Regarding Retail Leadership I recall another conversation I had with Ingvar Kamprad way back in 1993. I was leading a team of 400 sales professionals at IKEA Brent Park. Brent was the top selling store in the world for IKEA at that time. I was actively complaining about the large number of out-of-stock items that we were experiencing. Especially some of the best sellers. I was making the excuse that we were losing sales due to this. One day we were standing in the massive warehouse area of the store. Ingvar looked up in the air at the racking which was full of stock. He looked at me and said, “it doesn’t look like you are short of things to sell Cliff. Your job is to sell what you do have, and do the best job you can in doing that.”.
He called it ‘sales steering’. Basically steering the customer to buy what you do have. And to not even show what you don’t have. Ingvar said to me: “It’s your job to do this. And it’s someone else’s job to get the supply on the other products right. And in that you have to trust. Focus on what you can influence and don’t waste time on the things that you personally can’t change. Trust the other people, who’s responsibility it is to look after the supply, to do their job.”.
From that point on I always looked at what was under my control. And although I always made the other folks in the business aware of any issues I was experiencing, I did that with a call or a mail. And then just got back onto exactly what I could control.
It’s a great way to work. When I go in consulting with retailers I see so much complaining. People at all levels throwing colleagues under the bus for what they’ve not done, should have done etc. It’s just not the way to work as a leader. And the more of us that focus on getting our own scope of works right, the better things will get for sure. For everyone!
So if we get right down to it. As a leader in Retail, you have a store. You have a team. You have some stock. And no doubt you have a bunch of guidelines for merchandising, training, operations and marketing. Your job is to get the store looking it’s best, the team working their best and maximize the sales with serving the traffic that comes into your store in the best possible way. It is all about Leadership Development. The best tools to use are the ones that give you and your team an advantage in looking after the customer. And ‘sales steering’ to what you do have!
That’s it! That’s what you’re there for, and if you do a good job with it you’ll get a bigger store, or an area manager role, or a head office role, or even up to being the CEO one day, and if you remember that it’s all about empowering the store to do these simple things, then I’m sure you’ll do an incredible job! #makeretailsimpleagain
Note: Learn more about The Circle of Influence? This book from Stephen R. Covey might be something for you!