Poor WW & Coles – Hard Frustrating Unsatisfying!

Spare a moment of sympathy for executives, senior management, C-suite leaders and directors of Woolworths and Coles.

Yes, they get paid well but at what cost?

For decades they have suffered in absence of the wisdom of the ages, best summarized by legendary strategist, Sun Tzu, who said…

“Tactics without strategy is the noise you make before defeat.”

Few people at either Coles or Woollies know what strategy is; many perceive tactics to be strategies.

A flotilla of strategy-qualified executives having spun through the revolving doors of Coles and Woolworths employment, and gone again; in frustration, meeting for coffee after retrenchment, echoing the words of those who have gone before, “It’s getting worse!”

You can only be sympathetic.

The conundrum is that everyone in-charge at both companies are operational A1 players. They know their business. They understand their operations intimately They sweat over very piece of data, every report. Every fact and figure they can gouge. They slave long hours. They grapple with silos, with politics, with hidden personal agenda, with bosses who don’t communicate well and suppress initiative.

Despite their best efforts, customer satisfaction is failing. KPI’s are increasingly hard to meet. Outperforming each other is hard enough, while Aldi continues to happily erode their market share… only slowed down by Metcash’s resistance to adopting blue ocean growth opportunities and FMCG suppliers’ willingness to surrender all their margin.

Where do you go when you’ve got nowhere to go?

Now Coles is abandoned by Westfarmers with Woolworths struggling in the wake of its Big W decay, Masters flop, and other lack-lustre performance outcomes.

Both are blinkered to the reality of their merchandising philosophies and combative relationship with suppliers, and the very stoppable (but not without strategy) flow of shoppers to Aldi.

Do what you always do… Get what you’ve always gotten

It seems incredible, doesn’t it, that the power of the two giants and the operational executive talent is unable to recognise their archaic approach to their problems.

Their resistance to change is formidable. Their unwillingness to accept they are tracing the 19th Century path of the American Rail corporation and the buggy whip industry, they are as resistant to change is News Corps and Fairfax were in the 90’s, they are determined they are doing everything right when they are doing a LOT of things wrong… just like Nokia, Blockbuster, Kodak and others…

When a past CEO of Woolworths warned them to beware of the ABC’s of Corporate Cancer, Arrogance, Bureaucracy and Complacency) their response was to evict him rather than heed his advice!

The Writing is on the wall

Lots of those that know, know! The wisest stakeholders abandon ship and the millennial naive are innocently walking into the web.

Tie will tell if I am right, but anyone reading this, who can observe a trend, may be shaking their head in acknowledgement of these observations.

Poor Woollies. Poor Coles. 😦

How bad is the China issue?

Many countries are pondering China’s purpose. Fear is rising.

Chinese money is everywhere. They own ports, farms, mines, airports, big brand companies, supply chains and lots and lots of property and real estate everywhere!

Is there Evil Intent by China?

Is it an economic invasion?

If so, are adequate responses from around the world worthy of those nations?

The USA’s answer is tariffs. Australia’s answer is to avoid talking about it. The Philippines are grateful for anyone’s money. In any country, corruption is easy when public servants aren’t paid enough, or adequate controls are absent.

The question remains, is it some great plan of China to control the world?

The Chinese self-perception is one of entitlement… they deserve to rule. Many Chinese possess a racist belief that they are superior to every other nationality, and the only justification for other nationalities is to serve China’s interests.

Recently a book was published by a Chinese immigrant to Australia that bemoans the perceived injustice of racial discrimination by white Australian’s but ignores the complete absence of human rights for non-Chinese that risk visiting, let alone living, in China. (Gaol first, questions later.)

Chinese don’t seem to be able to embrace empathy with much vigour. 😦

Perhaps this is how Mao Zedong could let 36,000,000 people starve to death for his Great Leap Forward.

I hope there is no Great Leap Forward planned for the future!

My first taste of China was while it was a closed country, and I was on a trade mission. Before they learned “spin”, I saw the real “id” and it was scary! But then I see the social progress in modern-day social behaviour and I wonder if enough Chinese will risk their lives to stand in front of tanks to protect human rights as they did in Tiananmen Square?

Is it a Non-Military Strategy?

The world bows to the wisdom of the great Chinese military genius of the 500BC strategist, Sun Tzu. Many Chinese learn, and follow, the teachings of their past. Sun Tzu said,

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Is China’s employing this strategy?

Would it be so bad?

