Former Kroger leader Bill Sheridan shares his secrets for success.
Story by Eddy Hoyle
Bill Sheridan had a stellar 35-year career with the Kroger Company’s Columbus Division, managing their pharmacies. His decision early on to attend Ohio State University to become a pharmacist broke away from his family’s long history as funeral directors. “My father supported my decision because he wanted me to love what I do and to be happy,” he said.
He loved his work as a pharmacist, and after a few years he reluctantly accepted an administrative role. He found a niche where his skills as an effective and results-driven leader enabled him to excel and grow. When he moved into administration, there were only three stores in his region and only 10 pharmacies companywide. Eventually, that grew to where he was responsible for 220 stores with 600 pharmacists. Overall, Kroger had 2,000 pharmacies nationwide. Sheridan guided the company in acquiring local pharmacy competitors and folding them into Kroger grocery stores.
Sheridan also taught advanced pharmacy practice at Ohio State University and the University of Toledo.
He received several awards throughout his career, including the Ohio State College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 and the Ohio Pharmacist Association Beal Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession of Pharmacy in 2015. He is most proud of two national honors he received after he retired: The Next Generation Pharmacist, Lifetime Leadership of the Year Award 2015; and the Pharmacy Management Excellence Award 2016 from the American Pharmacists Association.
Sheridan and his wife, Bonnie, live in Long Cove Club and enjoy playing golf, kayaking, cycling and spending time with their three children and five grandchildren. Bill and Bonnie are members of Saint Andrew by-the-Sea Church on Hilton Head Island. He is on Long Cove’s Board of Directors and is a former board member of Memory Matters. Here are his tips for success.
Keys to Success
1. Job satisfaction. Sheridan said one should find a job you really want. “If it’s not what you really want to do, you cut your chances for success. You need to be satisfied, and it’s not all about the money. If you enjoy your job, it won’t feel like work so success comes faster,” he explained. “Don’t see it as an hourly job – it’s a profession, so take on responsibility.”
2. Believe in your team. “Surround yourself with great people and let them do their work,” Sheridan said. “Believe in them. Let them think, express their ideas and their opinions.” Everyone on the team is relevant and important, so trust them.
3. Stop and listen. “Stop and listen to all opinions, and you will find out there are many ways to tackle an opportunity. More often than not, there is a better way to handle things than you may have originally thought. Be able to consider even the craziest ideas — they may be good.”
4. Evaluate change. “Don’t always accept change for the sake of change,” he said. “Make sure it’s been thought through and if needed, it will have a better outcome. Ask why it is a good idea and why it could make things work better. When others win, you win – and that’s a positive thing for the whole team. You need to work with your people, thus people do not work for you. Create a team environment.”
5. Family first. It’s easy to forget the importance of family as one focuses on success. “Family comes first. I believe in that wholeheartedly. It’s got to be right at home for it to be right at work. What are you really committed to? When you leave work, it should stay at work. Enjoy life and put family first.” LL