Anti-social employees

Anti social social club

My name is Kate and I am what I like to call one of the ‘anti-social employees’.

I love the people I work with; I would consider them work friends – I would sometimes do activities with them outside of working hours. I do not consider them family.

There is a huge focus on work being a social environment, especially in recruitment. Friday beers, team-building exercises, yearly trips skiing/to Ibiza or Dubai, family fun days, bowling, cinema trips, lunches…the list is endless!

I have worked in cultures where there is almost a cult-like ‘we are a family’ ethos, that became toxic for me personally, and didn’t end well. There was a constant pressure to be sociable with colleagues outside of work – it was an expectation – and one which was not discussed in the interview.

I have nothing against people who choose to be social and hang out with their colleagues outside of work, but I think it should be a personal choice. If your personal choice is that you don’t want to be involved in those activities outside of work, nobody has the right to question that!

Things an employer should consider:

An anti-social employee is not necessarily a disengaged employee

Just because someone doesn’t want to neck 10 Stella’s and have a press-up competition with you in All Bar One on a Thursday night, it doesn’t mean they are looking for a new job. There are lots of reasons people may choose not to join – they have responsibilities outside of work, or they don’t drink, or they simply just like to separate their work and home life.

Have a candid conversation

Manager: “We are going to Ibiza this summer because we’ve smashed target, you in?”

Employee “No thanks”

Manager: “Err why not, everyone is going, it’s a free holiday mate, what’s wrong with you?”

This is not a candid conversation, it’s an aggressive one that generally makes someone feel put on the spot and bloody uncomfortable. If you are concerned about the reason that someone isn’t getting involved in activities, why not sit them down and have an informal chat, show compassion and have an open and respectful conversation.

Make incentives inclusive

When putting ideas together for incentives, consider other people’s opinions. Don’t assume everyone wants to go on holiday or go out for a big celebratory meal. It’s good to offer alternatives to make sure everyone is incentivised.

Team holiday to Ibiza? If you don’t fancy it, you can have a holiday voucher to use at your discretion.

Fancy team night out? Or a voucher for your favourite restaurant for you and a partner/friend.

By offering alternatives, you may actually be surprised how many people take up the alternative offer – and has increased productivity as a result of the incentive option.

If someone doesn’t want to come on your trip, don’t publicly call them out and make them feel like a weirdo for not hanging out with you.

Of course, there is always the chance you are all dicks and that person hates you…but that’s unlikely.

 

For all things HR Shared Services or if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our HR Shared Services specialist here.

Why won’t top-performing shared service professionals join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.

 

I might be a woman but treat me like a man!

Treat me like a man

 

Ok yes, probably a bit of a strong title, but this is something that’s winding me up at the moment. Don’t get me wrong I am all for women in leadership and equality in the workplace, but don’t treat me like an expert in my market if you don’t think that, and certainly don’t promote me or hire me if it isn’t on merit alone.

I have always been one of the “boys”, even from a small girl I was often referred to as a “tomboy” or overhear people telling my parents I should have been a boy as I could hold my own in most sports, or get stuck into DIY. Whilst I appreciate that not all 30 something women own a pair of steel cap boots there is a hell of a lot of us who do and don’t find the need to shout about it to be accepted by the menfolk. I have never looked at myself or identified as having either male or female traits, I’m just me and want to be measured on my capabilities, and for the measurement to be done on outcomes and a fair playing field.

I feel that sometimes when we promote women in leadership it can sometimes be seen as a tick box exercise. I would hate to take a job or a position at a company where the fact that I was a woman was seen as a “bonus”. I interviewed for a business whose opening statement was they are seen as a bit of a boy’s club and having a woman on the team would help to break this. Well, no thanks mate!

A part of me wants to move the ‘women in leadership’ promotion on a notch. We all celebrate new and exciting hires for women. We honour all-new women in positions of power and influence, but we now need to follow their story. Let’s give these people a platform to celebrate their continued success, how they moved the business forward – after earning their posts. Let’s not do what so many people do, a patronising pat on the back and then forget about them until they need to highlight some D&I initiative.

Please don’t think I am trying to belittle some of the fantastic work that is going on out there, I’m not. All I ask is that if you are going to bang the women in leadership drum don’t let it be for the wrong reasons. Look at you whole workforce and develop all equally, trust me the cream will rise to the top, but on merit.

