I have many Blake moments to reflect on like so many others.. I learned the value being a humble leader from him. We are ALL here for the customer.
The first time I met Blake I was managing at the Anchorage store.. huge deal when any leaders came to such a remote store- but especially on the day Blake Nordstrom was visiting. We had a store meeting that day, so I was in at 7am to bust freight on my shoe floor, I heard a nearby phone ringing in the distance but I was swamped so I only thought for a second.. it was dark in store but I heard someone answer the phone… Men’s Sportswear, this is Blake… yes he answered it the Nordstrom way! It was a salesperson at another location, needing a check and since no one else was there HE DID THE CHECK, at no time did he even identify himself as Blake Nordstrom.
Being a department manager in Washington means we would hear from people like Blake sometimes about customer issues, and over the years I have gotten several calls from Blake about customer situations, but at no time in any conversation was I ever told that I/ my team was wrong, there were only teaching moments and questions asked, and of course I was always left with ultimately it was my decision on how to proceed with the customer. Yes, we were usually wrong and I would call the customer back in and take care of the problem.
My favorite Blake call was one where he reached out to me about a dear friend of his that I had helped in store who had raved about the service I gave.. Now we all know that’s just what we do here and I was just hustling. I kept having notes left on my desk that Blake Nordstrom had called, which I thought was my team playing jokes. Blake called me at my store a total of three times until he reached me directly to say thank you for taking such good care of our customers. I was stunned that someone at that level would take time out on several occasions until they could say something as simple as thank you. I was humbled, and I learned to never underestimate the value of people just feeling appreciated.
Outsiders just don’t understand how or why our Nordstrom culture is so different, I think it’s small moments that keep us all on the journey and help us to aspire to be that best version of ourselves and always leave it better than we found it.
Thank you for the lessons.