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Making the Business Case for Inspiration

NACS Show opening general speaker Kevin Paul Scott said it's time for c-store retailers to innovate the employee experience.
Danielle Romano
Kevin Paul Scott speaking at NACS 2023

ATLANTA — What if in business ROI no longer stood for return on investment, but instead return on inspiration?

That is the question Kevin Paul Scott, author and co-founder of Atlanta-based leadership consultancy ADDO Worldwide, poised to NACS Show attendees during the opening general session entitled "The Case for Inspiration."

"The convenience store industry has been innovating at the forecourt and in stores on shelves for years, but it's time to innovate when it comes to our people, and to do that we need to inspire them," Scott said.

[Read more: NACS Show Reflects a Changing Industry]

ADDO, which is Latin for "inspire," is a business founded in the intersection of customer experience and employee experience. In a period of time when labor continues to be one of the biggest constraints on not only the convenience channel but across all retail sectors, it makes business sense that if retailers create an inspiring environment in their business, they will win the hearts of customers and, in return, their share of wallet. But, as Scott emphasized, it begins with inspiring employees.

"The employee experience impacts the customer experience. Brands that earn employee loyalty earn customer loyalty. The greatest leaders don't manufacture inspiration; they foster it, find it and fuel it," he said. "People have a preconceived notion of what inspiration looks like. Often, it looks like doing something you wouldn't otherwise do if it were not for the greater good."

Scott provided attendees with a framework to take back to their organizations to inspire employees:

  1. Create an inspiring environment — "When your purpose is clear, the mundane becomes meaningful."
  2. Find inspiration — "Uncover stories of inspiration. Connect people to your purpose. When you're 'others-focused,' it's easier to be inspired."
  3. Fuel inspiration — "It is our job to fuel, figuratively and literally, the fire. [Convenience stores] play an essential role, and you have to remind people of that. We're a 24/7/365 business that impacts employees, not just customers."

'Winning Together'

Scott's business case for inspiration tied into the theme of this year's NACS Show: "Winning Together."

"The idea of winning [as part of the theme] focuses on this idea of how you find solutions that help you win shopping trips and customer loyalty, winning more than just the transaction. Because in the convenience industry, there's a big difference between a transaction and a customer," Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard told Convenience Store News. "But winning isn't intended to be viewed as a zero-sum game, where you win and everyone else loses. The together part kicks in because our industry shares more than any other industry. In these education sessions, people share their best ideas with each other and that doesn't happen in a whole lot of other businesses."

More than 430,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 1,300 exhibitors greeted attendees of the 2023 NACS Show, which returned to Atlanta for four days of networking, education sessions and product exhibits from Oct. 3-6.

"We've held a NACS annual meeting since our founding in 1961 and added a trade show element in 1973. In 1993, we started calling it the NACS Show, so 2023 is essentially the 30th anniversary of the expo in its current form," Lenard said.

Expo attendees will discover products and services from vendors representing six categories: Merchandise; Candy & Snacks; Technology; Facility Development & Store Operations; Fuel Equipment & Services; and Food Equipment & Foodservice Programs.

Other highlights include:

  • A massive kickoff party hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC;
  • Upwards of 200 new exhibitors; and
  • More than 45 education sessions.
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