If you want to discuss further or for all things HR email me on carly@refind.co.uk.

You can check out our services here.

Trust your gut – is it a thing?

Trust your gut – is it a thing?

How many times have you said, “I should have followed my gut” or “I just had a feeling”? This has happened to me loads in the past, and I don’t understand why I sometimes ignore these feelings and don’t trust my gut. Maybe it’s self-doubt that stops us from following these innate instincts within us?

If you think about it, we are often driven to making decisions based on need and weighing up the pros and cons that will best serve that need. I find that often things that look great on paper and has everyone around you telling you it’s great because it will fix the problem or serve that “need”, just doesn’t feel right. This is a prime example of when you need to trust your gut. It could be with someone we date – the handsome guy who everyone loves but there is something missing. The same happens in the job market – you take the job with the best salary and package but are miserable working there because the culture isn’t right or the travel is too much.

Trusting my gut

Recently, I decided to trust myself and my gut at the ripe old age of 38, I mean if I can’t trust myself by now, when can I?

I found myself back in the job market after opting for redundancy, a situation I have never experienced before. However, for the first time ever I followed my gut throughout the entire process.

Firstly, when I heard the details of my option to stay, I knew it wasn’t right for me, so I took the leap and went for the scary option! I followed this behaviour – which is very unusual for me – by turning down meetings with potential employers because I felt (in my gut) I needed to figure out what I wanted to do.

Taking action

After taking a few weeks off, I started the meetings, coffees and interviews and this is when my gut really came into play.  There were numerous occasions when I walked into an office and felt my heart sink, looking at the sterile, soulless reception and wondering why I was bothering continuing with the meeting. I took action, I stopped any process that didn’t feel right in its tracks. I’m sure some recruiters thought I was mad turning down interviews, especially when I couldn’t give much of a reason except for my gut feeling.

I continued down this path and realised I trusted myself and my capabilities and as soon as I knew what my ‘red lines’ were, I wasn’t going to compromise. I met some great people along the way, but I started to notice my own language and feelings. When giving feedback, I noticed I used language like “yeah they were nice” or “yeah I think we got on” or “ they were alright” and so on. Although I could have worked with most of them, if I’m honest, there was something in my gut that said they just weren’t right for me right now. The “yeah” was always said with an element of hesitation or dismissiveness, which highlighted that gut reaction.

So, my advice to any job hunter or potential employer is if you find yourself using such language or fighting such unexplainable feelings, take note and act. Fear of missing out is a real thing but so is the regret of not listening to our gut. I owe some of this to an old friend of mine who once said, “if it’s not a YES! it’s a no.”

Trust your gut, it knows you better than you know yourself! If you want to discuss further or for all things HR  email me on carly@refind.co.uk.

Want to find out more about us and the team? Click here.

Introducing the newest member of our team

 

We’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of the re:find team: meet Carly O’Connell, our Interim and Executive search specialist.

 

Carly has been working within the HR space for over 12 years. Many of those years focused on partnering clients in their search for exceptional contractors, who can deliver on HR and business transformation projects.

“I operate in a consultative manner and will challenge your requirements, to ensure all solutions are considered. I pride myself on understanding both my client and my candidate equally and delivering the brief in an honest and fun way.”

 

So, Carly, why re:find?

re:find have offered me the opportunity to work with a team who share my values: being honest and helpful, as well as looking at securing long-term genuine relationships, not just short-term wins.

The team at re:find are all experienced in their respective fields and I have spent several years learning about them as recruiters from those in our shared network. I was excited to join the team after hearing such good things about them. Knowing how credible they are, it made sense to me to join and collaborate.

As a seasoned HR recruiter, I know that cultural fit is hugely important. I have operated in many industry sectors and the best results come from matching the person to the culture not just the cv to a tick list.  By really getting to know the person behind the cv and taking the time to allow candidates to get to know me all helps in building a partnership based on honesty.

 

What is it like being a part of team re:find?

On first impressions, re:find are actually what they said they were in my interview process, knowledgeable, creative, credible and fun. This is not the usual stuffy status quo search firm. They allow nuance and obscure requests to be the “norm” and enable people to be genuine and honest to ensure they can truly match a brief.  They have a transparency that invites both candidates and clients to visualise the process of a brief and this is also reflected in the transparency the team give to each other’s campaigns and movements. I have found this to allow real flexible working with my wellbeing and professional needs being considered and met.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of resource that is given to the team to ensure we have an exceptional reach to the very best candidates both on and off the market.

