Don’t blame the referee; let’s concentrate on the game plan

Study the truly great business performers in retail and other sectors and you see some startlingly simple things in common to their success.

  • A strong focus on the end game
  • Passionate engaged cultures (the internal brand)
  • A fundamental belief
  • Speed to market
  • Agility in decision-making
  • Investment in continuously improving whilst focusing with laser-like intensity on all the ‘basics’ of their business

Building great independent systems and frameworks across all cross-channel operational processes are the foundation of every great and ‘fit’ company. Their profit multiples are always substantially higher than those of companies which don’t reinvest in themselves to align strategy and processes to ensure market fitness.

Conversely, many less successful businesses tend to blame external factors.

Have you ever noticed how most events that impact on our business fitness happen within our control and not the other way around?

There are great parallels between the way we conduct business and the functioning of an elite sports team. For example, how many times do we see sportspeople blame the referee for a poor decision which is perceived to have cost the game. (The recent Manly result being a somewhat unusual exception to this rule!)

In businesses, some of the less fit have tended to blame economic circumstances – such as the recent debate around GST on overseas purchases – on their unfit business performance.

How we deal with the ‘in the moment’ situations, whilst positioning ourselves for the inevitable change in the cycle in business is key to our business fitness. We know that only the truly focused and ‘fit’ businesses play the game of business as full-on participants, knowing that winning is within their power and is the ultimate goal.

So to be a higher performing team and not blame the referee it’s vital to have:

  • A highly developed game plan: what are your three to five year goals for the business?
  • Skilful and committed players – now is the time to increase focus on training, measuring and lifting the bar.
  • Be brilliant in the basics of delivering great value through outstanding customer service.
  • Invest in sound counsel to provide clarity and a challenging perspective.
  • Stay true to what you are great at and let the other “opportunities” pass on by.
  • Keep your business offer innovative and fresh if you want to motivate new customers to do business with you.

Most events that impact our business fitness happen within our control and not the other way around. ‘Blaming the referee’ is not the language of fit businesses. Focus on what you can control!

Happy ‘fit’ retailing.

Brian Walker is the managing director of Australasia’s leading retail consultancy, Retail Doctor Group.


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