Tesco recently announced the promotion of Philip Clarke to take over as the next CEO of the Tesco Group. Clarke is a pure Tesco by-product; in fact his first job was part time assistant in a Tesco near Liverpool when he was still a student.
Clarke made his way to the top of the company and gradually took on more responsibilities from his roles as Store Manager to Supply Chain and IT Manager. According to an article in the Evening Standard, he was eventually designated as the next CEO of Tesco thanks to his brilliant and successful campaign in the South Korean and Chinese markets.
Many argue the main reason behind Clarke’s success is his adaptation policy. Instead of trying to force local customers to act like British, he adapted his retail methods and stores to the local market. One of the best examples of this is how Tesco sells fish and seafood in China. Fish does not come in a sealed plastic bag like in most western countries but is instead presented alive in a pool, waiting for the customer to catch it! Thanks to this philosophy and innovative approach, Tesco did not encounter difficulties like some of its rivals like French Carrefour or American Wal-Mart who also attempted to harness the benefits of the market in South East Asia.
Clarke is also responsible for developing successful partnerships with local suppliers when entering new international markets. For example, Tesco signed a partnership agreement with Tata in order to facilitate the opening of new cash and carry stores in India. Thanks to this alliance, Tesco will be able to benefit from the experience and knowledge of Tata (which already own its own retail stores line) to enter this new and promising market and be successful in India.
This philosophy of adapting to the local habits of other cultures and building relationships with local suppliers has made a huge difference in the retail sector. Adaptability is also a valuable skill when it comes to working in other cultures or managing multicultural teams while learning from local partners is also a shortcut to success.
Communicaid’s cross cultural awareness training courses can help you to gain the skills and insights necessary to ensure good working relationships and communication with your international counterparts. The cross-cultural understanding and knowledge you develop on an intercultural training course such as Selling across Cultures will also help you to adapt your business strategies to the local market and better understand what customers in other cultures expect, need and want from you as a global supplier.
Tesco has taken the right steps in this direction and provides its employees with a number of cultural awareness training solutions. By doing the same you may see a significant increase in international sales and be able to develop the adaptability skills of key individuals like Philip Clarke who can make a real difference to your organisation.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2010