Suzy Ross on 'building something new from the inside' at senior leadership level.
Having previously worked for PWC, Wolff Olins and Space NK as well as nurturing her own successful premium denim brand from start-up to buy-out, Suzy saw a market need she wanted to solve within the retail sector, and joined the well-established Accenture to support the development and implementation of this new commercial venture. Suzy’s role focuses on changing the way data is collected and utilised, turning this insight into creativity and action for retail clients. A function which is becoming increasingly important in the challenging retail environment whereby retailers are needing to focus on becoming truly customer centric.
Read on to discover how Suzy is implementing this ‘building something new from the inside’ change within Accenture as well as three key tips for successfully managing change in your organisation.
What is the primary purpose of your role?
The key mission is to consult with retailers on how to use customer data to improve lifelong loyalty. Turning the shopkeeper to ‘customer keeper’ and to encourage the retailer to stop promoting, stop discounting and stop encouraging their high-value customers to shop unprofitably. In 2019, retailers must be truly loyal to their best customers and focus themselves on a narrower segment of their audience which generates the majority of their revenue.
How has implementing this new school of thought within a well-established company been?
Suzy drew upon her entrepreneurial instincts, adopting the ‘making stuff happen’ mindset. Having over nine months under her belt with Accenture, Suzy has learnt the most successful way to make things happen, how to influence and how to glide her way through an already well-established organisation. What’s helped her? Being absolutely clear on what it is that she’s been hired to do.
What have your highlights been so far?
A big highlight was recognition of the idea from the global leadership and the connection between the change that needs to happen and how the plan fitted with the broader agenda at Accenture.
Suzy’s personal definition of success? Integrity. Make sure you have integrity and you are totally yourself in your role. There must be congruence between who you are inside, and your spontaneity, your beliefs and image you project to the outside world. This role is the culmination of 25 years of working professionally.
“The biggest thing for me, is that I have a job that aligns with what I believe in, and my mission in life, so I want to spend the next 10, 15, 20 years of my career doing this work”.
What would your three key pieces of advice be for another senior leader implementing change from the inside out?
1. Never underestimate how scary change is for people. Just because you, as a leader, might be drawn to it, or not afraid, never underestimate the effect of change on others. Make sure it’s at the forefront of your mind when interacting with colleagues, as by understanding where the resistance and blocks might be coming from – you can find ways to encourage that person to come on the journey with you.
2. Don’t be afraid. If people need to be changed, they need to be changed…It’s more dangerous to have the wrong person blocking a change, than to have nobody.
3. Communication is key. “It is about being able to tell stories that resonate, make sense, inspire and excite people. That is the single gift that has propelled me throughout. I’m constantly improving my storytelling skills, I’m constantly getting feedback, I’m constantly trying to tell stories better, tiny stories, it’s every day. That, for me, is how to inspire, excite and get people pointing in the right direction.”
The Leadership Series Podcast is a weekly podcast, based around inspiring, honest conversations with interesting people in senior leadership roles, to help fellow leaders join in making the modern world of work, work. Find out more at sallyhenderson.co.uk.
If you’re a senior leader implementing change and you need some guidance, drop Sally a line firstname.lastname@example.org