When Knowledge Doesn’t Translate into Action
By Maria Forbes
March 27, 2019
Matt is the General Manager of a corporate store. He makes decisions every day that influence the success of his operation. Matt has been on a continual campaign to improve the company’s hiring practices and overall operational performance of the corporate stores, but he has been unable to gain consensus from the Regional Management regarding gaps in the selection process.
With these gaps occurring at a level “above” him, Matt has to work against his problem solving grain each day to overcome the inaccuracies of his management teams. “Working with the top of the management chain is exhausting,” says Matt. He explains the lack of the right manpower makes it increasingly harder to manage operating costs and to meet sales goals due to high turnover and poor or inconsistent performance. “Our Regional Managers cycle through repeated hiring of store managers and we get the same result each time; no one that properly fits the role.” Not only does this lead to frustration and a low return on investment, but it inhibits Matt’s store and team from excelling.
“While these management hires have industry knowledge, it doesn’t necessarily translate into action, and as the General Manager of my location I am forced to manage talent that is given to me, by the Regional Manager. While these new store managers may have several years of industry knowledge, which is why they are hired in the first place, they are not always equipped to lead. Unfortunately, industry knowledge does not necessarily lead to appropriate execution of a leadership role, and therefore my store managers continuously under-perform.” The cycle continues even as Matt works to improve management training to gain better performance traction.
“Just because they know the industry well, doesn’t mean they can do this job. Even though candidates have ample industry experience, it seems that when they are put into an actual role, they don’t perform. They play to their knowledge, but don’t seem to hold themselves responsible for accurate results. I have to micro-manage the performance of my managers! I believe if that’s what I have to do to get acceptable performance, I don’t have the right people.”
Matt is clear that knowledge and skill are not the only abilities necessary for success in the management roles, and ultimately his frustrations lead to Regional approval for a store consultation with us to demonstrate the cause of Matt’s complaints. We assessed Matt’s expectations for executing the role of store manager. This filled the gap for Matt; providing the missing information that he desperately needed. The instinctive problem solving methods required for the role of store manager were revealed. We then graded the two store managers against this range of strengths. “They’re not missing knowledge,” says Matt. “They are missing natural abilities that should have shown up in the selection process. But more than that, the managers we hire did not previously seem teachable.” Matt didn’t think his managers had the ability to perform their role because the hiring manager did not account for how they execute the role; how they each will transfer industry knowledge into specific actions. “This is what we need in the selection process,” said Matt, “well before hiring and deployment to me.”
Through the work we have done with Matt and the Regional leadership, he can now train each manger according to their natural method of operation, and fill the gaps where needed, to avoid repeated training. This is thanks to having a better sense of their instincts and modis operandi for action through the assessments we completed and resources we provided. As a result, Matt’s Regional Manager is considering how instinctive problem solving methods complete the selection process and ensure a candidate’s right fit for the role of store manager. Matt is now customizing some aspects of training to correspond with each manager’s natural problem solving methods. Matt is able to reduce his personal overtime and he understands the strengths of each of his managers in a blend of efforts that meet their goals.
If you are experiencing challenges in the proper selection processes, contact us at FIREPOWER Teams – we are here to help!