Ignite your mojo

Strengthening your leadership skills in a challenging retail market.

There’s no doubt that retail has become increasingly tough over recent years, with those operating within the space often finding it challenging to adapt due to the industry’s competitive nature. At some point, however, those who have decided to make a career out if it have likely been challenged mentally and physically by the challenging retail landscape. For anyone who has been in a similar situation, it’s easy to understand that this can impact your mojo as a leader and retail business operator.

Becoming a topic of conversation for those operating within the retail industry, more and more leaders have begun to discuss the relevance of mojo. I recently had the opportunity to lead several education sessions on this topic as part of the Conversation Series at the Life Instyle Sydney event, and I’d like to share my thoughts on this hot issue with you. So, here are my top tips for those wanting to strengthen their leadership skills and boost their mojo in order to grow their business.

1. Invest in yourself and your team

Your competitors are investing in themselves and their teams, and if you are not at the very least investing in yourself, you are inadvertently exposing yourself to being outmanoeuvred by your competition. Have a developmental plan in place so that you can continuously enrich yourself and your team with fresh concepts, be inspired by different perspectives, and gain the ability to unlock “goal-kicking” ideas that lead to the big wins that both you and the business need to succeed. When it comes to investing in yourself, what you put in is what you get out!

2. Don’t be afraid to lead into the unknown

Today, teams turn to leaders who are not afraid to face the uncertainties of a volatile market. Leaders need to feel comfortable and be able to operate effectively when being pushed outside their comfort zone. It’s important that leaders also demonstrate assertiveness and confidence in the face of tough times. I am a huge advocate of “throwing away the rule book” and taking calculated risks when operating in a highly competitive market. It’s not always easy to show confidence when the big sharks are circling, but being able to project confidence, as well as having faith and belief in yourself, is absolutely vital in this component of leading into the unknown.

3. Mojo is the energy that fuels the machine

You may have the best product, amazing customers and a great team, but without mojo flowing through the veins of your organisation, success will be limited by what’s in the tank. Being able to grow

and nurture the culture and climate of a business into one that oozes passion and energy can ultimately define your company’s success. Your mojo is infectious, and it is the essence of what will get you and the business through the tough times. Ever notice that some companies just seem to gel, operate amazingly well as a team and tend to lift the mood of those around them? It’s mojo that drives this vibe. You can’t buy it, you can’t see it, but you can create it. It can be argued that company culture is where the difference between good and great is defined.

4. Be outcomes driven

Everyone talks about goals, but don’t make them the sole purpose of your existence. If you are outcomes driven you tend to think on a broader scale, which in turn allows you to segment the actions that are required to achieve them. Being outcomes driven encourages a different way of thinking, as it drives leaders to be solution focused, rather than spending too much time worrying about problems.

“Ask yourself, if you could do one thing for the rest of your life and get paid for it, what would it be?”

The key outcome is creation of the business of your dreams. It’s important to find what makes you excited, the things you love doing, and the things that people compliment you on. Ask yourself, if you could do one thing for the rest of your life and get paid for it, what would it be? Take this passion and put that into not only being a successful leader, but also building the business of your dreams.

5. Become a communication champion if you want to succeed

The single biggest thing that I’ve witnessed in companies big and small is the inability of people and teams to communicate effectively. The time, opportunity and monetary cost of poor communication is astounding. It is expected that as a bare minimum, leaders demonstrate good communication skills, but if you need to lead into the unknown and outmuscle your competitors, how you communicate to those both internally and externally can literally be the difference between success and failure. Many leaders fail to realise that communication is a two-way process, and that active listening is one of the key elements to being a great leader.

Mark Zimmermann, Founder, On the Mark

This story first appeared in issue 24 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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