Let’s face it, other leadership hasn’t done the world that much good… look at their record:

  • 1% of the world’s population own 99% of the wealth.
  • Brazil is illegally burning off the Amazon forests.
  • The EEC is breaking down.
  • 1000 children die a day in Africa of starvation – ignored by the western world.
  • The Pacific Ocean is choking on plastic.
  • The world constantly loses the war on drugs despite huge funding.
  • People trafficking and modern-day slavery still exists in many forms.
  • The internet has only served to confuse and irritate with everything from fake news to narcissistic selfies.

There are arguments that a Chinese leadership might be just as bad… so what’s the difference. It might also be better.

I am reminded of the quote (source unknown), “You get the leadership you deserve”

So, if our own leaders fail us – it’s our fault.

And if we end up with Chinese dominated leadership, whose fault is that?

The Australian Labor & Liberal Parties

The Australian Labor Party commenced in the 19th century, as a body representing the needs of trade unions and rural pastoral workers’ groups at that time. Often described as “a band of unhappy amateurs” it has oscillated between strong and vocal support for the White-Australia policy to multiculturalism in the pursuit of votes and power.

The Australian Liberal Party commenced early in the 20th century, formed by Labor dissidents, as an anti-Labor body, with policies of protectionism and opposed to socialism. It has held onto power with a series of mergers with groups varying from women’s movements, youth groups and dying or weaker parties with anti-Labor sentiment, such as the Country Party.

Why Labor & Liberal dominate now

Each was, however, basically formed and has survived on their match to the perceived needs and wants of the Australian population… polarising political preference to Labor vs. Liberal.

Law 8 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Duality, says, “In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.” Which is exactly what has happened. From the Workers Party of 1972 to the Clive Palmer United Party of 2019, emotive attempts to foster better government have been made with poorly structured and inappropriately managed efforts of wealthy egos, rather than objective strategists… with appropriate results. The issue is NEITHER Labor or Liberal offerings currently satisfy the existing and future needs of Australia. Voters feel it… hence, the rise of splinter parties, a senate ballot paper that is the size of a table cloth and record-low levels of primary vote.

Based upon the foundation and infrastructure, neither can ‘metamorphosize’ to be what Australia needs… which is not one, but two new and up-to-date political groups.

Inevitably New Australian Political Parties Will Evolve & Dominate

Sooner or Later Smart Politicians Will Make their Move

Law 10 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Division says, “Over time the category will divide and become two categories.”. Australia has observed evidence of this division in the Australian Labor Party Rudd/Gillard contest, before Labor closed public airing of disharmony. It also witnessed the appalling display of rot in the Australian Liberal Party through the Abbot/Turnbull/Dutton/Morrison evolution.

Discontent has never been higher and will continue to exist until a new Party, founded on current Australia values, rises to the fore.

The difficulty is that politicians are mostly graduates in law or political science and not business strategy. I have yet to meet a politician who thinks of Marketing as anything but advertising and promotion (the root of their problems). I have yet to see market research performed in politics as well as it is in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). I have yet to see political parties embrace sophisticated management tools in the multi-faceted array of marketing communications… from media interviews and other publicity, with advertising (liberal does the worst ads possible), promotions (poor effort and transparent grandstanding) and personal communications (pride cometh before a fall).

I once mentored a PhD student doing her thesis on “what would happen if a political party utilised modern marketing methods) and the preliminary findings indicated it would rise to power and keep it indefinitely. (Sadly, she discontinued her PhD and the work was never published). Politicians have refused to investigate these findings.

Politicians Are Their Own Worst Enemy – at the Cost of the Country

The self-defeating dichotomy is politicians themselves. Revered motivational psychologist, David McClelland identified that politicians crave power and resist advice from outside their power circle… The “men won’t ask for direction” syndrome, magnified to many degrees.

So when you take modern, helpful, constructive, positive, professional and beneficial change proposals to political parties you get polite rejection base upon a “it is my ball and we play by my rules” response.

Even New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern, is likely to be guilty of power-driven motivation… it is likely that it just so happens she feels the same way as the greater NZ population, and being so in sync, has won the heart of the other parts of the world. However, there will come a time where her personal lust for power and optimal decisions will contravene each other… then watch out!

Australia’s Continuing Political Turmoil and the Way Forward

The truthful barrier to Australia finding wholesome, beneficial and universal (or as best as can be achieved) political leadership is old-fashioned resistance to change. Basically, things will have to get even worse before they get better… and in getting worse will create a legacy that will be difficult to undo or reverse. It will take a consortium of contributors, a very highly skilled team of strategists, and most importantly and difficult, a national representation by achievement-based leaders willing to stand for parliament… people who genuinely will put the good of Australia before themselves, who will check their egos, greed, and gratification and sincerely strive for an invigorated Australia.

