Lotte Department Store employees get a pep talk

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Lotte Department Store employees get a pep talk

Mugunghwa Hall in Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong, central Seoul, was crowded with about 120 executives and employees, including the retailer’s new president, Lee Won-joon. All eyes were on Manager Kim Sung-keun of the Goyang Wonders, an independent baseball team.

According to the retailer owned by Lotte Group, Kim, who started out as a coach for the OB Bears in 1984, was invited to give an hourlong lecture on proper management and leadership that helps employees reach their potential.

In baseball, Kim is known as someone who can make impossible things possible. In 1996, the Ssangbangwool Raiders under Kim finished second in their league after years of finishing way behind others. Also, from 2007 to 2010, the SK Wyverns under Kim played in the Korea Series.

“We invited Coach Kim to learn his spirit of fighting [challenges] openly and squarely and focusing on the basics and principles,” said an official from Lotte Department Store. “There has been much emphasis within the company on managing the right way based on ethics, morality and principle.”

Kim said, “My motto is that [for a baseball] player, there is only one ball and there’s no second ball, which means there’s no second chance. You also need to be prepared to seize an opportunity when it comes to you. There can be no miracle for someone who’s unprepared.”

The lecture comes at a time when the image of Lotte Department Store has been tainted by allegations that its former president, Shin Heon, received bribes from suppliers when he was in charge of Lotte Homeshopping. Shin resigned and he was replaced by Lee, who had headed Lotte Duty Free. Since being named president last month, Lee has emphasized that his employees promote business in a fair manner based on principles and stressed a clean corporate culture.

Lotte Department Store said it plans to invite experts from various fields including fashion and communication to share management ideas with their employees and executives. Department stores have struggled to find new sources of profits as consumers take advantage of discount outlets and online shopping.

BY lee eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]


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