The approach is different: you won’t see us shouting about our vacancies online, or spending hours sifting through job boards. What we do is we establish genuine, long-standing relationships with clients who value us and work in partnership with us, rather than having what is simply a transactional relationship with them.

 

For all thing’s interim management, change and transformation email me on carly@refind.co.uk.

Kingfisher’s struggles shows the pitfalls of nailing international retail

Nailing international retail

International success is one of retail’s holy grails but despite notable wins, Kingfisher’s results today show it is one of the most elusive of prizes. 

As one senior retailer with extensive overseas experience told me, things are always going wrong in at least one important market. He questions whether it is actually possible to be successful on a truly global basis. 

There is plenty of evidence to support that view. It’s not just Kingfisher that has beat a retreat from markets once seen as great opportunities like Russia and China. Tesco has too. And Walmart, which hopes to offload Asda to Sainsbury’s, is another case in point. 

Global ambition is frequently spurred by the idea that there is today an ‘international consumer’ who wants the same whether they live in Swansea or Shanghai. The success of Asos, which describes itself as “a global fashion destination for 20-somethings”, is typically cited as proving that point. 

While such a generation may be nascent, the particularities of place and people still matter hugely, as the travails of B&Q’s owner show. The mixed success so far of the ‘One Kingfisher’ strategy, including greater product in common across its markets, illustrates that starkly. 

Uniting consumers 

Kingfisher can certainly claim some advances from the strategy and it can point, as it did in its results statement, to the fact that “sales of our unified and unique ranges continue to outperform non-unified ranges”. 

However, its overall performance was poor and the architect of the strategy, chief executive Véronique Laury, is to depart when a successor is found. 

As Whitman Howard analyst Tony Shiret noted: “The news that Laury will be leaving the group… effectively means the company is calling time on her ambitious One Kingfisher transformation plan.” 

Whether you put Kingfisher’s difficulties down to unaddressed differences in consumer tastes in various countries, generally tough conditions or the disruptive influence of the gilets jaunes protests in the important French market, the point is that international success is extremely difficult to achieve. 

Gone are the days when giants could simply replicate abroad the model that brought success at home. More than product, what perhaps does unite consumers around the world is shared aspiration and behaviour. 

Everybody wants a better life. Increasingly everybody is conducting more of their lives through smartphones. That’s evident from China to Africa, where pan-African etailer Jumia has grown to the extent that it is planning a Wall Street IPO that could value it at $1bn. 

And while Walmart is scaling back its interest in the UK, it is upping the ante in India, where its $16bn acquisition of Flipkart shows that it is how shoppers buy as much as what they purchase that is seen as most likely to bring future success. 

Bold moves 

That same combination of aspiration, combined with the desire for convenience, speed and value is what has driven the rise of one of the big contemporary international retail success stories – Amazon. 

But the ability to key into unifying behavioural patterns isn’t restricted to the new online giants. Ikea, which itself has had its ups and downs, has perhaps been more forward-looking than its rival Kingfisher. 

The Swedish furniture titan is boldly nailing its colours to the mast of urbanisation, which is occurring across the world, and developing new formats in response. Similarly, Ikea initiatives such as renting furniture are driven in reflection of changes in how people live rather than just product. 

Whether Ikea’s bets pay off remains to be seen, but it looks as if its ideas could tap into transforming times more than some of the shifts Kingfisher has made. 

Ironically, Kingfisher owns one business that does reflect the common desire for speed and convenience – Screwfix, which can offer click and collect in just one minute. 

It’s a business that has been built through intimate customer knowledge that is then executed upon with flair. That’s a foundation stone of retail success anywhere in the world. 

Click here to read the original article from Retail Week. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector. 

Supply chain management: An opportunity for transformation?

The world of retail has always been competitive and fast moving. In the current climate, where few are making sustained headway on sales and margin, agility and demand responsiveness are at an even greater premium. For me, this is about supply chain performance where failure can threaten survival, and excellence can transform a company’s market position and financial performance. 

The term supply chain is now as ubiquitous in both the press and government pronouncements. However, the interpretation and scope of supply chain management by people and organisations is varied. Recent research by Cranfield, led by Professor Richard Wilding, found that the senior supply chain manager in around 70% of companies had a place on the divisional or operating board. This is a position that has emerged from nothing in only the last ten years. However, the same research showed that the scope of responsibility varied greatly across the 238 manufacturing companies surveyed.  

