There Is No ‘I’ In ‘Player’

Everyone is watching to see who the winners will be as the housewares schedule prepares for its annual stretch drive toward the holiday showdown.

And with that, we bring you HomeWorld’s Players issue (August 18, 2014), our annual projection of people to watch in housewares during the next several months.

This year’s HomeWorld Players roster again reads like an all-star team spanning the full scope of the housewares business. There are newly installed leaders of retailing and marketing companies; veteran executives still decisively in their prime; even a once-dominant celebrity chef cooking up a comeback.

New Opportunity

All of this year’s HomeWorld Players find themselves at the crossroads of new opportunity— for better or for worse, because being named to the list by no means guarantees a positive outcome.

As with all such compilations, choosing the final list of 21 Players this year leaves out many who merit the attention.

Many might be wondering, for example, about the absence from the list of recently minted CEOs of Target Corporation (former PepsiCo and Sam’s Club chief Brian Cornell) and Walmart U.S. (former Walmart China chief Greg Foran). Forgive our deadlines, if you will. But, to be sure, Cornell and Foran (and his boss, Doug McMillon, who took the helm of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in February) will be among the most watched and scrutinized executives in this business as they each confront major operational and competitive missteps that have roughed up two of the market’s most powerful and vital mainstays.

Inside The Cauldron

And while we’re on that subject, the heat continues to intensify on Sears Holdings’ Eddie Lampert while the industry awaits his next attempt to salvage Sears and Kmart.

Indeed, there is plenty of pressure on each player in the cauldron of today’s retail marketplace. But that’s the price of power for all those ultimately accountable for the outcomes of their respective organizations.

That said, the all-important obligation of leaders to identify, cultivate and empower effective organizations can be lost when the spotlight falls so brilliantly on those in charge. It is illuminating, however, to hear so many of this year’s HomeWorld Players, while humbly appreciative of the recognition and steadfast in their responsibility, discuss how success is better served by a strong team effort.

On The Line

Indeed, each of the executives profiled in this issue as people to watch get to select their own rosters of players to take the field each day with so much on the line. It will take the effort of considerably more than the 21 leaders on this year’s HomeWorld Players roster to determine progress for their companies and for their industry over the course of the next several months.

With all eyes on the boss, sometimes you can overlook many of the other people separating success from failure. It is important for each of the HomeWorld Players to make sure that doesn’t happen.