What plagues retail today?
Following on from my article about the Four types of ‘pseudo’ leadership and how to avoid them there is also a deep-rooted unwillingness or incompetence to counteract bygone inconsistencies. An unresolved discord that continues to have a negative impact on the industry. Many of which fall within three key components.
Perhaps retail’s biggest failure is in attracting leaders and sustaining their clout and savvy. Granted that compensation does not drive passion, but it secures it. It is time to get rid of the constraints and move toward a competitive wage if there is to be any hope of permanent access to the specialist. Current market-related earnings attract the mediocre and inexperienced because the rewards fall well below commercial equivalencies. What is baffling is why retail doesn’t get the concept that ‘you get what you pay for’ and that so few grasps the notion they lose those whom they can ill afford to?
Seasoned retailers cost the company nothing. They are a critical resource with an unmatched return on investment with the exponential ability to increase sales, reduce expenses and above all mentor the next generation.
A delusion that conformity removes the quirks of the individual and in doing so neglects to recognise each team has its own strengths. Some bizarre premise that outlets must all be identical regardless of social consideration, local trading patterns and demographics.
Consumers demand theatre and expect to be entertained before patronizing an establishment. So why would businesses persist in removing the natural flair of instinctive store cultures so often mentored by shop floor leadership and engaged team members? In reality, the prevalent compliant tick-the-box outlook is little more than a lazy micromanagement tool. Designed to fend off tough choices brought about by interaction and collaboration of teams in the know – the front line.
Emotional intelligence is being aware of and perceptive to people’s emotions and a readiness to promote enhanced performance. Retail is no exception and should be defined by the three masts of information, teamwork, and mutual respect.
In a vocation, of diminishing skill sets and with an upsurge in antisocial hours, an example of poor E.I. is the view of relocatable flexibility which is not just archaic but is absurd. Apart from a poor succession plan what are the benefits of uprooting families from their home and neighbourhood? How often do we see happy management teams who live within the communities in which they serve that helps endear brand support and a feel of a pay off for all.
With such a dearth of consummate talent, the onus rests with the employer to revise and adapt to prevailing conditions with a sense of urgency. There is nothing more damaging when there is a reluctance by accomplished traders to step up or budding leaders to grow.
The solutions are simple but the behavioural change is difficult. Be sure to embrace identity and set goals of meaningful inclusion. Secure the expert through an energised income strategy. Commit to developing the unique and optimise mentorship above theoretical guidance. Whilst resisting the solicitation of automation to replace the human touch. Retail will always be about people, for the people and by the people.