The Background on Leadership
When you are trying to recruit new employees into a retail company, you will want to evaluate them for their potential to become future managers. Retail organisations must change to become more dynamic, or they will go out of business like many around the world including pop up shops and large retail stores. Here, we share some insights from Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville, who penned a recent piece entitled “The Fundamentals of Leadership Still Haven’t Changed.” And, that’s exactly what they did – they pored over decades of Harvard Business Review articles concerning leadership. They summarised their work by noting how organisations should continue to focus on these six fundamental practices:
uniting people around an exciting, aspirational vision;
building a strategy for achieving the vision by making choices about what to do and what not to do;
attracting and developing the best possible talent to implement the strategy;
relentlessly focusing on results in the context of the strategy;
creating ongoing innovation that will help reinvent the vision and strategy; and
“leading yourself”: knowing and growing yourself so that you can most effectively lead others and carry out these practices.
Retailers should work on addressing these practices. Overlooking these basic practices could mean that a company falls into unhealthy habits, which then become hard to break. We’ve expanded these points below:
#1. Establishing a Vision.
In every organisation, the vision statement is not something to write every few years. A good vision must adapt to fit the people you are leading and the business activities that you currently manage. Every time your organisation enters a new market or shifts business operations, the vision must be adjusted. The truth is that you could invest time in reading books on business strategy and execution, or you could schedule sessions with panels of your employees, suppliers, retailers, customers, and other stakeholders. Many retailers will do this as part of their SWOT analysis. The goal is to identify where the organisation should be strategically in the next year.
#2. Building a Strategy.
If you’re going to develop a business strategy to implement the vision, you must define several key performance indicators that will truly measure whether it has been implemented. You don’t have to use the same indicators year after year. Some organisations choose to focus more on milestones, such as setting targets for the sales volume they want to achieve each quarter. Other organisations establish measurable goals that are more related to their culture, such as employee retention rate or customer satisfaction ratings received from an independent firm. If your company must choose between different indicators, go with the one that accurately quantifies with supporting data the real intent of your retail firm’s vision.
#3. Attracting Top Talent.
This is a tricky one that many organisations recognise is not one of their strengths. They want to get the best talent, but they are competing in a tough market. Some companies trust an outside firm for recruitment activities or at least use them for special hires. A recent study of more than 600,000 researchers, athletes, politicians, and entertainers found that the highest performers are 400 percent more productive than the average ones. One problem could be that organisations lacking turnover must successfully manage more changes in response to the market while motivating their existing staff. Their managers may need to turn average performers into high performers, which is no easy task. This kind of organisation may not get as many new ideas coming in as firms with higher turnover. When hiring for talent and trying to develop leaders amongst the ranks, executives need people with technical expertise and collaborative skills as well as a commitment to the vision and the business strategy.
#4. Focusing on Results and Continuous Improvement.
Once you have selected key performance indicators, you can begin to review how employees influence those indicators. According to Deloitte, many changes in the present work environment make it difficult to implement continuous improvement, including the following: “the growing need for knowledge workers to perform ad hoc work, rapidly evolving manufacturing processes, an increasingly variable workforce, and the potential power of big data.” Managers can also study the processes their team members go through before they achieve results. There are ways to tweak processes so that workers and teams become more effective. If you can implement improvements within twelve months, your team can work smarter to reach year-end goals. Retail employees must know where they fit into continuous improvement and how changes in their workplace will achieve the retailer’s core goals. When you work with a retail recruitment partner, your firm receives expert assistance in hiring people who will help with continuous improvement. For details, please contact us.