Plain and simple, Keith White loves people. As the Division EVP of Loss Prevention and Global Sustainability at Gap Inc., he lives and breathes making a difference in the lives of his team. In our conversation, Keith shares some of his fascinating career journey, how the ideals of inclusion and belonging apply to teamwork, and why we can look at diversity and differences as opportunities for growth and connection. We also discuss the fundamentals of leadership, why he encourages mentorship, how he deals with challenges, and his principles for high performance.
[3:44] It’s not about just managing people towards a goal or expectation, it’s about making sure they are comfortable and that they feel confident with their training. When we take care of the small fundamentals, it helps us create a platform to jump to the bigger things.
[5:04] A servant-minded approach is that they can always come and ask for help or resources.
[5:54] Loss prevention represented the perfect opportunity for Keith to meld together his two interests of law enforcement and business leadership.
[11:28] Leaders must set the tone for inclusion and belonging first before they expect it from their team.
[14:47] Oftentimes we see diversity as what may be taken away, or why we are different, but Keith sees it as an opportunity that can propel us forward.
[22:39] When we are interested in others authentically, it takes us from our differences and puts the focus more on a human-to-human connection.
[32:06] A stretch goal or ‘North Star’ usually makes the annual objectives look much more achievable.
[34:23] There is a huge difference between mentoring and sponsoring. While a mentor gets to know someone and helps them with their skills, a sponsor will advocate for them, and go the extra mile to be in the room fighting for their person.
[39:08] Leaders need to step outside themselves and take a broad look at who could best benefit from sponsorship and those looking for an advocate should also look for someone that feels could really understand their potential and help them grow and go after opportunities.
[41:56] One thing Keith loves about Gap Inc. is how committed they are to supporting communities and shaping leaders of tomorrow.