The Lead: Retail Industry Changes, Employee Engagement Software

Changes in the Food Retail Industry

Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market (WFM) allowed them to enter the brick and mortar food retail business through 460 WFM stores. The quick pace of advancing technology and the increasing desire for convenience with online shopping fast-tracks changes in the food retail industry. Industry consolidation is predicted as food retail businesses attempt to contend in the increasingly competitive environment.

Our View: Staying attuned to the macro and micro changes in your industry is crucial to stay ahead of your competition. Adaptability is a key trait of excellent leaders. These leaders anticipate, understand, and act on indicators throughout complex multicompany systems. They are quick to mobilize into action and experiment regularly to go beyond simple forecasting.
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Software to Improve Employee Engagement

A Chicago startup called Zinda has developed software that turns employee engagement survey data from a static annual event to an ongoing conversation. The software gives employees insight into how they drive change by using gamification, including the ability to set personalized goals and track progress in isolation or against other teams in their organization.

Our View: Employee engagement is critical for business success and is driven by actions leaders take every day. The best leaders build employee engagement by fostering a positive team climate, demonstrating trustworthiness, and responding well to individual employee engagement needs. See our research How Great Leaders Drive Results Through Employee Engagement to learn more about specific leadership actions that build employee engagement.

Snapchat Partnering with College Newspapers

Snapchat will be including several college newspapers in Discover, the part of their app reserved for professionally produced videos and news articles. The college newspapers will include ads to generate revenue to be split between Snapchat and the college newspaper.

Our View: Successful business partnerships require leaders that agree on a vision and have the crucial conversations about money. Each leader in the partnership should have a strong understanding of the others’ commitment and leverage compatible skills. Collaboration always works better when the partners have a positive history before forming the partnership.
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Target Announces Lower Prices

After Target Corp. announced on its website that it had “lowered prices on thousands of items,” retailer stocks took a midday dive. Target said the price cuts are an effort to stop customer uncertainty over timing of discounts on certain products, but to many people, the price cuts increased apprehensions about a price war within a lackluster sales environment.

Our View: Develop a strategy for staying cost competitive. Leaders must foreshadow the value proposition for fundamental business changes, including price decreases, to investors and other stakeholders or markets may assume the worst and react unfavorably. Strong leaders communicate the importance of long-term planning as small incremental cost increases can add up to a competitive disadvantage. Some cost-cutting strategies include leveraging economies of scale and scope, boosting relevant technological innovations, and optimizing operating efficiency.
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Disaster Recovery to follow the Destruction of Irma

As relief initiatives are implemented throughout Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction, a quick recovery is met with several challenges. Removing debris from streets, restoring power, and replenishing fuel were just a few of the many tasks required for recovery. The destruction from sustained winds of 120 miles per hour during Irma will undoubtedly take large amounts of time and money to repair. Damages from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma combined could cost the U.S. economy as much as $290 billion.

Our View: Checklists are an invaluable tool for leaders helping their community recover from a catastrophe. Six time-tested steps of a disaster recovery leadership checklist include: focus on pre-existing long-term goals, initiate active engagement and rapid decisions, have a designated relief team in place before the disaster, set immediate goals, clearly communicate overarching mission, and emphasize the overall shared goal.
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