What is supply chain management?

The essence of supply chain thinking is about improving the end-to-end processes within a business and with its suppliers and customers, to maximise sales and margin potential.  So the reported fragmentation of responsibility is interesting. For me, supply chain management is about the integration of planning with sourcing, making and delivering.  While the research was carried out mainly with manufacturers, the parallels with retail are strong, with supply chain now having a place on the board, but directors’ responsibilities are not consistently framed across the retail sector. 

Should supply chain calls the shots?

No, this doesn’t mean that supply chain people should call the shots across the business; that would drive a left brain and relatively uncreative retail world and spell potential disaster. From my experience, boards generally see supply chain as a source of risk and disruption. The well-catalogued failures over the years have taken their toll and supply chain operations are perceived as having a negative potential. Suppliers, warehouse operations and systems, parcel operators and others are all seen as potential pitfalls and points of cost with no upside at all. 

For most retailers the planning, buying and merchandising functions (right brained and creative) are not perceived as organised as ‘supply chain’ functions. The paradox is that the financial and reputational risk from lost sales, markdowns and disposals from the planning of flow control processes are worth typically more than double the entire cost of the physical distribution operations. 

How do retailers get it right?

So retailers are damned if they don’t get the operations right, but they are doubly damned if their planning of buying and distribution is lacking. Buying and merchandising is central to retail supply chain management and the real challenge is to manage the tensions between left and right brain thinking, to drive real customer value. By doing this well retailers could see a 5% improvement in like-for-likes and 2% to 3% in net margin. Most CEO’s would kill for that right now and they need to think about their organisational dynamics to get a new balance. 

The multichannel challenge

Multichannel is coming up on the rails so fast it will soon be the outright winner; the problem is that multichannel risks are driving in cost and margin erosion faster than the growth. Right now this is still ‘land grab’ time. Right brains have control and are rushing headlong – and while pursuit of growth is not wrong, it should be challenged if it comes at too great a cost. The fulfilment cost options need to be clearly understood and Boards will need a tighter grasp of the new operating system in order to make balanced long term choices.  Again a consistent offer, well presented and executed by a trusted brand, at a cost that does not erode margin too fast, will be the future. Successful multichannel retailers will be judged by how little they have eroded value, as they have embraced the new normal of e-retailing. 

So what about the future?

Going forward, Boards will need to recognise these twin realities and put in place processes to bring both the left and right brain tensions to their table, well informed by real cost and net margin data. Only then will they make decisions that can protect the business from major surprises. It is both essential for survival and the opportunity for transformation. 

Click here to read the original article from Retail Week. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector. 

Simplifying the ‘Change Journey’ – can a Change Advisory Board help?

Simplifying he change journey

A change-advisory board (CAB) delivers support to a change-management team by approving requested changes, assisting in the assessment and prioritisation of changes.   A CAB is an integral part of a defined change-management process designed to balance the need for change with the need to minimise inherent risks. 

The CAB members should selectively be chosen to ensure that the requested changes are thoroughly checked and assessed from both a technical and business perspective. The considered change will dictate the required personnel to convene in a CAB meeting.  

A CAB offers multiple perspectives necessary to ensure proper decision-making. For example, a decision made solely by IT may fail to recognise the concerns of accounting. The CAB is tasked with reviewing and prioritising requested changes, monitoring the change process and providing managerial feedback. 

How do you manage a CAB effectively? 

Here are four good tips to running a CAB: 

1. Get the agenda out early and encourage discussions before the CAB. 
Don’t wait until the last minute to publish the upcoming CAB schedule. One of the frustrating things about attending CABs is that attendees often don’t really know much about the changes until they get to the meeting. Publish the list early so attendees have a chance to get up to speed on the proposed changes. This way, they can get with change requestors and sponsors before the meeting to get a clear understanding of what is proposed. If you don’t, then your CAB will be overtaken with efforts to solve any personal issues people have with proposed changes. 

2. DECISION MAKERS attend the CAB. 
The CAB members should be selected based on their knowledge and meaningful input to the meeting. What happens when CAB invitees can’t make it and send their designated hitters? Simple: ensure that then people attending have the authority to speak on the behalf of the person they are sitting in for. There’s nothing more frustrating than discussing a change and a key role says “I don’t think I can speak on that, I’ll have to get approval from my boss.” If they can’t speak on behalf of their boss, then they don’t need to be there. You can either clarify this need with the attendees before the meeting, or reschedule the discussion to a later CAB when the key personnel can attend. 

