Are You Getting Great Performance From Your DMs?
What happens when you transfer a ‘high output’ manager into a poorly performing store? No surprise here. As every experienced retailer knows, this single action ensures that results will improve almost overnight. Solid reinforcement of the old expression “As goes the manager, so goes the store.”
Considering the power of this ‘retail truth’, why not take it to the next level? If a good manager can almost guarantee strong store performance, what is the impact of a top notch District Manager? After all, your fortunes aren’t based on the output of a single store. You need consistent, collective results from many locations.
Over the past 30+ years, we’ve worked with literally hundreds of District Managers. Through our customized in-house programs and our ever-popular open DM Workshops, we’ve had the opportunity to help develop this influential group of people and personally observe their subsequent performance. This experience has taught us another critical retailing truth … if you want better results, make sure that you have great DM’s running your territories!
Why isn’t the typical retailer getting this level of performance from their territory managers?
- DM’s aren’t held very accountable for territory results (at least in comparison to the degree of accountability we push on store managers). When was the last time you fired a DM for poor performance? What’s stopping you? This job carries a huge responsibility and it must be managed accordingly.
- DM’s receive less training than almost anyone else in the company, yet they play a greater role (and therefore require more skills) than most. What’s up with that? If your DM’s are so critical to your success, why aren’t you paying more attention to their development needs?
Bear in mind, however, that this position can quickly become ‘the job from hell’ in retail. District Managers are often stuck in the middle, getting pressure from above to improve results and from staff below for more support. Everyone looks to these key players for leadership and success. Obviously, special attention must be paid to their training and development.
We’ve had the pleasure of meeting dozens of outstanding DM’s. They get it, they know how to do it and they generate outstanding results. Unfortunately, we’ve encountered many more who simply aren’t cutting it currently and are slowly drowning.
Bottom line? If you haven’t provided them with the skills they need to succeed, you’re cheating your territory managers … and yourself!!
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