“Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis), is a system of law that is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal.Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature—both social and personal—and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it” – Wikipedia. It is a natural law that leadership controls culture. We can look at history to watch the rise and fall of companies driven by focused leadership or the lack there of. Either direction this natural law does not care which. We look to our leaders for vision, inspiration and direction. Who are we? What do we stand for? What makes us great? Why are we going to win?
So in retail right now those companies who have the leadership to understand how to create a unified company vision, to inspire passion and innovation and to show the way will survive and thrive. It does not matter if you just implemented an omni-channel solution and can now buy on the web and pick up at the store. It does not matter if you are on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And it certainly does not matter that you have a BIG data warehouse crunching numbers all night trying to figure out how to get a customer to buy something! People make up a company and no matter how you are organized you must make certain your culture is aligned with your vision? Do your employees even know or care about you companies vision? This is core. I have never seen or even spoken with an Amazon employee. The main reason is everything seems to work. But I know even by just using their web site there are people inspired to delight me and my experiences. How do I know this? Because I see it in my experiences and I know from Jeff Bezos down through his entire team everyone is about the customer and their lifetime relationship with Amazon. Will Jeff continue to drive and grow this culture or will it fade away as he works on his space ships? Leadership and culture will make sure Amazon thrives or not even if the government taxes the internet.
People buy from people. Trust is key and your people in your store, call center or even in some back room cubicle doing accounts payable, must be authentic and sincere about their relationship with the customer. You cannot dictate culture. It is derived as an output of leadership and transparency of a shared vision. Now then, you must obviously ensure you have the relevant and valuable products, services, technologies, etc., but without a pervasive and authentic culture producing a memorable customer experience at that critical point of impact you will not get to the top.
What this means is that every company can focus and should focus on the mechanics of execution, but examination and continued reaffirmation of your culture must be your companies number one priority. Your people must be motivated to seek out and solve problems on their own as part of your culture. It all starts at the top. Look there to start!