Culture Critical for Acquisitive Retailers

28 November 2012

Leaders must focus on culture if they are to make the most of acquisitions, according to Coachworks Consulting.

Culture Critical for Acquisitive Retailers

The comments came after industry experts predicted the intense acquisition activity of the last 12 months will continue.

Earlier this month, the latest Motor Trader Top 200 Franchised Dealer Survey found that consolidation in the retail motor sector is gaining momentum.

Larger, cash-rich dealer groups are increasingly looking to take over smaller groups, the survey found.

Karl Davis, Managing Director at Coachworks Consulting, said: “Acquisitions are largely being driven by the polarity of performance in the retail motor industry.

“Better-performing, stronger groups are often buying faltering and underfunded businesses. There are real advantages for the acquisitive company, in respect of introducing back office savings and economies of scale, but leaders have to be sure that successful cultures and practices don’t dilute through rapid expansion.”

Mr Davis urged acquiring groups to orientate new colleagues to the business with their own successful attitudes and approaches.

This should include a clear, defining statement that encapsulates the firm’s ethos.

The distribution and incorporation of that ethos, Mr Davis said, is made easier if existing employees act as ambassadors.

He said: “Existing employees have to be advocates, and that is much more likely to happen if they know the defining statement, understand what it means and are able to articulate and live it daily.

“Staff can be seen as the biggest cost or the biggest asset – if you create an expanded team of people aligned to your business vision then they will undoubtedly become an asset.

“The Coachworks Consulting defining statement is: ‘credible, creative and effective business support that builds performance improvement.’

“Every touch point across the business has to demonstrate that, and every team member, has to show how they have helped deliver it during formal Personal Growth Plan reviews every three months and informally in their day to day actions.”

A lot of businesses consider brand to be a combination of product and logo, but it’s just as much about the people that represent it and therefore the customer experience, Coachworks believes.

Mr Davis said: “Communicating that defining statement to every single employee is critical.

“Take a look at The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For list. A common factor of the vast majority of the top 20 is a clarity of purpose that is genuinely embraced by everyone.

“That has a direct impact on the customer experience, which can be the difference between landing a sale and losing a customer.”

Coachworks Consulting’s Road Ahead programme shows business leaders how to improve performance by defining the purpose of the business, communicating that definition, incorporating it in everything the company does and making it an integral part of a robust, meaningful appraisal system.

Workshops concentrate on transforming how every person deals with both internal and external customers – and highlights the cost to the business of getting it wrong.

For more information, visit or call 01335 368020.

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