The 5th “P” of Marketing is People

Jack Welch is quoted as saying, “The team with the best payers wins!” … a philosophy that helped Jack build GE into a word dominating power.

One of my earliest business management successes was when I ran a team of 120 people up and down the eastern seaboard. My HR strategy was simple… never stop looking!

I devoted 20% of my time to recruitment and training. If I found someone good, I would create a job for them. I wasn’t aware back in those days that 16-18% of any workforce is disengaged (actually trying to sink the boat) and I wasn’t nearly as good a boss as I am now, but I intuitively knew I had to keep working at refining my team to continue growing and to stop fires BEFORE they ignited.

The “C” in the ABC’s of Corporate Cancer stands for Complacency

Buy how many CEO’s do this? How many businesses pay attention to the necessary weeding out of disengaged employees? How many businesses have low-performing team members that are carried by colleagues or subordinates for years, if not decades?

As companies grow, they change. How many organisations keep c-suite executives who were perfect for the role when their business was small, but have long passed their level of competency?

I’m definitely not advocating disloyalty to long term loyal employees… far from it! But genuinely engaged employees are likely to recognise their shortcomings and encourage recruitment of new team members to provide new skills. There is, however, a complacency in organisations, and a misplaced loyalty where emotional support for a long-term employee displaces objectivity and recognition of that employee’s competency. This is a fatal perspective if it undermines competitive advantage or decreases employee engagement.

Building Great Teams

Nonetheless, Boards should be diligent in ensuring that disengaged and unengaged deadwood is identified and dealt with, rather than ignored or tolerated. New talent should be identified and recruited, and team members should be constantly monitored for ongoing performance with teams’ members rotated or replaced just as if they were professional sporting teams… well IF you want to win the premiership!

via Do you recall EVERYTHING you learned at Uni?

Do you remember EVERYTHING you learned at Uni?

Many graduates in business, who I have talked with, admit they don’t remember everything they were taught at Uni.

Some confessed cramming just days before an exam, scraping by with a “Pass” and forgetting much of what they learned within months, or weeks, if not days, afterwards.

Insightful ones have wished they remembered the lessons learned when years later they were faced with important decision-making on topics that were discussed in their final capstone subjects.

I certainly experienced this, even as a part-time student who enjoyed the advantage of learning and applying my studies as I went. When I taught at Uni, in particularly in my MBA subjects, I had to relearn and learn the subject matter perfectly, to make sure I was perfectly capable of explaining and elaborating on complex and advanced business models.

My own, most outstanding commercial successes have always been based upon the correct and loyal adoption of some valuable and profound business models, concepts and findings learned in my marketing, business and strategy studies.

40 years of Executive Know-How… crammed into 2 days!

I’ve collated these into a concise and helpful commercial “bundle” that I’m sharing in my upcoming workshop, designed to empower senior managerial, marketing, strategy and planning executives.

Marketing Training for Senior Executives

If any of my LinkedIn connections (or their network) would like to attend, and find out the keys, tricks, methods, tools, rules, laws and models that help medium and large companies make millions, I’ve posted the link below and would be thrilled to see you at the event.

If you’d like to know more, go to https://www.informa.com.au/event/training/a-practical-guide-to-marketing/

Thank you, Clive Palmer

January 29, 2019

United Australia Party has wasted $7M as a direct result of NOT understanding “Marketing”.

Thanks to Clive Palmer, the world of business, in particular, the world of #Marketing, can see FIRST-HAND how “Marketing” is MUCH more than just advertising, publicity and promotion.

Millions upon millions have been spent, with (in balance) superior advertising media buying, substantive media advertising and exposure, publicity and work or mouth exposure that is a PR promoter’s dream; all contributing to an excellent outcome in terms of brand awareness and unaided brand recall… KPI’s that might be used to paint a picture of a great campaign.

In reality, it is a MAJOR failure in “Marketing” and will secure nominal (if any) significant support for Clive Palmer or his Party, and (post-election) will be heralded as one of Australia most notable political failures.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for proving the limited power of advertising, publicity and promotion in Marketing.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for demonstrating how lay-people, who THINK they understand “marketing”, rather than relying on properly educated, trained and experienced specialists, waste millions spending on Marketing Communications, when they should be spending it on Marketing Research & Analysis, Product and Brand development, People development, Process development, Customer Experience, Path to Purchase, and so much more.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for showing us that financial muscle has limited ability to sway buyers (in this case, voters) if the total offering doesn’t meet the needs and wants of the target audience.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for redistributing your wealth to the marketing services providers who have profited, the media participants who have enjoyed the display, and for strategic marketing professionals who now have evidence that further proves their importance.