Boxwood: Retailers Opting for "Total Football" Leadership Strategy

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Leaders in the retail and FMCG sectors are surprising the market with a fundamental shift of leadership strategy. “Total Football” for the boardroom requires a new way of thinking, high levels of adaptability from senior staff and a whole new skillset, which together are putting a strain on getting the right talent.

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It’s not just about winning the Premiership, you are competing in the Champions League, you must be one fantastic team playing total football

Leaders in the retail and FMCG sectors are surprising the market with a fundamental shift of leadership strategy. “Total Football” for the boardroom requires a new way of thinking, high levels of adaptability from senior staff and a whole new skillset, which together are putting a strain on getting the right talent.

CEOs understand that they, and their star players, need to recognise the big picture first and not let their functional agenda get in the way of the greater good of the company. This is a difficult strategic swing to achieve, and leaders are feeling the pressure as they struggle to change entrenched behaviours while assembling the right team around them.

This major survey and research initiative by Boxwood, the award winning management consultancy and Planet Retail, the leading retail analysts, reveals that to confront the competitive challenges facing retail businesses in the downturn, CEOs are rewriting the strategic rulebook.

‘You are competing on a global stage now with extraordinarily capable people. It’s not just about winning the Premiership, you are competing in the Champions League, playing against the AC Milans and Real Madrids of the world – you must be one fantastic team playing total football.’
Alex Gourlay, CEO Health & Beauty, Boots

The research shows that this new approach means a hefty premium on finding and keeping the best people. It’s also essential that new people coming in to an organisation can make a difference immediately – action and results are of the essence and there is no longer time for people to ‘grow into’ the job.

‘What’s important is that we put people in here who could hit the ground running.’ – Ian McLeod, Managing Director Coles

Commenting on the findings, Matt Clark Director of Consumer at Boxwood said: “The idea of total football in a business context is an interesting one, particularly in this environment. While leaders need a ruthless focus on their core business areas, they also need to have a strong overview of the bigger picture to ensure all parts of the organisation, and all staff, are performing to the best of their ability. The only way to achieve this successfully is by having a strong, adaptable senior management team supporting the vision of the CEO. It really is all about the people, get that right, with roles and individual values aligned with the culture of the organisation and a business can achieve the necessary performance boost as people will be willing to go the extra mile.”

For further information and to download the full report Winning – Leading Successful Business Transformation please visit http://www.boxwood.com/news/latest_thinking/

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