The structure of the JD Sports Fashion Store

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JD Sports Fashion PLC is one of the leading UK specialist multiple retailer of fashionable branded and own brand sports and casual wear, principally through the growth of its main retail stores - JD Sports (JDsports plc, 2009).

They currently operate over 400 stores spanning both Sports and branded fashion. Maximum advantage was being taken from the growth in sales of international sports brands. JD operates in both the UK and Republic of Ireland. The Group also has a significant branded young fashion offering following the acquisition of Scotts and Bank Fashion. These fascias have a combined portfolio of more than 80 stores across the UK and are well known for their dynamic approach to the branded fashion market with a new mix of brands introduced each season.

Job Description

I work in the capacity of Senior Supervisor at the Colliers Wood branch. My predominant responsibilities as follows:

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Analysed sales figures and footfall reports in order to forecast future sales volumes and set sales targets to maximise profits on a weekly basis

Maintaining awareness of market trends in the retail industry, understanding forthcoming customer initiatives, and monitoring what local competitors are doing

Initiating changes to improve the business, e.g. revising opening hours to ensure the store can compete effectively in the local market

Communicated, executed, and managed marketing and merchandising programs in-store

Managed special promotions and events with regards to staffing, stock pricing and stock churn etc for Christmas sales and summer sales.

Manage store revenue, including cash handling, deposit reconciliation, daily cash banking and cash flow

Manage staffing levels for all departments (footwear, textiles, tills, delivery, stockroom), through recruitment & training, for 100% customer service, security and motivating employee morale

Ensuring efficient use of payroll budget to ensure work force and work load balance and maximize productivity, profitability and margins

Effectively manage employee turnover. Provide a positive working environment and handle employee issues appropriately and in a timely manner.

Encourage store employees to take ownership for their performance and career development plans; follow up on a regular basis

Management of all store operational issues, to include store housekeeping, store administrative duties, physical inventories, price changes, etc.

Responsible for the store's Health & Safety program and Store Loss Prevention Programs

Skills of a Manager

Kammy Hatnes uses a pyramid structure in order to showcase the increasingly difficult skills that managers need today to achieve success.

John Reh describes for success for factors: plan, organize, direct, and control these are discussed below.

Plan

This is the most important step for any management task, it might vary in depth and detail based on different task however it is important. Many people associate this term with general business planning, there are also different levels of planning: Strategic Planning, Tactical Planning, and Operational Planning. Also there kind be different kinds of planning: Disaster Planning, Succession Planning, Crisis Planning, Compensation Planning

Organize

Another important factor is to organize teams, tasks, and projects to get the work done in the most efficient and effective manner. There is a lot of overlap between planning and organizing, while planning focuses on what you need to do the organisation is about the operational and how effectively to get done what has been planned. Most important of all the manager needs to organise himself and his time to ensure he can organise and plan efficiently. With constantly changing environment its important that organisation is a continuous factor which once done is not finished.

Direct

Once a manager has mastered the skill of planning and organising their work it comes to direct the team in order to get the work done. It is important to first make them understand what the final goal that one is aiming for is, and if they are clear on their roles and have the necessary resources.

Control

A more diplomatic way of calling this factor is 'coordinate' which basically means being able to have control on the team's activities. This when as a manager one needs to monitor the task that the team is undertaking in order to ensure that work is progressing according to the plan decided. It also means organizing for unknown factors like resources failing, sickness fire etc., the job as a manager requires you to step in to minimize the delay and ensure the plan is back on track.

Learning Styles

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Different individuals have different learning styles each of them are based on the individual type and describe the best way for you to assimilate knowledge. For this report we shall look at the Honey and Mumford's learning style questionnaire which helps in determining the preferred learning style for a manager (Swinton, 2009).

