We believe the role of the District Manager is probably the one that can affect sales the most out of any other role in a retail organization. Think about it. DM’s are out there in the field, hands-on, leading multiple stores per region from coast to coast. On average, most District Managers are responsible for 10 to 15 stores each. One region represents a significant portion of the sales volume for a retailer. An under-performing region can greatly affect the bottom line of a company, yet, DM’s receive the least amount of training when compared to other store operation roles. Why is this?
We’ve seen hundreds of territory managers over the years of offering our 3-Day workshop for DM’s. When we started this workshop about 12 years ago, the idea of DM role-specific training was unheard of with retail organizations. They didn’t have any formal training in place. Even public programs like ours were few and far between; certainly not much out there specifically designed for the retail industry. When our workshop participants share their career path, most would say they were promoted to DM because they ran one of the top stores in the company. I guess that’s a start, but for anyone who has run 1 store and then moved on to run an entire region, they will tell you, it doesn’t even come close to being the same thing!
Times have changed a bit and retailers have shifted their thinking on succession planning for the District Manager role. It’s less common now to see store managers just thrown into the position; sink or swim. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that most DM’s don’t receive developmental training. It’s usually ‘one and done’ for them. We’re talking about Training that helps a District Manager evolve in the role as the company grows. Their skill set remains the same, yet the retail business growth is huge. It’s becoming difficult for District Managers to affect the business without Operations Departments and HR Departments investing in their key leaders out in the field. That’s why we are bringing back our “famous” 3 Day District Manager Workshop this fall! We owe it to all our retail clients; and the retail industry as a whole; to keep this DM-specific training available to help grow careers, grow territories and see retail continue to succeed!
At Graff Retail, we have always had compassion and respect for our DM friends out there. We’ve shared our observations on training (or lack of training) at this level, now we want to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what kind of training you have under your belt and what kind of training you think you still need to continue to lead your store teams. Ops Departments, we encourage you to speak up too…what have you done for your DM’s lately? Let’s talk it up so we can all affect change, grow and improve!