My future ideal job is being as a General Manager of a chain stores company, such as The Body Shop. The Body Shop International plc is a global manufacturer and retailer of naturally inspired, ethically produced beauty and cosmetics products, which has over 2,400 stores in 61 countries, with a range of over 1,200 products. Besides being a successful company, ranking the second among world’s largest cosmetic franchises in the world, the Body Shop is an example of socially responsible company emphasizing its support for a wide range of issues around the globe. Five core values of this company are: supporting community trade, defending human rights, prohibiting of animal testing, activating self-esteem, and protecting our planet. Therefore, employment in this company means not only building my own career, but making my contribution to the solving of the global issues.
- The Body Shop believes that their business has the power to make the right difference to the world by allowing their customers around the world become „activists,“ simply by choosing from their range of products. As the examples they provide just some of the initiatives their customers have recently supported by buying their products:
- The Body shop was the first company in the industry, which sourced sustainably harvested palm oil and introduced it into the cosmetics industry, creating in 2007 a partnership with Colombian certified organic manufacturer.
- The Body shop introduced 100% post consumer recycled bottles in 2008, while currently all their PET bottles contain at least 30% of recycled material, which is planned to reach 100% within the next year.
- The Body shop created a unique Community Trade program, which promotes sustainable commercial relationships with disadvantaged communities across the globe, providing essential income to more than 25,000 people.
- The Body Shop is working on raising awareness regarding domestic violence affecting women across the globe and providing financial support. The Body Shop ran in 2008 „Stop Violence In The Home” campaign in more than 50 countries, which raised over $4 million.
- The Body Shop together with MTV Networks International in 2008 continued to build awareness among young people of HIV and AIDS issues.
- The Body Shop announced its intention to acquire „Carbon Neutral” status by 2010, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s core business worldwide.
- The Body Shop has committed ethical trading standards and provided ethical audits training to its sourcing team and conducting business only with suppliers committed to Body Shop’s „Code of Conduct for Suppliers”.
By definition, the position of general manager means overall responsibility for managing both the revenue and cost sides of a company’s income statement, including overseeing most or all of the firm’s marketing and sales functions as well as the day-to-day operations of the business, as well as leading or coordinating the strategic planning functions of the company. Besides that, promotion of the brand and supporting it should require commitment to ensuring outstanding service by creating an environment focused on providing an experience that exceeds customer expectations, establishing and maintaining superior professional standards in the areas of sales, customer service, visual presentation, inventory management, operations, personnel management and development.
Job Responsibilities should include:
- Accountability for total retail chain results, including volume of sales and costs;
- Maintaining an excellent level of customer service, overseeing loyalty programs, customer satisfaction levels and customer issue resolution statistics;
- Human capital management, including hiring, motivating, inspiring and developing management staff.
- Development, implementation, review and adjustment of the store chain development strategy;
- Developing and promoting programs supporting the company’s social responsibility, high ethical standards and values.
The position of general manager requires multiple skills in various fields. It includes such technical skills as: strategic management, financial accounting and management, marketing and sales, logistics, public relations. Besides that a successful general manager should possess excellent decision making skills, leadership skills, communication skills, including managing conflict situations, and ethics. While these skills partially would be gained together with experience or be inherited, such as communication skills, it is very important to receive appropriate training for each of the core skills.
One of the core skills for General Manager is a strategic management, which is an art, a science and a craft of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that will enable an organization to achieve its long-term objectives. It incorporates developing organization’s mission, vision and objectives, developing policies and plansб projects and programs designed to achieve these objectives. Strategic management seeks to coordinate and integrate the activities of the various functional areas of a business in order to achieve long-term organizational objectives.
Strategic management is closely related with marketing and sales. Understanding the selling techniques and ability to stimulate sales growth through appropriate marketing techniques gives an opportunity to develop successful strategies and implement them.
In order to be able track company’s performance, understand reasons of the results and make appropriate adjustments understanding basic financial accounting concepts and principles is essential and can be achieved through corresponding trainings and certification programs such as CPA.
While the skills listed above are self-evident, there are also such skills as decision-making, leadership, communication, often referred to as „interpersonal” or „soft skills”, being less tangible, however still critical for successful manager. Basically the whole work of an executive is about making decisions and managing people. Decision-making trainings present many techniques related to the identification and evaluation of the options, overcoming biases preventing from optimal decisions, which are critical for proper strategic management. A great value for General Manager may give trainings on leadership and communication, teaching how to behave to inspire and lead people, manage conflicts, delegate and follow-up tasks.
Besides universal skills listed above, which could be applied for the position of the General Director in any company, there are skills and behaviors which are company specific.
For example the Body Shop, which strongly appeals to me, positions itself as „different and proud” with core Values the heart of their business. These values mean being committed to helping protect the planet, defend human rights, activate self esteem, support Community Trade and ensure everything is animal cruelty free. And as they write on their site, “it’s not just part of our jobs, it’s part of our DNA”. This means that, besides executive skills, being General Director of this company requires a specific mindset.
Therefore in order to be successful in getting my ideal position, general director of retail chain, I will need to develop and follow life-long training program incorporating the wide variety of skills. These training should aim at developing technical skills, such as strategic management, financial accounting and management, marketing and sales, logistics, public relations. From the other side, in order to become a General Director, training program should include trainings on decision-making, leadership and communication skills. However, my ideal job requires not only technical and interpersonal skills, but also the concordance of values and ethics.
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