Management Memos

Making Measurably More For You Since 1985

October 2016

Women Managers Improve Business

Having women involved in the most senior management roles is good for business, yielding better cash flow, and generating higher returns.

Woman management performance

These conclusions come from a report recently commissioned by Credit Suisse, which identified 27,000 senior managers at more than 3,000 companies around the world.

Where the number of women senior managers was 25% of the total management team, returns were 22.8% annualised average over five years.

By comparison, companies with a participation of 50% women in senior roles, achieved significantly more, at 28.76% annualised average return

The results reflect a worldwide pattern in corporate decision making. SME operators, though, are usually hard pressed to find enough management resources.

Regrettably, available women are not engaged to the fullest in SME management, most often being relegated to “doing the books”, instead of joining in with the decisions on key  management issues.

Involving women more in SME operating decisions and management implementation is an opportunity for all businesses to greatly improve commercial performance.


Australia Needs Better Managers

It's almost unknown for a business manager to explain their company's poor performance as anything other than someone else's fault. It’s the banks, or the government, or the economy that are the problem holding back the business

Most managers are so busy fixing problems they find easy to fix that they have no time to grapple with more important problems they're not sure how to fix.

While we worry about the era of low productivity and low growth our economy, a paper by Nicholas Bloom and others, from Stanford University, finds that well-managed firms perform better than their peers and make a greater contribution to a nation's productivity.

Deloitte Access concludes from other research that fast-growing businesses "take an attitude that success is in their hands and nobody else's.”

"High-growth firms perceive issues they cannot control – such as economic conditions and competition – as less of a barrier to success than [do] low-growth firms, placing greater concern on issues they can control, such as recruitment and cash flow …”

So "businesses' own decisions and strategies drive their success”.

‘The state of the economy and industry trends are clearly important factors affecting business profitability, but business success can come during any market conditions, and opportunities can arise in any industry, provided there's the right leadership to seize potential."

(This is a highly edited excerpt from an article by Ross Gittins, Economics Editor for the SMH. See the original article at this link, subject to its availability on the source website. It appeared September18, 2016)


More About Building a Retail EcoSystem

Last month we brought you an introduction to the idea of a “retail ecosystem”.  It’s radical, and it’s new. Well, actually it’s not. But it is!

If you’ve been reading about the ‘retail ecosystem,’ concept, you may think it’s all about technology.

In larger stores, the idea certainly has a technological element. That brings shoppers into a more intimate and personalised retail experience in a store that is otherwise large and impersonal.

Smaller retailers don’t have to do that, or go that far, to make sure that the retail experience is personal and intimate.

Don’t dismiss this idea as faddish - another ‘tag’ someone wants to use for something that’s tried and trusted. It is way more than that! Paradoxically, though, it does traverse ground you have been over a hundred times.

A retail EcoSystem store

A most extraordinary Retail EcoSystem.
Not like yours will be, hey?


More About Building a Retail EcoSystem (continued)

The old, tried, and true principles here are about taking your shopping audience on a journey to purchase. That is the unshakeable core of any retailing.

The retail ecosystem is about ensuring that your customer is wrapped in your retail offer from beginning to end.

For you the question is “Where is the beginning?” We’ll answer that a little later.

A better question is “What is your retail offer?” Seriously, how can you be sure that your customers are wrapped in your offer, if you can’t describe that offer in a few pithy words?

To help you ‘break out of the box’ and ‘think outside the square’, think about a this London  retail experience. What is this ‘retail offer’?

This is a US beauty retailer, Benefit, which has now concluded its five-month pop-up concept in London. The fun and experimental retailer holds a strong personality at its core, and its retail movements evolve naturally from this. The latest physical expression of their brand appeared in the form of a pop-up ‘Benefit Boat’ on the River Thames in London.

More of a retail EcoSystem store

From blow-drys to burlesque, the unique pop-up store hosted a series of events over five months including yoga, comedy nights, afternoon teas and more, along with its never-ending list of beauty treatments.

Here, the store is using ‘ecosystem thinking’. It is emphasising the importance of selling ‘the experience’ over the retailer’s usual focus of selling ‘units’.

That is the issue for you, isn’t it? You have to sell ‘units’. You have to move product. You have to move volume. Isn’t it hard to focus on the customer’s feelings?

Well now, there is a real point here. Recently we did a case study where the need to keep the business running, and keep it profitable, led the owner to establish at least one operating practice that guaranteed the lowest possible profit.

See the Pool Shop Inc case study

What was done there was not done out of 'cussedness' or ignorance. It happened because there was not enough attention paid to the customer's feelings.

It was a very clear case of ‘taking a practical approach to the facts of business’. In fact, it actually meant getting a poorer customer response and a lower profit, than taking the opposite course - being concerned about how the customer feels.

The impact of this is very significant.

Where it is commonplace to talk about ‘customer service’, ‘putting the customer first’, and ‘providing a first-class customer experience', in many organisations, big and small, this turns out to be only lip-service. It isn’t customer service, and it certainly isn’t maximising profits.

Confidently creating your retail ecosystem in this way is certainly a risk. When you do it well, and combine it with a strong brand personality, you can expect to see growth in customer loyalty and brand awareness.

At the end of it all, though, you can expect to see a significant impact on future sales - but a massive impact on profitability.

Isn’t that where you want to be?


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Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.


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