8/19/2009 1:19:00 PM
The captains on the front line
An American baseball player, Chuck Tanner, once said: ‘I don’t think a manager should be judged on whether they win the pennant, but on whether they got the most out of the 25 players they had in the squad.’ The best store managers aren’t necessarily the ones who make the most money, but those who identify the opportunities and challenges of the store and get the most out of their team.
Many businesses are aware of the store manager’s critical role, but few recognise or grow it effectively. Most companies recruit managers internally, but then fail to prepare them for their new expectations. A store manager’s responsibilities are very different to a salesperson. They include: recruit and develop a team; achieve sales targets they have not set; ensure operating standards are met (and implement all the new ones); deliver exceptional customer service; review and provide feedback on competition activity.
Managers are the ambassadors for that business. I have never
been to a bad store that a good manager could not fix, and have never been to a good store that a bad manager could not ruin. Managers can impact store profitability and customer experience levels by at least 50% if prepared, supported and managed effectively – yet most companies spend little time or resources in their development compared to executives, field management or sales teams themselves.
A French novelist, Gustave Flaubert, once said: ‘How you measure the performance of your managers directly affects the way they act.’ In my experience, he is exactly right. Historically, manager reward schemes have been based upon sales, profit or operational effectiveness – so there was no incentive for them to spend time developing people or the customer experience (the best managers realised how important this was and just did it anyway).
When companies realise that rewarding managers for how they grow and develop their own teams, and when team feedback counts as much towards a managers bonus as their stock result or clawback percentage, then we will start to see dramatic improvements in customer conversion, average transaction value and long term