Brian Walker

It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain. You’ve done it once you can do it again. Whatever you’ve done don’t’ try to explain. It’s a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain.

Simon Philip Thorne / Thomas Edet Asido Jones

Strategy, the art and science of forward planning, differentiating, building sustainability into the business model.

The space of innovation, coupled with the craft of resilient attention to the cues and trends of any given market and its consumers both present and future.

No work is indeed more important for a retailer than at the moment. Tactical improvement, camouflaging as a strategy will just give us what we had before, perhaps faster or in some other operational measure, however in the new norm, not enough to deliver a true strategic framework.

What ultimately determines whether a strategy succeeds above all else? Is it people, products, place or process? These all contribute of course however the dominant part that is seldom assessed is actually team member personality. Actually, the personality of the individual senior team, or more particularly their intrinsic motivation towards risk and reward, momentum and change itself.

As Susan McDonald, Leadership HQ. shares with us.

As leaders, we are constantly driving and facilitating change, yet research in this area has demonstrated that 70% of change initiatives fail. Why? How can we make change easier and more successful? The neuroscience of change and understanding how our brains function is vital to managing and coping with change.

The part of the brain that is responsible for thinking and high-order processing (the prefrontal cortex) requires a lot more energy to function than does the part of the brain that deals with emotion (the limbic system). That means it’s a lot harder for us to cope with change than to return to our tried and true habits.

We know that often our behaviour is controlled by emotion rather than common sense. What that tells us is that the limbic system in the brain has some control over the information that is passed onto the cortex, which controls our decision-making system.

In other words, our thoughts and actions are coloured or skewed by the emotion that we are feeling. You’ve heard of rose-coloured glasses, the phenomenon that makes certain things look better than they really are. That’s an example of the limbic system influencing our beliefs and perceptions.

Or perhaps the adage that we, generally speaking, avoid pain and seek pleasure is never truer than in the topic of change leadership and the communication of strategy.

Strategy and its communication and enrolment to teams can only really be successful by understanding the individual personality profiles of each leader and by skilfully letting the limbic system work for you by creating positives around change, especially to reinforce behaviour and thought changes.

A strategy communication that doesn’t understand these key Limbic insights, that is not recognising the personality and resultant individual drivers, and that generally talks of pain avoidance as a way forward, might be a magnificent piece of strategic architecture, accepted however not adopted.

One personality within your senior team wants security, another evidence, another the bottom line and their age and demographics play little or no part at all,

Sign off on strategy is perfunctionary unless sign-in of personality is in place. Pleasure rather than pain is above all the human pursuit.

Brian Walker is the Founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group, a retail advisory and consultancy group and the Australian elected partner member of the global retail expert’s alliance Ebeltoft Group.

Have a look at previous articles written by the experts Retail Doctor Group:

  1. What does the post Covid-19 retail landscape look like?
  2. It’s time to fall in love with your brand again
  3. The Post COVID World – why physical shopping rules