This week we spoke with Mirela Pajazetovic, Director of Retail at Alo Yoga:
What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
I would say that one of my biggest learning moments in my career was that I am not guaranteed anything by any company that is not one of my own. I have to ensure that I do my part to show value, contribute to the progress and success of that brand and evolve through the experience. I think a common misconception is that if we show up, do our work and put time in with a brand that it automatically guarantees us a seat at the table which is not always the case. I think it’s critical to ensure that you are multi faceted, flexible and change course when the direction of that company demands. In addition, you should never take anything personal. Sometimes our experiences with companies are short lived for a reason or we are redirected to another opportunity. All time invested is an opportunity to learn, grow and further advance as an individual.
I think I'm ready to advance/next steps in my career, but my boss doesn't agree. What now?
Ask for honest feedback, ways to improve and their support on how to get to that next level. It’s a great quality when someone is ambitious and driven but it’s also important to be realistic on timeframe, experience needed for the next level and at times this is dependent on the trajectory of the business. I think that great leaders are able to identify a skill set and passion in someone to further keep them engaged, create a collaborative and inclusive environment yet challenging. This way you can feel that you are learning and growing. Leaders also need to make sure they can give direct, transparent feedback to their employees on their areas of opportunities but also support them on the steps to get there.
What holds companies back from getting the best talent?
There are a variety of factors that can influence this. Companies leading the way in the industry have identified that our consumer needs and employee needs are much different than they used to be 5-10 years ago. These companies will always be more attractive to potential employees. Companies that also stand for certain values and have a strong sense of mission tend to attract the best talent. The key is that all the resources are not only invested in messaging the mission to the consumers yet are also directed towards internal talent staying engaged, further connecting to the brand’s mission and vision, creating an inclusive environment where one can grow, learn and also make mistakes. Working in an environment where one can’t fail or is scared to take chances stifles creativity and creates a fear based environment. Companies spend so much money on talent management due to not investing resources on what actually keeps their employees engaged, appreciated and acknowledged. Retention of talent adds significantly more value to any brand than creating a "revolving door" type of environment.
Tell me about a time when your mood altered your performance:
Mood dictates it all and we are in control of this. It’s so critical to have a good morning routine to set the tone for the day. As we navigate the hectic day to day hustle and try to keep up with everything, it’s important to have check in moments on how you are presenting yourself. As leaders, we have an obligation to show up for our teams, to be that inspiration and motivation when they need it. We all will have challenging days but it’s important to keep your game face on or know when to take a moment to bounce back. I have had moments where I didn’t always manage my mood in the best way and it’s important to own those moments. We are all human and awareness, acknowledgement along with taking steps to improve will get a lot of respect from those around you.