A little context
As consumers, retail and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) are the industries we are most in contact with. Serving our needs and desires, even those we didn’t know we had. They are where so many traditional entrepreneurs started from, and can include the ‘mum-and-dad stores’ to the giants which hold our household brands.
Retail can be at the tail end of a long complex supply chain. And for FMCG – the clue is in the name. It lives on speed and consumption.
These companies typically seek support because of talent or innovation. They realise that what made them successful in the past will not give them success in the future. And they realise they have to invest in their people. For me, this has included working with the likes of Unilever, Dyson, Greggs, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Argos and Heineken.
Slowing down to speed up
In the journey of transformation, we need to understand change, care about it and be equipped for it. And a large part of that support and change for this industry, is to paradoxically help them to slow down.
- be present and scan the internal and external environment more clearly, to seek out new connections and opportunities and bring in new ways of being and doing that create ripple effects of positive change.
- avoid telling when there is an opportunity to coach to help others engage in their own creativity and ideas.
- see themselves in the system and to make different choices.
- reflect on how their emotions and behaviours impact others, and how they could learn to self-regulate, increase their emotional intelligence, and help others do the same.
- really listen – not just pretend to listen, not just wait to talk, but to really listen to the other, whether a direct report, customer, truck driver, boss, activist, the earth….
- plan and enjoy having more transformational 1:1s with their people rather than being transactional and talking only about the task list ahead.
- have the challenging conversations around under-performance rather than let it slide/fester.
- and vision the futures they want.
A future vision
I see myself as a futures facilitator in the now. Helping leaders visualize the futures they want to co-create, from a place of groundedness. For me, it is like the vision for what writer and speaker B.Lorraine Smith calls industrial healing. I visualize the retail and FMCG industry cultivating a deep reverence for the life-giving force of the earth. Honouring the sacred elements they use to serve human needs in a way that is responsible, devotional and adds to the beauty of the world. Where people in the industry are freely able to organize, self manage, contribute, and evolve with joy.
What is your vision? And are you willing to make it happen?
Like many freelance consultants, the majority of my corporate leadership work has been as an associate or collaborator with a ´bigger entity´. Respecting that the case studies and client relationship belongs with them (In this case Lane4, Impact International and Wild Courage), it is also important for me (and my potential clients) to understand the contribution I have made and can make in service of #peopleandplanet. Hence this piece. Looking forward to our conversation.