worked and that one didn't work." And that you have a culture that you support that where people feel that they can do it. On leadership. I firmly believe that the role of a leader, that there are two things that they do. One is making sure that everyone's around, aligned around the strategic direction of a company. And the other is around building and establishing and reinforcing a culture that you want. And if you do the two of those things, well, then you can drive some real results. On the changing career path. Careers are so different today. If you think about it, I spent 40 some years and worked in three companies. My kids, my son's probably been in as many companies in five years as I was in 47 years, and that's what's true with most millennials… Don’t think [that] the job that you're getting [as] your first job is going to be your career. It's going to be one of many. And so you want to be doing things that you enjoy doing, working with people you enjoy, doing things where you're going to learn a lot because as early stages it's about learning and formation.

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