Leadership, store standards, and creating success

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The difference between meeting, exceeding, or falling short of goal often comes down to one thing – leadership.

We see it all the time. Most stores in a chain might be struggling but some are doing well. While that can sometimes be attributed to a strong location or the local economy, more often than not it’s store leadership that makes the difference.

The biggest difference I see among retail leaders is in the standard they set for engaging and selling each customer. I’m not talking about the standard that’s handed down from a corporate office or the owner. While it is important that the aspirational standard be articulated to stores and staff, the real standard comes from the local leader.

The store standard isn’t what the company says it is. The store standard is the behaviors a manager/owner demonstrates and accepts from his/her team.

I’ll say that again: The store standard is the behaviors the manager/owner demonstrates and accepts from his/her team. This is why there are wide discrepancies from store to store and chain to chain.

I’ve written before about “The Turnaround Artist” I had at Bose who could go into virtually any struggling store and turn it around. He was able to do that because the store standard changed, based on what he did on the floor and what he would accept from others.

This is what successful managers do to demonstrate the right behavior:

1. The successful manager waits on customers when all the other employees aren‘t busy. That way the staff can see them demonstrate the appropriate behavior. A lot of managers only wait on customers if all the other employees are busy. That’s not the message you want to send!

2. Successful managers ask for employee feedback on their on-floor behavior. Not just because they want the feedback but, more important, they want the staff to be keenly observing their interactions with customers.

3. They regularly practice/roleplay with the staff and always let the employee play the customer first. It’s easier to emulate what the manager does than what the manager tells you to do.

This is what successful managers do to ensure they are getting the right behavior from their team:

1. They constantly give their employees feedback on how they are working with customers. They praise when appropriate and give improvement instruction when the employee’s actions fail to meet the standard the manager has set.

2. They coach people to the next level. They know that no matter how good someone is, they can help that person be even better. This way they also keep raising the store standards, and that keeps raising the store results.

3. And while it rarely comes to this, successful managers move out underperforming employees. They know that the store standard is where the weakest employee regularly performs because that’s what they’ve chosen to accept.

So let me ask, based on the behaviors you demonstrate and accept from your team, what is your store standard? I know that many of you can proudly say it’s high.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.

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