When our local grocery store added a health clinic, I thought it was a bad idea. Their latest foray into branded space-sharing has me even more baffled. The first thing you see when you walk into the grocer isn’t an aisle of food, rather it is a mini-Claire’s boutique shop. (Claire’s is a teen-focused jewelry and accessory store.)

Why do racks of earrings belong in the grocery? I am guessing it is because they represent potential profit, either through rent or sales, but otherwise I see no coherent tie to their mission or brand.

If the grocery store wanted to bring in an outside vendor, wouldn’t it make more sense to partner with a cooking store like Williams-Sonoma to sell items people might use to prepare the food the grocer sells? Or display a corner of beautiful linens and tablecloths to set the table for a bountiful feast? Or work with a bookstore to provide a cookbook nook where recipes could be highlighted and the necessary items to prepare them could be pre-packaged to make purchases easy?

I am all for partnerships, but I like them much more when they are aligned, not just exploited.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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