Lessons Learned from an Amazing Leader
Saturday’s Memorial service for Blake was a wonderful gift from the Nordstrom family. It truly was a celebration of a life well lived, and gave us all the opportunity to move forward in our grief by focusing on all the goodness of his life. Not just professionally but even more importantly, family, friends and causes he cared about.
I had the pleasure of working for and with Blake for almost 30 of my 42 years at Nordstrom. I learned so much from him. One of my first encounters with his unique style of “managing through questions” was as his Regional HRD when he was the Regional RM. I stopped by his office to see him and he asked “What do you think ___ (a Store Manager) would say about…..?” While I started to tell him what I thought, he proceeded to pick up the phone and call the Store Manager directly. “I’m here with Molly Goe and she thinks you….” Two Lessons learned quickly- One, it was an important subject that I should have discussed with that SM and known how she felt, and two, best not to guess when Blake asks a question- you either know or you need to find out.
I have to admit I was nervous to get my first “formal” review from Blake. Back then we had one on ones with discussion about your strengths and opportunities. I was surprised when he listed one of my opportunities as “Work Life Balance.” This from the man that seemed to work all the time? But he was serious, my husband and I had recently adopted our baby girl, and he talked to me about the value of planning “date nights”. So not what I expected from him, but so appreciated as I was struggling with how to do it all and by that conversation he showed so much concern for the “whole” me and by stressing the importance of family, not just work, he gave me permission to work on that balance.
I was lucky to have had many opportunities to learn from Blake over the years as well as to continue to be the recipient of his care and concern during major milestones in my life. What an amazing man, I will miss him so much.