Guest Column | January 6, 2017

Challenge Your Leaders: Why Your Retail Organization — And Your Job — Depend On It


By Ken Silay, Partner, Innovator’s Equation

It's time to challenge retail leadership. We talk about new customer experiences, equipped associates, and commerce anywhere, anytime. The truth is retail is run by old thinking and old metrics. The new entrepreneurial thinking wants to create a company from an idea, sell it, and move on. That difference between the old and new thinking in business creates a gap in retail leadership that will continue to get wider. When the time comes to change a C-level executive, instead of fresh leadership thinking, we import the same stale thinking from another retail executive and hope that some new face will make a difference. Then, that new leader replaces the executive team with trusted subordinates that will comfortably support and mimic the leader’s thought processes. In other words, the same old retail thinking exists — just a new place to do it.

The Amazon Effect

Ask yourself, why is Amazon winning?  Answer: Because they can, and because they choose to.

Did they bring in crusty old retail veterans?  Review the management team credentials. You will be hard-pressed to find a retail background among the team.

Do they run from a challenge?  For instance, accurate, and in some cases, minute-to-minute inventory is a key to maintaining customer confidence whether the sale is an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar sale. RFID can make that happen, but companies are reluctant to attack the challenge of cost and implementation.