This is an important facet for any professional as it helps in avoiding repetition of mistakes. This is so as it allows an individual to undertake activities that strengthening other styles. For e.g. a cowboy approach to issues within the organization might be overcome by planning and organizing matters well in advance. As elucidate by Swinton (2009), according to this questionnaire there are four different types of learning styles identified, the details of the same are given below:

Activists (Do)

Immerse themselves fully in new experiences

Enjoy here and now

Open minded, enthusiastic, flexible

Act first, consider consequences later

Seek to centre activity around themselves

Reflectors (Review)

Stand back and observe

Cautious, take a back seat

Collect and analyze data about experience and events, slow to reach conclusions

Use information from past, present and immediate observations to maintain a big picture perspective.

Theorists (Conclude)

Think through problems in a logical manner, value rationality and objectivity

Assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories

Disciplined, aiming to fit things into rational order

Keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking

Pragmatists (Plan)

Keen to put ideas, theories and techniques into practice

Search new ideas and experiment

Act quickly and confidently on ideas, gets straight to the point

Are impatient with endless discussion

Depending on these preferences, an individual would need different activities to produce different responses in the individual. To decide which learning method is appropriate you should take into account your preference, however it is important for effective learning a good balance between the four styles.

The question that comes up next is what are the activities that will suit an individual with a preference of a certain type. These activities are discussed below:

Activist

You can become involved with new experiences

There is excitement and drama

You can have high visibility, e.g. chairing a meeting, giving a presentation

You are thrown in at the deep end

You are involved with others

You can 'have a go'

You will enjoy business games, role-playing exercises and competitive teamwork tasks (DSID, 2008)

Reflector

You are allowed to watch and think

You can stand back and observe others

You can think before acting

There is research involved

You can review what has occurred

You will enjoy assignments

Theorist

There is an obvious system, concept or model you can follow through

There is time to explore the relationship between ideas and events

You can ask questions

You are stretched intellectually

There is a clear purpose and reason to the learning

Pragmatist

There is an obvious link between what you are learning and the working environment

You are shown practical techniques for solving problems

You have a chance to practice techniques to check they work in practice

You are provided with an immediate opportunity to put into effect what you have learnt

MY PREFERRED LEARNING STYLES

Taking the above categories into consideration, I place myself in both 'Activist' and 'Pragmatist' categories. I am a open minded person with great deal of enthusiasm in engaging in new experiences. I sometimes tend to act first before actually come to terms with its consequences. I would like to get straight to the point and act quickly and confidently on ideas whilst searching for new ideas and experiments all the time. Hence, I do possess learning preferences of both these groups.

Personal Development Plan

Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development (London Met, 2009). The primary rationale behind a PDP is to help the individual to learn and develop more effectively in order to set long and short term objectives, to realise what you need to achieve and also to understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat. According to London Met (2009) following are some of the other key benefits;

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Learn in a wider variety of ways and a wider range of contexts

Recognise and be able to list evidence for your own learning and therefore the progress you are making

Draw upon and use your expanded personal knowledge to achieve particular goals

Review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning

Recognise and define your training/learning needs.

Hence, in order to carry out my own PDP, it is required to do a SWOT analysis on myself.

STRENGTHS

Motivational Skills - I have the ability to motivate all level of staff. I am a positive and energetic person and I would always like to cheer up my colleagues and others around me in order to get the best possible results from tasks in hand.

Negotiation skills - As a marketer, this has helped me immensely in the past. I always try to get the best possible bargain out of a deal.

Observational skills - I regard myself as a good observer. I observe people and situations carefully, which allows me to be prepared in tacking certain issues, with a pre-gained knowledge.

Having studied at one of the best schools in uk - My school is one of the prestigious educational institutes in uk. Thus, I have a network of friends, who are holding top positions around the world. They can be influential in my professional and personal endeavors.

Computer literacy - I am highly computer literate and I can use most of the common applications with an advance knowledge. This may give me an upper hand in finding a job.

WEAKNESSES

Poor time management skills - Sometimes I tend to procrastinate important things until they become urgent. Doing it last minute often put me under severe pressure, sometime jeopardizing the quality of the outcome.

