‘We are the band on the Titanic’: The former HR chief at Sears shares how he kept his team focused and motivated during the retailer’s historic implosion

Sears’ former HR chief, Dean Carter, learned firsthand about the power of shifting your perspective when you’re stuck in a bad job or company.He recommends focusing on honing your craft even if the organizational values don’t resonate with you or if you’d rather be working elsewhere.Carter is now a Patagonia executive, where he leads the…

‘We are the band on the Titanic’: The former HR chief at Sears shares how he kept his team focused and motivated during the retailer’s historic implosion

Sears’ former HR chief, Dean Carter, learned firsthand about the power of shifting your perspective when you’re stuck in a bad job or company.He recommends focusing on honing your craft even if the organizational values don’t resonate with you or if you’d rather be working elsewhere.Carter is now a Patagonia executive, where he leads the HR, finance, and legal departments.Click here for more BI Prime stories.The company’s performance had plummeted. Mass layoffs came in waves. The prospect of receiving a raise or a bonus was all but laughable.Sears — once the world’s largest retailer — was heading toward bankruptcy.And as chief human resources officer, Dean Carter was the guy responsible for keeping everyone on staff — especially the HR reps on his team — motivated to continue working.The strategy Carter eventually hit on taught him a powerful career lesson that applies beyond Sears and beyond HR. It’s a lesson that can help any professional feeling unfulfilled in their current role.Carter left Sears in 2015; he now oversees human resources, finance, and legal at Patagonia. He shared this strategy with Business Insider at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect conference, which took place in Dallas in September 2019.”We are the band on the Titanic,” he said.Carter said he advised his team to “play really incredible music,” so that regardless of whether the ship sank, they’d be better musicians afterward.To unpack the metaphor: Focus on honing your craft and you’ll be better prepared for your next career move, whatever that may be. Not to mention, you’ll have a reaso
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