Blog: From the Beginning…

As we embark on the final stages of The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow, I am delighted to be writing the first blog post in what I envisage will become an exciting series of insights as our research develops.

I’m often asked where the idea for the creation of the DNA series of leadership studies began. When I met Ian McGarrigle, the Founder and Chair of the World Retail Congress we discovered a shared passion for retail leadership and its development in this ever changing retail environment. Ian invited me to attend 2015’s World Retail Congress in Rome. What I found interesting there was the number of presentations sharing a common theme of retail transformation. However, all focused on the customer journey, technology and the digital elements, but what really fascinated me was the absence of discussion around the leadership elements needed to address these issues. I hastily scribbled on the Congress brochure, “If retailers are undergoing the most significant period of transformation in the sector’s history, then what does this mean for leaders? Does the leadership need to change and, if so, how?”

This was the seed for our inaugural DNA study: The DNA of the Future Retail CEO which assessed the major challenges facing the retail sector, including digital sales, changing customer behaviour, advances in technology, globalisation, data-driven decision making and the changing high street. Launched at the 2016 World Retail Congress in Dubai, it proved to be a great success and since then we have worked with a number of retail boards to discuss their succession planning and organisational design. What has transpired from those conversations is an appetite and interest to understand and examine the transformation journey which most retailers are embarking on.

This then is the nucleus for our next study in the DNA series: The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow, the second one we have had the pleasure of working on with the World Retail Congress. This year we are delighted to be partnering with insight giants, Planet Retail, and the retail and consumer innovation hub, TrueStart. This gives increased depth to our study, The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrows, widening our research and analytical resources, and an industry reach that spans from global retail giants to start-up market disruptors.

The support we have received from the global retailing community has been fantastic, with many of the world’s most senior retail professionals working with us to identify, define and prioritise the key criteria.  Our  Advisory Board includes: Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair of Debenhams plc; Lord Stuart Rose, Chair of Ocado Group plc; Christine Cross, Non-Executive Director of Coca Cola European Partners plc and Paul R Charron, Administrative Board Member of Escada, to name a few.

Despite the challenges faced by such an ambitious project, for me being able to contribute to the wider conversation within the retail sector is immensely satisfying. Of course, the hard work is not over yet, and during the next six months, as we prepare for our April launch date at The World Retail Congress 2017, we look forward to sharing our insights with you.

For all of those individuals and organisations who have already contributed to this project, and to those who support us in the future, I extend my sincere thanks. I look forward to sharing with you our finished product, a study that provides the blueprint to succeeding in the retail landscape of tomorrow.

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