Your weekly disruption
Your weekly thought-provoking exploration into building disruptive capabilities.
Jeff Rogut: Lead With Purpose
If you didn’t know the purpose that leads you, what do you believe would not have happened or you would not have experienced? It turns out that, no matter what the events or circumstances, people who have discovered and lead from purpose experience a significant increase in their level of clarity of focus and confidence to act.
Download the podcast on iTunes, subscribe or click to listen: Superior Sales Disruption Podcast – Episode 10
Is it any wonder then of the great success Jeff Rogut has had being the steward of the Petrol & Convenience industry through its greatest phase of growth.
Download the podcast on iTunes, subscribe or click to listen: Superior Sales Disruption Podcast: Episode 10
Be The ‘Only’
The Power Of ZigZag
Working For A Bigger Cause
My life changed when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The chemotherapy sessions were very debilitating, but soon I was back at work. Some days I couldn’t work the whole day, and the unit was very accepting of that. Yet I was determined not to let something like that beat me and I have now been in remission now for 12-13 years. Once you’ve gone through that experience, nothing fazes you, you have no fear; you look at life, totally differently. That has been the biggest challenge that I’ve had, but it was one that I was not prepared to let beat me.
Disrupt or be disrupted
Over the years, the industry has changed quite markedly. We have some very, very smart retailers. Yet not always the biggest, are the most innovative. There are some smaller disruptive groups. They invest in their groups, and actually have raised the benchmark quite dramatically. But in terms of the industry itself, we’ve gone through the growth of the communications category, where that came from absolutely nowhere to be a category group worth around $600 million a year. The industry was riding really high on that and it was our third biggest category. Yet as with all things, technology has caught up, alternative choices have caught up, year on year, that category is now in decline in double-digit figures. But consumers have changed dramatically; they don’t actually have to go into a convenience store to buy a recharge card, or to buy a calling card. So, retailers have had to wake up quite quickly to that sort of disruption.
Food Is The Future
Food is the future of the convenience business. That’s absolutely true today as it was six or seven years ago – you would not have gone to a convenience store to buy a good cup of coffee. That has changed dramatically. Where now we are a destination for coffee, you know. One of the chains started charging $1 for a coffee which led to claims of devaluation of the category. What it did do was sent a very clear message to consumers, that if you come to a convenience store, you can get a very good quality cup of coffee, but not only that, you can buy the sandwich, the donut, the cake, the pie, whatever else it is. So that has changed the dynamic totally within inconvenience, and now you see that most of the major chains are playing in that space. If you look at the report, we’ve just brought out 2018 State of the Industry report, food and beverage is where the growth is happening within convenience.
Facing The Big Challenges
Fuel is still a major driver for our business. Supply chain and logistics, I think certainly is one, given the obviously the size of the country – smaller stores, the fragmentation of supply chain. Forming that relationship with consumers, so that when they walk in, or customers, and they feel as though they know the people behind the counter, that can greet them, they can talk to them, you tend to lose some of that if you are constantly turning over your staff. The other challenges that we have relates to government regulation and red tape. So, as an example, we are one of the few countries, where the convenience store is unable to sell beer or wine. If you go to the USA, it’s about 12% of a typical store sale and yet, because of the old regulation that basically says, where you sell petrol, you can’t sell alcohol, we are excluded from that market. That is something we are working on quite actively. There’s just been an election, so again we will be lobbying politicians.
Originally when I joined AACS in 2011, there wasn’t really a blueprint in terms of what the industry might look like, every company obviously had their own vision. So, we did 2020, and then in 2017, we undertook the 2030 vision. Health and wellness, people looking for better for you type products be it food or beverages is a major one. It was developing what came out of the researcher’s terminology, which I really liked. We also have a culinary culture. There’s the old saying you don’t sell food, you serve food. That’s the thinking that needs to permeate through our industry. Digital engagement is influencing so many facets of our lives, as is sustainability. You’re not being a mad greenie; but a sustainable business is ever present, in so many different areas – electric vehicles, potentially hydrogen fuel vehicle, who knows what’s down the track, in a couple of years. Things such as home delivery of products, collecting products, drive through, many of those issues as well.
I guess if I go back to my very first job and one of my managers gave each of us Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and influence people. It made quite an impression on me back then and is something that you live by. There were a number of things that still resonate in terms of the way that you actually interact with people. Being interested in people, having a sense of humour, being pleasant, smiling. And one of the most important ones that I I took away from that, at the very early stages was the word respect. I think, if we look at what’s happening in society, nowadays, you look at the crime, you look at the gangs, there’s just a lack of respect for police, for authority, and even for parents. And I think that’s socially and even from a business point of view, I think the word respect certainly can come back into play quite solidly.
I have worked with some good managers over time, you learn from the good, you also learn from the bad, things sort of not to do, And there’s a few of those around and working in big organizations, there are some really big egos, and at the end of the day, as I said to me, those people even when I was a buyer, as a buyer, you have many buyers that get a an overinflated sense of ego. I have said if you or I die tomorrow, there would be very few of these people, at our funerals, you need to remember that it’s about a relationship. It’s about doing the best you can for your organization, but also being human about it. And that sense of being down to earth, and not using an ego to an extreme degree. I think that’s really important. In other senses, as I touched on very early on, the two words that left the biggest impression – best imaginable. It is how you set yourself up, whether it’s your business, whether it’s the way you interact with people, or whether it’s the service you give? How do you offer the best imaginable, whatever it is? If you take that sort of approach as well, rather than just doing what you need to do, or just being mediocre, it certainly can set you apart. This sentiment also came from a Japanese professor that had just won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He was asked what are some of the credos that you live by, and the thing that he said, “rather than being the number one, be the only one”. And that’s the difference between being four or five different brands of confectionery, soft drinks, snack food, everybody, looking for that market share in the same pool, rather than being out of all of that, and developing something new and innovative, that has appeal for consumers. So strive to be the only one to give you that unique advantage, as I don’t think too many people are thinking around that sort of concept nowadays.
So many great takeaways from this conversation. Listen to the episode in the player below, or download, subscribe and enjoy it on iTunes.
Download the podcast on iTunes or click to listen: Superior Sales Disruption Podcast – Episode 10
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Next week we are going to delve deeper into the elements of Creating The Game.
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