3. Know your decision thresholds. 
Do not attempt to approve a change that is bigger than you. Follow your organisation’s governance guidelines and determine the rules to decision making. This means that you should know exactly what thresholds (pound amount, risk level, impact, urgency, etc.) you are capable of approving. 

4. Careful not to get into “rubber stamping.” 

Many CABs get overwhelmed with complex and numerous changes. The pressures of getting through these changes during a meeting are enormous. This often results in sloppy approvals that may not receive proper assessment – and can cause incidents once deployed. Ensure that every change request receives the proper attention by scheduling enough time to discuss them. Also, be careful not to blindly approve a request simply based on who is requesting it. I remember a situation where a CAB approved a change simply based on who was requesting it. This “rubber stamp” approval resulted in a poorly managed deployment that caused several hours of downtime. The lesson learned here is that it doesn’t matter who is asking, every change must have the proper amount of analysis and scrutiny. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector. 

Mindset vs skillset: redefining retail talent for the digital age

Mindset vs skillset: redefining retail talent for the digital age

Today more than ever, chairs and chief executives are seeking our advice about structuring their organisations to compete in the digital age and creating the right leadership model for the future

Increasingly it’s about behaviours, not just skills and experience. 

Historically, retail has been an industry driven by ruthless efficiency, both at head office and in stores, and typically chief exec succession
candidates came from buying and merchandising or operations.  

Now the most likely contenders are a new breed of data-driven, customer-centric marketeers. 

Disrupt or be disrupted 

Companies need to continuously evolve and structures must be more fluid, moving from functions to centres of excellence, and from siloed departments to collaborative teams working together to fulfil the customer mission. 

In many ways mindset has become more important than skillset; creating a learning organisation which is flexible and responsive and able to deal with ambiguity.  

This is where the leadership style of the chief executive is critical. 

Retail is hardly the career of choice for millennials, unless it’s a sexy pureplay, and the old ‘command and control’ approach has to give way to one that is visionary and strategic.  

Pace and agility are key to success, and empowerment and engagement of the internal as well as the external customer is a must. 

Structures need to be flatter and more inclusive, with a sense of purpose and fulfilment that goes beyond work/life balance to truly win hearts and minds. 

Structure diversity 

If the business model is omnichannel, with the majority of sales through stores, then an understanding of the operational disciplines in the form of a really strong chief operating officer may be needed.  

We will have to take a more open approach to organisation design structures.  

Above all, tomorrow’s chief executive must be a visionary with high EQ, who is really good at putting together a team that is collegiate and includes all the skills and talents to win in an increasingly complex and demanding world. 

The message is clear – the route to the top in retail is changing and so must the leadership style.  

And an increasingly fickle and demanding workforce is more likely to identify with a brand that champions collaboration, inclusion and engagement as its core values.  

 
Click here to read the original article from Retail Week. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector. 

Preparing for the future of retail: getting to know your people

Preparing for the future of retail

HR professionals gathered recently to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by HR reporting and analysis in retail. 
 

Starting point 

The starting point to more effectively understand your people, is to first decide on the data you want to collect, and how the data will be used and analysed. Simply collecting as much data as possible and then attempting to make sense of it is typically a much less successful approach. 

At Travelex, one of the main focuses was on staff retention and the team wanted to better understand how to retain staff. 

Managers were given access to the people data through the Workday system, and Travelex is now seeing changes in behaviours based on a better understanding of that data. If the data highlights an employee is potentially at risk of leaving, managers can now intervene earlier to find out why and potentially take actions to prevent this from happening. 

Implementing new HR technology 

One of the challenges that Travelex faced during implementation was changing the culture across its business in the UK and internationally to adapt to a self-service HR system. To overcome this, the HR team worked closely with the IT department and regional managers to implement the changes. 

The company also focused on local needs, adapting its strategy based on regional and cultural differences internationally. There were also challenges around how the HR system was viewed by employees, and the HR team worked to show employees the value of using the system. 

During the implementation process, it was useful for Travelex to focus on collecting and understanding only a selected set of data points that could be easily analysed and understood, rather than attempting to understand a huge amount of data. The selected data points were easy for managers to dissect and understand in monthly review meetings with their teams. 

