Tesco Showcases Strategy + Culture
September 11, 2008 4 Comments
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).