Business Management for Online Retailers

6th March 2016
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Business often find themselves working in their business and not on it, unknowingly neglecting their internal management in favour of statistics and targets relating to the end consumer. This is what Mark LeBusque aims to change, giving businesses the ability to meet those targets whilst still creating a stimulating environment for employees.

His focus is energising employees to help them go over and above what is expected of them, without making them feel like mere commodities. To do so, employees should be engaged and happy within their work. But how?

“The way to energise the employees is to give them the chance to take some control over their own destiny” Mark believes, and he strives to achieve this through his seven step approach.

The Seven Key Steps

Mark’s philosophy incorporates his seven key steps to effective management. He shares the basics points that are built upon during his training programs.

  1. Clarity, relevance and contribution.
    Let people know what they’re contributing to the business, how they’re relevant, and why they exist in the role.
  2. Encouraging employees to demonstrate leadership without necessarily having a title.
    For example: something as simple as encouraging observations of something in the business that could be better and speaking up.
  3. Listening to your team.
    Speak with every individual, understand their views and opinions and make them feel like they count.
  4. Make sure employees have a balance between work, time for themselves, time with family and friends and even time in their own community.
    People will be happy at work if they’ve got a balanced life.
  5. Organise your employees in a way that allows them to do work they enjoy.
    Get an understanding of what people are really passionate about. Find out what would get them out of bed in the morning and give them a chance to do some of that work.
  6. Keep employees in the ‘learning zone’.
    People learn best when they feel a little out of comfort, so challenge them to come up with ideas and give them the chance to learn. Being comfortably uncomfortable is okay as long as they don’t feel distressed.
  7. Have a safety net for your team to encourage experimentation.
    Often as a manager, we think we have all the answers and try to play a safe game. This step is to allow for innovation, experimentation and challenges but providing a soft fall for your people should they fail.

What Not to Do

Aside from showing businesses what they should be doing, Mark also advises on what not to do, stressing that businesses should avoid getting stuck in their ways.

He explains that “management is a hard job, and I think we get caught up in the old system and fail to tap into the potential that comes within the people in our business.”

A Significant Difference

So what made Mark realise his techniques were more successful than traditional management? Firstly, the data.

“When I was in corporate I was rated the number one manager for employee engagement, leadership and career development with scores in the 90th percent and business results that were 200% above targets. That tells me the approach was right”

Secondly, the people.

“I noticed they were turning up energised, they were connected with their workmates. It might sound pretty simple but they were happy. If you have the mindset that people are there to do good work, it goes a long way to creating the sort of work you need done and the success you need to have.” 

Retrain or Replace?

It is often said that it can cost up to seven times more to find a new client than it does to work with an existing one. But can the same be said about employees? Mark thinks so, claiming that 70% of people who leave organisations don’t quit their jobs – they quit their bosses. “If you think about that for a moment, then the cost of replacing them and going through the recruitment process,” he illustrates. “Rather than saying we’ll just replace them what we should be doing upfront is investing more time in getting them to be well engaged and energised in the business.” 

Solving Everyday Problems

Its Mark’s success through his systematic approach that has led him to share his tips with other managers and help them solve their problems.

“The underlying problem in most organisations is employee engagement skills haven’t gone up,” Says Mark. “50 – 60% of people working in organisations say they’re actively or mildly disengaged so there’s your business problem. How do I solve that problem? I run a two-day program called The Human Manager.”

The Human Manager is Mark’s intensive, failsafe training program that shows managers how to motivate their employees, drive employee engagement and achieve record breaking results.

“On the first day, the attendees have to look at themselves, their biases, the way they judge people and the type of manager that they are. I do some work with them around things like vulnerability, compassion, courage and really facing into understanding what it is that holds them back.

Day two, I take them through the seven steps and I show them how to coach properly and how to have career conversations. I go through a process with them to create authenticity within their own team so by the time they’ve finished they’re going back with a better understanding of themselves. Secondly, they go back with an extensive kit bag of tools and techniques to elevate their management potential. Within the next three months, feedback I get is ‘They’re very different, they’re having different conversations with us, their people are happier and more engaged, our customers are happier and our business results have improved.’”

Finding the Time

When your business is running tight, you might not think you have the option to take your managers away from their regular tasks, but Mark stresses the importance of finding the time.

“They all say ‘We don’t have the time to do this, we have to do our work.’ Well, if you do this work, the other stuff happens really easily.”

He recommends using company down time to focus on new skills. “There might not be a big window, but you don’t need to invest an enormous amount of time to do this, you’ve just got to find the time.”

Mark also suggests switching from the mindset that sees training as ‘getting in the way’ of work, rather than being valuable work itself. “This is important work,” he says. “If we do this work right, we’ll see a noticeable change.” 

The Future of Management

It’s no surprise that Mark is a firm believer in the future success of human management. He predicts, “I have no doubt there is a significant movement around the value of human management, so my strong belief is that the future differentiation for organisations will be based around their effectiveness at human management which is energising their employees, making their customers ecstatic at the service and exciting their shareholders at the returns that are being made.

It won’t be about whether you’re cheaper, it’ll be about what your people are prepared to do and go over and above because they feel valued.”

As for companies who don’t adopt these new techniques? “If you’re not leading from a human centred leadership perspective, then you’ll just be back with the rest of the pack.”

An Insight at Retail Global

Mark will be bringing his expertise to Retail Global, where he’ll be speaking in more depth about his process and the importance of creating the most efficient energy for employees. “What I want to bring to the masses,” he says, “is to take them into those seven steps so they have an awareness and understanding that this stuff is not just soft and fluffy. It’s actually quite hard to do and it’s critical to your business success.”

If you want to hear more about Mark’s techniques, the 10th Annual Retail Global at the Gold Coast Conference and Exhibition Centre from May 25th – 27th 2016. For tickets and information, please visit www.internetconference.com.au, or to stay updated on Mark’s latest news and tips, visit www.marklebusque.com.