Articles

Reconnecting The Business.

Like the next guy, I love watching talented athletes. We all have our heroes and when you see a team of them assembled on the paddock, you immediately dream of the ‘match of the century’ unfolding before your eyes. But it never ceases to amaze us all how often this doesn’t materialize. More often than not, the team full of stars get beaten by a great team of unknowns working in harmony.

Modern businesses suffer from the same malaise.

We have developed into streams of specialisation with specific expertise in linear pockets. A team full of stars. But what we have lost sight of in many instances in retail, is that the business is driven on collaboration that manifests in productivity where the customer buys.

Long before tertiary education businesses turned hard earned knowledge into text book learning they could charge for, great retailers learned through experience in the job and through that experience developed unconscious competence about what it took to make a retail business really work to its ultimate potential. Making the team fire, as one was an essential part of that.

Today the Sir Phillip Greene’s of this world are as rare as the Sir Alex Fergusons. Great leaders who know how to create an integrated team – a team that knows how to work with one another to win.

As a retail consultant assisting retail business teams improve the way they do things, a large part of what I do involves re-connecting parts of the business so that implementation not only happens better but in some cases happens at all.

Retail needs a re-think. We have pushed linear learning and linear development too far in retail businesses and we need to re-capture collaboration, cross-discipline connection and the elimination of turf wars and silo thinking.

Being the best is not about achieving benchmarks in isolation. It is about a business performing in a context. Most of all it is about the selling environment and how effective and how competitive that is in producing profitable sales on an ongoing basis.

Being fluid, flexible and fleet of foot – the skills needed to beat competitors – is only possible with the best teamwork. More often than not the retailer who moves decisively and quickly to exploit a customer opportunity will smash the one that takes too much time ensuring that whatever they do is perfect in every way.

Strategy may be a fascist discipline but implementation is collaborative. Think through your structure and the processes you use to go to market. If they don’t promote the benefits of great teamwork, you are underperforming.