Should district managers be held more accountable for store performance?
and Linda Montalbano, VP, Graff Retail
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of two articles from the blog of Graff Retail.
What happens when you transfer a “high output” manager to a poorly performing store? Typically, results improve almost overnight — solid reinforcement of the old expression: “As goes the manager, so goes the store.”
So, why don’t retailers take it to the next level? If a good manager can nearly guarantee strong store performance, shouldn’t a top-notch district manager (DM) be even more beneficial? After all, consistent, collective results are needed from many locations.
Unfortunately, DMs aren’t held very accountable for territory results — at least in comparison to store managers.
For store managers, all kinds of objectives and measurements are cranked out to make sure that each location can “hold its own” as a separate business unit. How frequently are DMs fired for poor performance?
Whether it’s because their role is perceived more as a supportive function than one of direct responsibility or we simply don’t establish and collect the necessary metrics to complete a proper territory evaluation, somehow the DM involved isn’t always held to task.
But some fundamental basics beyond employee diligence, effort and attitude have an impact on a DM’s results. How does staff turnover across their region compare with the rest of the company? What emphasis is placed on consistent recruiting efforts? Do district employees receive regular and relevant training? How is their district’s compliance with company procedures and standards?
DMs also receive less training themselves than almost anyone else in the company, yet they play a greater role (and therefore require more skills) than most. If DMs are so critical to company success, why aren’t retailers paying more attention to their development needs?
Bear in mind, this position can quickly become “the job from hell” in retail. DMs are often stuck in the middle, getting pressure from above to improve results and from staff below for more support.
There are thousands of DMs out there working hard every day. Give them the support they need to succeed — and measure them to ensure they are delivering the results you need.
- Great DM’s = Great Results – Graff Retail
- Are You Diligent in Holding Your District Managers Accountable? – Graff Retail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that district managers are not generally held as accountable as store managers? What recommendations do you have for optimizing a DM’s performance?