Big spending - My expenses are usually high. I tend to spend quite a lot on clothes, night outs etc. This affects my savings that I should keep aside for emergencies.

OPPORTUNITIES

MBA prospects - Completion of the MBA will open a lot of avenues and will help me to go up in the corporate ladder in quick time.

Self-employment - I have a family run business back home in my country. Therefore, I will be able to apply my knowledge that I gain from my MBA into its development.

Promotions at my current employment - As I have excelled well in my supervisory role at JD, once I have completed my MBA I can apply for store manager vacancies across London.

THREATS

Increased graduate unemployment around the world - Recent and prevailing recession has left many graduates finding difficult to get a job. Hence, should I be to change my career, it will be a real challenge for me to compete with them.

Many people doing MBAs - In recent years demand for MBA has gone up. Hence, there are many MBA qualified graduates out there, competing for the same job.

Based on the above self-awareness SWOT analysis, I have list down my immediate Personal Development Plan which I intend to pursue after completion of my MBA.

OBJECTIVE

To become the store manager and then the area manager within next 4 years.

STRUCTURE

Acquiring the MBA. I further need to participate in Supervisor Training Programmes conducted by JD Sports, Onsite training at different stores, Managers training programme at head office in order gain the necessary technical and managerial skills.

TIME LIMIT

To become the store manager within 10 months of completion of my studies and then to become an area manager within next three years.

RESOURCES NEEDED

Support required by current store manager and the area manager to ensure training time. Gain experience through application of different processes. Working in different stores with differing formats to understand the requirement of each format type and its nuances.

KOLB & LEWIN MODEL

I would like to introduce this method to measure personal performance. Learning styles specially transaction with characteristic styles of learning Kolb (1984) suggests a theory of experiential learning that involves four major stages: tangle experiences, reflective observation, theoretical conceptualization, and vigorous experimentation.

The CE/AC and AE/RO dimensions are glacial opposites as far as learning methods are concerned and Kolb postulates four types of beginners (divergers,assimilators,convergers and accommodators) depending upon their location on these two dimensions. For example, an accommodator prefers tangible experiences and vigorous experimentation (AE/CE)

An ordinary approach to viewing learning styles is linked to a learning series of experience, surveillance and mirror image, configuration and then testing of concepts. Although commonly referred to as the Kolb learning cycle this round was proposed by Kurt Lewin who got the idea from manage engineering. Kolb (1984) popularized Lewins proposal (hence the common title)

The four steps of the experiential learning cycle are:

1. Concrete experience

2. Observation and reflection

3. Abstract conceptualization

4. Testing concepts in new situations

The cycle is a continuous course with the the present "concrete experience "being the basis for observations and reflections, which allow the expansion of a 'theory 'the 'theory' is then tested in new situations to direct to more concrete experience.

Kolb developed from the Lewin sculpt the idea that students have a overriding phase of the cycle during which they prefer to learn and therefore will contain preferred modes of learning. In order to identify the preferred learn and learning styles, Kolb developed a learning style record that identified student's preference for the four modes corresponding to the stages in the learning series.

Conclusion

To understand the business requirements of a stores working from a holistic approach, including all process involved. To understand the different merchandising options for different store formats and gain good experience in the same. Understanding of the financial aspects of the firm in order to best manage them in order to be financially efficient. Learning how to best manage available resources to ensure the stores are able to provide excellent customer service at all times. JD way of acting is very competitive.

It is of vital importance that JD identifies its internal environment and the the areas those factors could be improved respect to the current economic situation in the country and the globe.

It would be interesting for them to keep intensifying and diversification to capture a higher number of customers developing sports clothes launching collections for people not in the JD line and to make sizes from the 34 to 44

Internally the company achieved to from an organizational culture and structure, specifically designed to maximize returns in terms of productivity and groth.more over evidence supports that the group supports an extensive training programme for its employees revolving around leadership and education.