Resilience, bravery and kindness will define retailers during this crisis

RichardBolandCEOretailTRUST

Written by Richard Boland, Chief Executive of retailTRUST

There has been a lot of interesting analysis of COVID-19 and thoughts on what life post-pandemic will look like for the retail sector.

Michael Jary of OC&C Strategy Consultants and his colleagues have produced some particularly compelling insights, which highlight the three key attributes leaders need to have at this time.

Kindness, especially, will define and differentiate the future purpose of retail organisations and those that lead them.

“It is the retail leaders who ensure that these essential values sit comfortably with kindness that will be remembered.”

Corporate acts of kindness, such as Waitrose creating its Community Fund to give food to the needy, only come to life when local retail leaders take the time and energy to deliver kindness. The store manager of Waitrose’s Mill Hill branch, Martin Wells, his assistant Charlotte Walford and their team have been ensuring this is the case.

 

Not only are they putting food on everyone’s table by running the store, but they’re also ensuring those facing hardship are not forgotten by providing dedicated food parcels for those in need, including our residents at the Mill Hill estate.

Creating societal value (CSV) through community-serving values and common shared values will be central to the post-coronavirus purpose of retail.

As far back as 2012, the renowned economist Peter Drucker was encouraging business leaders to ditch corporate social responsibility (CSR) in favour of CSV. Not enough business leaders heeded his urging. Some did, like Bill and Melinda Gates.

To manage businesses at this time all leaders need to demonstrate resilience and bravery, but it is the retail leaders who ensure that these essential values sit comfortably with kindness that will be remembered.

Now, more than ever, let us all make sure we are as kind to our society and communities as Martin Wells and Charlotte Walford are to theirs in Mill Hill.

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