Retail Management

Being Store Manager – Like Being Captain of a Ship

Jason Kerluck, I'll Take Little Sales All Day Long, Being Store Manager - Like Being Captain of a Ship, