Roy's Blog: Leadership

March 18, 2019

How can small & independent retailers survive? — infographic

We have seen a huge upheaval in retail in the last decade or so. The advent of the Internet means that consumers are the winner with so much choice from literally all over the world to spend their disposable income.

People don’t need to leave their homes to buy any product they desire so obviously this presents a huge challenge to all retailers, no matter their size.

Price too has become a battleground because Internet-only retailers don’t have the extra costs associated with having a physical store, store staff and other related overheads.

They can be leaner models and some then choose to pass those savings onto their customers. Offline and brick and mortar retailers are fighting back but we’ve seen many retailers fail as they simply cannot battle against the lower cost position of the online retail world.

So what about the independent or smaller retailer who doesn’t have the backing of a board, that doesn’t have systems in place to become leaner but do feel their brick and mortar offering has lots to give to consumers in terms of experience and choice?
Do they have a future or are they doomed to fail in the rising challenge of their online only counterparts?

The answer is no, they shouldn’t fail but they definitely need to be really strategic in fighting back. They need to understand those tools and skills available to them to grow and increase their retail business and make their store stand out to customers.

The guys from Storetraffic put this infographic below together that outlines everything you need to know about this niche.

The struggles, the opportunities, they’re all explained in this graphic to hopefully arm these smaller / independent retailers with the tools and knowledge they need to progress and grow.

Check out the full infographic below…

  • Posted 3.18.19 at 04:26 am by Roy Osing
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March 15, 2019

How to boost productivity in your team — guest post

Is your team’s productivity lagging? Today, it seems like there’s always a new distraction rearing its ugly head. With so many things nagging on your team’s energy, it’s easy to feel like you’re in need of a productivity boost.

Luckily, there are several unique ways you can recharge your employee’s batteries to get more done. In this day and age, businesses are more competitive than ever.
If you’re not producing more, faster, it’s impossible to get ahead. At the same time, you don’t want to risk overworking your employees and leading to employee burnout.

Boost your team productivity with these tips below.

Image via Pexels

Start with Team Building Exercise

Is your team really working together? Thanks to technology, teams today are sometimes disconnected. While it might seem silly, team building exercises are highly effective when done correctly.
These games and activities aren’t just for high school students, they’re for all types of teams that need to learn to work together at a higher level.

As an organization, team building is one of the most important things you can invest in for your workers. While team building gets a bad rap, it’s necessary for boosting the bottom line by increasing employee engagement. Before you focus on productivity, build your team.

Use Collaboration Tools

How many of your workers’ tasks actually are collaborative? When people have to go through unnecessary, extra steps to keep everyone up-to-date on progress, this slows everyone down.
Unfortunately, too many teams today haven’t jumped on the bandwagon with the latest collaborative tools.

From time management apps like Trello to time trackers like Clockspot, it’s time to join the 21st century of time management.
These tools are built around collaboration. That means less time will be spent checking in on progress and more time can be spent actually getting work done.

Create a Positive Environment

Nobody wants to work in a place that isn’t positive. If your work environment isn’t optimized for productivity, you might notice your employees’ paces slowing down. The physical environment of the office actually has a big impact on how your employees feel each day.

For example, light-filled, natural spaces that have both private and public collaborative settings are ideal for increasing productivity. When offices are too open, they’re full of distractions.
If they’re too closed off, they reduce the feeling of togetherness. It’s best to strike a balance, when possible, to create a positive environment that works for all team members. 

Image via Pexels

Allow Teams to Work

Poor management often gets in the way of productivity. While it might seem like leaders need to take a hands-on approach, realize that sometimes too much involvement is a bad thing.
Nobody wants to be micro-managed by the boss, so know when it’s time to stand back.

Allowing your team to take responsibility for their own projects will go a long way towards making your workers stronger. Not only will they be more likely to work at a higher level, but they’ll learn valuable skills that will push them further.

Reward Productivity

Rewards work. Top employees want to be rewarded for their hard work. Recognition shows that you care about employee’s success, and you see their productivity.
When accomplishments aren’t rewarded, employees begin to lose their own value. They feel like just another number in the company, not an actual human being.

