June 6, 2020, marks the seventy-sixth anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, France. This likely will be the last significant gathering of surviving veterans. US, British, and Canadian events will take place honoring this special memory of those who remain and those who fought the battle to take back Europe from Hitler’s regime.
This brilliantly planned and executed invasion took several years to put in place. Roughly 156,000 troops landed in Normandy on D-Day. An impressive 11,500 Allied aircraft took part, carrying 23,760 airborne troops. Nearly 7,000 Allied vessels were utilized in the invasion. At the end of the day, more than 10,000 Allied and a similar number of German casualties were sustained. It would take another ten months before Germany was defeated and peace restored.
I have always contended that we can learn a lot about implementing business strategies by studying military history. The components of the Normandy invasion were planning, preparation, logistics, execution, and evaluation. Now with every project, program, or presentation that asset protection makes, I suggest all these components be considered. This is true for single-store managers as well as district, regional, and corporate executives regardless of the battle that needs to be fought. Briefly, let’s look at them individually.
Planning. You will increase your success rate tenfold if you involve others in the development of the plan— operations, stores, IT, supply chain, merchants, and most importantly the expertise of solution providers. You can get expert advice from each of these areas in putting together an acceptable return on investment with your financial partners. Don’t shortcut the planning process. More is better than less. Go the extra mile.
Preparation. This is the preparation required to be successful. Nothing is more important than engaging those who will be the implementors, from the lowest-level LP associate to the hourly associates. Training and educating these people will get their buy in. General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied troops, often would say that the battle will be won by the foot soldiers, not the commanders.
Logistics. Every successful retailer I know has strong logistics teams and efficient programs. Often, a simple question to these experts—“How would you do this?”—will put you way ahead of the game and enhance your success rate.
Execution. If you have done your planning and preparation and sought out advice, your execution is just a matter of saying, “Let’s go.”
Evaluation. Every program, project, or presentation must be reviewed often. Shout out your successes and learn from those things you need to do better. Remember that statements on success start with the word “we,” and statements on setbacks start with the word “I.”
As an amateur World War II military historian, I have so much admiration for those involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of the Normandy invasion. And as an observer of asset protection practitioners who utilize all at their disposal to implement successful plans, I have the same admiration.
Lastly, I know a guy who is celebrating his fiftieth year in this business of loss prevention, and I want to say congratulations to him for his survival. Well done.