The Company Way
I had the good fortune at the beginning of my retail career to work for a large regional discounter, and that experience gave me an outstanding grounding in many core retail fundamentals. For just about every activity, whether in the main office or the DC or in the stores, there was an understood way of how it was to be done. And that’s how you did it.
The Company Way is not just the formalized policies and procedures of a company, but also the accumulated experience and culture that lead to a clear understanding of how things are to be done, and assure that the I’s are getting dotted and the T’s are getting crossed.
Managerial time and attention is a scarce resource. You can’t be spending all of your time putting out fires. There’s got to be an established way of getting the day-in and day-out things done consistently, accurately and completely.
I really learned the importance of The Company Way in my next job. That job took me to a small, family-owned company. Every day, we had to re-invent the wheel because the family had not placed any emphasis on consistent execution, and the company was really struggling as a result. Whatever had to be done, the emphasis was on doing it as quickly as possible, regardless of the consequences. It was a never-ending fire drill. Some of the corners they cut were so big that all that was left was the corner.
When this happens, the core retail fundamentals, essential to consistent execution and long-term financial success, give way to chaos, and the impact reverberates through a company. What should be easy becomes difficult, and what’s difficult becomes impossible, and the impossible, well, that’s what everybody thinks about ever getting things straightened out.
Before long, customers find someplace else to go.
No matter how large or small you are, I strongly recommend that you establish The Company Way. You need to assure that there’s a consistent way of getting things done, a way that assures that all those I’s get dotted and all those T’s get crossed. Then you need to commit yourself and your company to flawless execution.
This commitment to core retail fundamentals and operation excellence assures that all the day-to-day activities can be handled routinely, and frees up managerial time and attention to focus on the road ahead, and those things that only you can do to grow the business.