The role of a retail executive is as varied as it is essential. An executive has to be a company’s representative when talking to customers and clients, and they must also be the organisation’s figurehead when it comes to advising and encouraging employees.

However, while retail executives often have to act as if they possess all of the knowledge, experience and gravitas required to lead a company forward, sometimes this isn’t the case. Executives, just like every other employee, are human, and so there is always room for improvement and education.

So, with that in mind, what are the seven key things every retail executive needs to ensure they are a success? 

Whether you’re looking to undergo the retail executive search process for your company, are considering whether you would personally like to be an executive one day, or are already one and want to see if you’re doing everything you can to be a success, take note of the following seven characteristics 

1. Mission-driven

Retail executives tend to reach the top because they are driven and ambitious, but it is essential that this hunger remains even once that top job has been attained. All markets, sectors and industries are continually evolving, and so understanding trends and applying these to your company’s long-term mission statement is key.

2. The ability to develop a company culture

Company culture is absolutely crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, and also plays a large role in the mind of clients and customers when they are deciding if they want to work with you. However, don’t design a culture that you think people want to see; build one that sums up your company’s mission, goals and ethos. It is crucial to be genuine. 

3. A realistic outlook

Every retail executive must be ambitious, but this ambition should never come at the expense of reality. Setting wildly unachievable sales goals and growth targets will likely only result in unnecessary stress and anxiety throughout your workforce. 

4. A viable approach to employee benefits

All companies need good employees if they are to flourish, and that means all members of staff need to be given as many reasons as possible to refrain from leaving for pastures new. By providing a generous rewards and benefits package that employees will find genuinely valuable, you will be able to build a workforce that can drive your company forward.

5. The ability to adopt a flexible approach

Being flexible is absolutely key. Even the most rigorous and foolproof of approaches can fail to achieve the desired outcomes, and so knowing when to focus on different areas or promote new ideas is essential, especially if profit margins are tight. There should be no shame in updating and altering an approach to match an evolving situation.

6. A viable approach to setting goals

Setting goals is absolutely key, and at the end of the day this task lies with the executive. Of course, information and data must be gathered from senior managers, but the buck stops with the person at the top. Setting goals means understanding current performance, determining whether this is profitable, and then assessing what targets are viable.

7. Understanding the value of communication 

Every executive needs to be able to communicate effectively. They must be able to disseminate information to the right people at the right time, especially when it comes to making people aware of important decisions that have been made by the board such as a change in company direction or a raft of redundancies. Being open, honest and transparent with all employees is absolutely key.

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