In this game, focus is everything. If you have it (and use it!), you win. If you don’t, you get eaten alive by your hungry competitors. It’s just that simple.
So how do you rate? Are you truly focused on what’s important? Or are you actually concentrating on the daily menu of distractions served to you by your boss, your shareholders, your competitors and your staff? Don’t answer too quickly now. Our behaviour speaks much louder than our good intentions, and sometimes one isn’t congruent with the other.
It has been our experience that strong focus isn’t always demonstrated in the corner offices of this industry. We’ve seen too many retailers create elaborate plans at the beginning of the year, only to lose sight of their objectives and wander off their chosen paths. And how many senior management meetings are dominated by discussions (and even passionate arguments) about the most trivial and mundane issues? You guessed it. Too many!
Why does this happen? Do these companies inherently face more day-to-day challenges than their more effectively run counterparts? Are they in dying markets? Are they trying to flaunt inferior products? Nope. There doesn’t seem to be any common thread amongst them, other than their tendency to let normal business issues ‘get in the way’. They simply lack the necessary focus.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying this is a ‘retail problem’. The reality is that companies in every industry face the same challenge. In fact, at one point Ford’s CEO had to chastise his executives for having meetings “just for the sake of having meetings”. Everyone in business today must work diligently to stay focused and on track.
Remember, retail is all about one thing … your customers! You design your stores to attract to them, you hire staff who will appeal to them, you train that staff to deal effectively with them, and you create or buy merchandise they will love. At least this is what you’re supposed to be doing. Are you?
Maybe it’s time for a quick ‘gut check’. Are you focused on what’s really important in this business? Are you spending your time where you should be?
Now let’s take the ultimate focus test. What are your store managers and district managers (and everyone else, for that matter!) doing? Where do you have them spending their time? Are they focused? Are they clearly and diligently driving sales in your stores?
If the answer is yes, congratulations! You’re obviously doing very well. But if you aren’t too sure or the answer is definitely no, here’s your wake up call. It’s time to get everyone back on track before it’s too late!
Start today. Get yourself focused, then concentrate on getting your team back in line. Waste no time on anything else until this is accomplished. Once you’ve regained ‘the art of focus’, remind yourself and your entire staff every day to keep your eyes on the ball. Become a ‘focus fanatic’ and watch your bottom line soar!