I Don’t Care What You Say, It’s What You Do That Counts!

The world is full of good intentions and rationalisations. Lets face it we could all be accused of liking the sound of our own voices a bit too much at times. Myself included. But in the interests of giving you something to read, I’ll not take that to heart and press on.

My father taught me a long time ago that it was nice for you to say the right thing, but more important to do it. That actions speak louder than words. The opposite of the political world. In retail we have proven time and time again that there is a massive chasm between what a customer says and how they actually behave. We’ve developed methodologies and strategies to capitalise on customer behaviour rather than customer rhetoric.

But the same is also true of us as retail leaders and of our staff and how they perform.

One of the symptoms of the modern management disease is that we place so much emphasis on talking things to death and ensuring they are politically correct. Yet retail is actually a game of constant action. For 3,000 years the principles of retail have remained the same. Successful retail businesses do while others talk.

Great retail leaders don’t tell their staff what they are going to do or speak about how important they are to the business, they show them. They believe that spin and presentation does not replace the power of action.

Retail is fluid and its movement needs to be fast. Just like the military, there is time to consider and debate and time to act. And speed is everything. The well oiled machine where “unconscious competence” wins. Staff shouldn’t have to second-guess your intentions they should just get caught up in what you are doing. Staff shouldn’t be offering excuses they should be demonstrating what they have learned through execution.

We do it with customers externally and we should apply the same thought process internally.

Right now every retailer needs fast, disciplined action. The well oiled machine where drills and doing turn it into a self-sharpening tool – a business that improves through doing.

Next time you go to make a staff announcement check your intention. Is it a fluffy staff morale speech more about your ego than a reinforcement of action? Will you deliver 110% on what you are saying? Does it even announce, deliver or support action?

Next time you review a staff member or look at under-performance in the organisation think about how much time is spent justifying or excusing instead of focus on what actions need to be taken with haste.

The mood of the times, for every stakeholder group is unanimous. Many would argue the boom times made us forget that it is and always will be what makes the difference in retail. “I don’t care what you say, it’s what you do that counts”.