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Written by Andy Tudor, CEO, Clekt
In my previous CIO retail roles, January would typically be the time of year to reflect on how the technology in the business had supported trade through the most significant trade period in the calendar, the “golden quarter”. It was also a time to look forward and consider what needs to be achieved during the remainder of the year to prepare the business for its next series of major trading events.
We can draw parallels with both a retrospective review of performance and a forward-looking view of what needs to be achieved, to athletes, sporting teams and often as individuals who are looking to get in shape after the festive period, or goal setting for the year ahead. Athletes are always assessing their performance and striving to be better at what they do.
The world of business is arguably the same. At this time of year retailers across the globe will be analysing their business performance from the “golden quarter” and will be looking to understand what worked well, what didn’t work well and what they need to do differently or alternatively what they need to Fix, Improve and Transform to become F.I.T. for the next major event on the trading calendar.
There will be a mix of emotions in board rooms. Some will be celebrating huge successes because their golden quarter has outperformed expectation and they are in the enviable position of readying a positive update for their shareholders. Other operating boards will know intuitively that they overindulged in certain areas (maybe they bought too many widgets that haven’t sold, and markdown has now severely dented margin) and consequently their performance is not in line with expectation.
Whatever their trading position, now is the time to construct the right F.I.Tness plan (if you will) – to achieve the desired results.
An Operating Board can be likened to a sports team – each person has a role to play in the team. As head coach the CEO needs to galvanise the potential of the team through clear goal setting and ensure that the team is unified in its direction and each team player has absolute clarity as to what it is that they contribute to the team performance.
Each player on the team also needs to take personal responsibility to reflect on what it is that they need to do in their position to enhance the performance of the team. Now is the time to put the collective energy of the team into establishing the plan to Fix, Improve and Transform the necessary aspects of the team performance to excel at the next trading event.
In order to do so, teams need to be able to interrogate the data they have available to them, and use that data to drive their improvement plan. They set out short term (Fix), medium term (Improve) and long term (Transform) goals based on what the data is saying to them.
Retail businesses should be no different – they are awash with data, often hidden away in a plethora of operational systems and therein lies a huge opportunity for brands to drive business value and enhance team performance. In the same way that an athlete, or an individual, has the same gym equipment available to them – it’s about having the right training plan in place to achieve a different outcome, and understanding why their previous training regime didn’t achieve the desired results.
The best teams are bringing together data points from multiple sources and are creating a single view of truth, an enterprise hub of data that can be accessed by all team players to analyse events across the business to determine how team performance can be improved.
The best teams are listening to what the data is telling them and they focus their energy on implementing the fixes and improvements to gain value rather than using up vital energy wrestling with differing versions of truth.
Are you a head coach or a member of a high performing team that knows they can and should be doing more with data? Do you want to get F.I.T. during 2022 by bringing your data together into a single, trusted source of truth from which business value can be realised quickly?