When Knowledge Doesn’t Translate

By Maria Forbes
September 30, 2015

tin-can-telephoneMatt is the General Manager of a corporate store. He makes decisions every day that influence the performance of his operation. Matt has been on a continual campaign to improve the hiring practices and overall operational performance of the corporate stores, but he is unable to gain the agreement of Regional Management, that there are problems with the selection process.
With gaps in hiring and selection processes, this leader has to work against his problem solving grain each day, to overcome the inaccuracies of his management teams. 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. “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.”
“What they know does not translate into actions, and as the General Manager of my location I am forced to manage talent that is given to me, by the Regional Manager. New store managers have several years of industry knowledge and they are hired on this basis. Unfortunately, industry knowledge is not supported by appropriate execution of the role, and therefore my store managers continuously underperform.” This is happening 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, when they are put into the role they don’t perform. They play to their knowledge, but they 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 role. His frustrations finally lead to regional approval for a store consultation 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.”
Now Matt can train each manger according to their natural method of operation, and fill the gaps where needed, to avoid repeated training. 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 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!

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