Tesco Showcases Strategy + Culture

I just read a post on the Harvard Business discussion board about a speech that Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco’s CEO, gave about the company’s strategy. He described the challenges of delivering a distinctive and consistent buying experience to consumers in every store when you have more than 400,000 employees in multiple countries. Here’s how Leahy explained his approach:

Tesco doesn’t want one leader. We want thousands of leaders who take initiative to execute the strategy

That’s just a great quote!

In the early 90’s Tesco created a “steering wheel” to help clarify and communicate its mission, values, and strategy. So I went looking for a copy of the steering wheel on the Tesco corporate site. It wasn’t easy to find, but I finally located a version of it on the “Managing Corporate Responsibility” page.

Interestingly, in the center of the steering wheel is a phrase “Every Little Helps” which seems to be a pervasive theme at Tesco. On the retailer’s Our Values page, I found the following graphic that the company uses to depict its “Every Little Helps” strategy:

My take: Did I mention that I really liked Leahy’s quote?!? It does a great job of capturing the importance of engaging your employees. While I feel the need to insert a word in the phrase “Every Little [Bit?] Helps,” the concept seems quite powerful. Why? Because it defines simple cultural norms using easy-to-understand language and graphics. If you want 10s of thousands of people to get on board with something, it needs to be simple and easy to understand!

The bottom line: This is a great example of “Strulture” (I just made up this word to describe a strategy that focuses heavily on organizational culture).

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

4 thoughts on “Tesco Showcases Strategy + Culture”

  1. A great quote. What I really like about this work by Tesco is it not only has “every little helps” at the heart of it but it then goes on to explain what that means. All to often, in my experience people, have a great tag line but have no idea of how this would manifest itself nor what they want people to do. It this case it is clear….one of the areas “shopping lists” states “the aisle are clear”…very simple, very actionable.

    Colin Shaw
    Author & Founder Beyond Philosophy
    Blog: http://www.ExperienceClinic.com

  2. Delighted to see more and more evidence of the financial links between performance and experience we now have cfo’s starting to take this work seriously and acting as the catalyst – we just need lots more of them!!

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