SAO PAOLO, Brazil — Drug Store News strategic partner Dan Mack, founder and managing director of Mack Elevation Forum, delivered the keynote address at the Brazilian Association of Pharmacies and Drugstore Networks’ annual Abrafarma Future Trends conference on Sept. 1.
“Every leader has room to grow concerning the quality and depth of their strategic partnerships,” Mack told the audience of more than 200 senior retail, health and beauty retail and manufacturer leaders. “We all are vulnerable to overestimating the health of all relationships, and in particular, supplier and manufacturer relationships. If you are not honestly assessing your relationships, you are more than likely not seeing it clearly.”
Mack’s presentation, titled, “The secrets of elite retailer and supplier relationships,” highlighted the winning leadership behaviors that both supplier and retailer executives bring to their top relationships, including how they optimize growth, outperform competitors and build joint profitability. “Is a philosophy of ‘win-win-win’ still achievable? Yes, and success leaves clues,” Mack said.
According to Mack, the seven winning behaviors of today’s elite retailer-supplier relationships, include:
- A growth mindset unleashing innovative solutions;
- Design exclusive custom solutions and experiences through co-creation;
- Uncover uncommon insights unleashing new growth ideas;
- Practice agility and flexibility improving enterprise alignment;
- Laser focused on the vital few customers and suppliers driving advantage;
- Strong self-awareness allowing them to uncover and utilize unique hidden assets; and
- Practice deep listening with the goal of earning “share of heart” with customers.
“The most elite relationships — and engagements — practice exceptionally concise discussions, and both parties have a rich understanding of each other’s needs, values and unstated interests,” Mack said. “They listen at a higher level and never assume they understand their partners needs unless their partners validate it. That is the philosophy of a winning, co-creating culture.”
However, Mack cautioned there are a number of blind spots that often get in the way, including:
- Not understanding how both parties are compensated and/or individual, personal motivations;
- Not creating higher level, healthy co-creation discussions fostering “win-win-win” solutions;
- Not understanding each other’s hidden corporate assets and competitive threats;
- Not understanding each other’s internal politics and any unstated pressures hindering the relationship; and
- Not being honest about your own internal alignment challenges damaging trust.
“In the most elite relationships, senior management on both sides have a rich appreciation of each other’s competitive challenges, potential risks and the broader industry or environmental shifts affecting the business,” Mack explained. “Their business and their relationships is/are personal, purposeful and very ambitious. Elite business relationships are always a work-in-progress.”