The right tools for self-service 

The discussion then moved to giving staff the tools to use the self-service systems in store, and one of the challenges that came up was around connectivity. 

In-store Wi-Fi is as useful for staff to carry out self-service HR functions as it is for consumers to enhance their experience, and definitely something worth investing in for retailers. 

Workday provides extensive self-service capabilities that Travelex staff use on their own mobile devices regardless of their location. 

Valued and effective 

For HR systems to be useful and adopted by employees, they need to be easy to use and not require much training. One of the greatest challenges faced by several retailers in the room was the outdated and difficult-to-use HR systems in place in their businesses. 

Pulling data together manually, having to create reports from scratch and dealing with dissatisfied staff who find the old HR system confusing or difficult to use were common complaints. Aside from changing systems, though, most retailers acknowledged they often needed to do the best they could with what they had available to them. 

Retailers also debate how they can measure the pound value of HR functions for board members, and agreed this is one area where data can help. If people KPIs are agreed at the outset, then showing how those improved and what this means for the business is one way to prove HR’s pound value. It also helps the HR team if they can articulate how using the HR systems will make the life of employees themselves easier – it’s not just about making life easier for HR. 

Looking to the future 

Looking to the future of more effective HCM systems that help HR, employees and managers, the discussion turned again to data and how to use it most effectively. 

Performance reviews online are difficult to get right, as it’s hard to replicate the richness of one-to-one conversations. On a system these conversations become very black and white. It ends up just being a score on a screen. 

Some advice for all retail HR professionals who want to use data to better understand their people: decide what data you’re going to collect and then what you want to understand from that. Unless you’re clear on that, you won’t be able to make better decisions for your employees. 

 
 
Click here to read the original article from Retail Week. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector. 

Transformation takes time

Transformation takes time

Retailers should look on today’s tough market as an opportunity.  The current tough trading conditions and the structural changes to the market give retailers a rare opportunity to establish a winning position for many years to come. 

The squeeze on consumer purchasing power will be a fact of life for some time. But of more importance is the growth of the internet, already influencing a high proportion of transactions, whether in store or online. In some product categories, the internet is rapidly taking over from stores as the main sales channel. 

Tougher times encourage customers to look harder for value, whether that be price, service, design, availability or convenience. This accelerates the growth of new distribution channels and changes to the supply chain as the new technology enables better value to be delivered to customers. 

At the same time cost inflation continues to exceed price inflation, intensifying the profit squeeze. Some retailers have already announced space reduction programmes. 

Inevitably, some retailers now considered invincible will be overtaken by rivals, better attuned to today’s customers expectations, meeting them and earning profits. Some will disappear. Others will survive, shadows of their former selves. Some manufacturers are already trying to bypass retailers completely. And some competitors from other countries can supply from abroad. 

To steer the path to the sunny uplands, three parallel paths have to be followed: 

  • Deal with the short term. In tough markets many retailers increase prices, impose cost reductions that damage the brand and increase promotional activity. This might fool investors but not the customer. Far better to focus on the core brand values, reinforce them and deliver on exceptional execution. Then watch your competitors become weaker. 
  • Define a clear vision of what is needed to be a winner in the next decade and communicate it. Ensure this vision encompasses best practice worldwide, including new and non-traditional potential competitors. Invest in the new skills and resources needed to successfully innovate. Act early. 
  • Provide the transformational leadership needed to overcome the natural inertia and resistance to change. Colleagues want certainty and often find change threatening. Investors want short-term profits and need convincing about the investment. And the media will be a voice for the doubters and vested interests. Innovations need to be protected and nurtured while those dealing with the short term need to feel valued and part of the future. 

Successful transformations are challenging and take time. Many more fail than succeed. It is too easy for management to manage short-term profits, talk about tactical innovations and achieve the incentive plan targets, hoping that the tipping point will not incur on their watch. Remain in denial too long and it will be too late. 

The leadership need to have the foresight to see the opportunities early and the motivation, incentive and skill to manage a successful transformation. 

Leading colleagues, investors and other stakeholders through the transition and the associated learning process is a tough challenge but immensely satisfying. 

 
Click here to read the original article from Retail Week. 

To discuss this article further, you can email me on danny@refind.co.uk

re:find help businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change.  Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists. 

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