Bring humanity into your workspace by showing appreciation for those who get things done. Try to keep these congratulations in the open and avoid virtual congratulations. Nothing can replace that face-to-face interaction of getting a job-well-done notice from your leaders.

Work Smarter Not Harder

In this day and age, it’s time to get serious about productivity. If your team is in need of a real boost, these tips above should do the trick. There are no magic tricks to producing a stronger team. It all starts with a strong foundation of collaboration and positivity.

From there, it’s up to you to keep the momentum going. Continue to allow teams some autonomy over their own decisions and reward top performers. Your employee productivity will take off in no time.

Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media.

Smith Willas

  • Posted 3.15.19 at 03:49 am by Roy Osing
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March 11, 2019

What is better than creating something epic and new?

Innovation is always associated with coming up with new solutions to existing problems; the definition of the word confirms it: innovation is described as “the introduction of something new; a new idea, method, or device”.

If you are successful creating and introducing newness, you are a respected member of the creativity crowd, and the rewards follow your achievements.
Adding stuff and consuming additional resources gets the attention, and enhancing value is defined by introducing new products and services and adding new technical functionality.
And in fact many organizations reinforce this bias by having entire teams dedicated to new product and service development.

The flip side of the coin, however, “gets no respect”. This is the side of the coin that seeks to removes stuff — takes stuff away, cuts, and deletes. The flip side of the coin has DNA based on the need to subtract not add.

We should start to recognize the importance of deleting the no-longer-relevant by changing the old school definition of innovation.

New school innovation

New school innovation — ”The introduction of something new or the elimination of something deemed no longer relevant; a new or obsolete idea, method, or device.”

This new definition of innovation is based on the principle of creating additional value in whatever fashion is appropriate at the time.

And deleting the no-longer-relevant adds HUGE value and yet it’s not on a par with its add-the-new cousin.

Take a look at your own personal life. How much junk do you have in your closet? How much stuff do you have that you never use but can’t part with? And how good do you feel — and how much more effective are you at using the space you have available — when you have a purge day and open up all that room that you can use for today’s prized possessions?

Managers of irrelevance

In organizations, procedures, practices, systems, products and services all fall victim sooner or later to irrelevance. Markets change, customer needs change and priorities change, leaving irrelevance in their wake.
The problem is no one pays attention to this lack of usefulness because the people performing the irrelevant tasks never pony up.
They are the LAST people who will admit that what they are doing should be axed.

And leadership doesn’t spot irrelevance easily because they have more lofty strategic goals to pursue. It’s no wonder that a small group of employees maintaining a system that has lost its usefulness is missed while leadership is paying attention to guiding the actions necessary to complete a strategic partnership transaction or enter a new market.

If only organizations could delete the stuff they no longer need and observe the added value they could produce.

In government, absolutely ZERO resources are assigned to mining out the no-longer-needed. When’s the last time you remember a social program of any sort being phased out? Talk about health care — budgets go up and feed a system that needs deletion and resurrection.

We no longer have the luxury to treat the new as an add-on. We can’t afford it. The new must ride on the back of the delete function.
Delete something and THEN add something new. We need the capability to create space for the new to enter; without deletion it can’t happen.


We need to start a “cut the crap” movement — #CutTheCRAP — to seek out and cut things no longer relevant to our personal lives, organizations and governments.

The environment will benefit because the crap that no longer serves a useful purpose is identified and recycled; customers benefit because their service providers are more efficient and able to offer new services and potentially lower prices; and citizens benefit because governments are able to deliver new services more efficiently and hold taxes down as much as possible.


The point is, we need a relentless focus on hitting the delete button in our world of limited resources. Consumption must be linked with (and in many cases dependant on) deletion — delete something if you want to earn the right to consume something else.

But as long as sexy and success is associated with #AddIT it won’t happen.

In organizations we need to make hitting the delete button a top priority and assign a new role — Chief CRAP Officer (CCO) — to expunge the stuff throughout the organization that sucks resources and detracts from doing the new progressive initiatives dictated by their strategic game plan.

The CCO’s performance plan should be based on the value created from the savings realized by removing no-longer-relevant activities and hence the capability created to take on new initiatives without adding resources to do so.
In addition to a focus on new product development, the CCO should be held accountable for the old product deletion role.
How many sku’s do organizations offer with minimal sales? These are obvious candidates for #DeleteIT.

Innovation and creativity should no longer only be associated with #AddIT activities in a world that is relentlessly and inexorably moving towards a lack of resources.
“Give up to get” must find a way into our teachings if we are to avoid the consequences of too much output and too little capacity.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.11.19 at 04:02 am by Roy Osing
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February 25, 2019

5 courageous demands to make of your leader

To move beyond your current role requires a personal development plan; it’s not likely that serendipity will play a significant role in advancing our careers.
It’s all about positioning yourself to take advantage of either an opportunity that comes up or one that you create because of proactive moves you make.

Step up and demand

Either way, there are a few key things you should discuss with your leader to enable you to capitalize on your potential and prepare you for further career success.
After all, they are supposed to be there to help you get both your performance and developmental needs met, so be courageous and tell them what they are even if they don’t ask.

Most leaders don’t ask “How can I help?”, they just expect you to do the job without their intervention.
But don’t play that game. It’s your career and life and you have every right to tell your boss what you need to improve your performance and to prepare you to make even greater contributions to the organization.


Ask your leader:

To give you more work

To delegate more tasks to do within your current role.
Tell them that you have the capacity to take on more (even if you are not sure you have) and are prepared to do so.

I’m sure there is a project on the shelf not being actioned that interests you or a deliverable you think should be worked on that would help the organization; show initiative ask if you can take it on even if you put yourself at risk in the process.

My personal style was always to define the job I was in by expanding the scope of deliverables I produced. I rarely accepted the boundaries of the role I was given because I considered them too restrictive.
Most people need defined boundaries for them to do their job; I never did.

In a marketing product manager role, for example, I asked to assume the task of defining and implementing the customer service support requirements necessary to sustain a product in the field. In the process, I not only was able to deliver a high performing product that met its sales targets, I also learned a great deal about the service world which prepared me for a career path in operations.


To define your line of sight

Effective execution of the strategic game plan of the organization requires that each function and individual know exactly what their role is; the game plan must be translated in very granulated form down to what each person needs to do in their job to ensure the plan is implemented the way it was intended.

For example, if the game plan was to beat the competition by outperforming them on serving customers, everyone needs to understand what they need to do to help the organization deliver miraculous service moments.
When line of sight is foggy and people don’t know their role, they invent what they think it should be and dysfunction sets in. There is no consistency in what people do and results are all over the map.

So, ask your boss to sit down with you and map what the game plan of the organization specifically means to YOU. What do you need to do differently? Agreement on this is critical to ensure performance expectations are the same between boss and employee and to move the game plan forward.

To make introductions for you

Career success depends heavily on the network of people you know; not just the number of them but their quality in terms of their relevance to your chosen career path.
It’s cool to be introduced to a VP Finance but it would be even more cool if you were headed to a marketing role to meet a few VPs of Marketing.

In addition, see if you can get introduced to people who you have something in common with. Do your homework and ask for introductions to specific people.
But don’t expect your leader to commit to you and provide you with quality referrals immediately. They need to get to know you and trust your capabilities. This takes time so be prepared to make the investment and that you deliver beyond their expectations.

What new stuff you should learn

Career growth requires constant learning and leaders are an excellent source of advice on how to fill your knowledge gaps.
They see your performance and should be the best people to offer suggestions to help you improve.
In addition, they have experience that you don’t and can refer you to learning sources based on what worked for them.

Their involvement in the organization’s strategic game plan also enables them to have an accurate perspective on what skills and competencies are needed to add the value that spells success in the marketplace.
Take your lead from the new knowledge what they suggest you acquire.

Side step

To help prepare you for a lateral move

Success isn’t just about moving up. Rarely do people look back on their journey with a record of only promotions.
In my experience the most valuable moves I made involved accepting a lateral position to a different department. This gave me a broader perspective on what the organization needed to succeed and was a brilliant source of learning.

When promotions did present themselves, I received more serious consideration because of the more diversified experience.
So ask your boss to find a niche lateral move that would complement your long term career goals and pester her until you get it.

Don’t expect your leader to do the right thing for your career. If you don’t put YOU in front of them they will likely have other priorities.

You must take ownership of your own fate; tell them what you need.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.25.19 at 02:15 am by Roy Osing
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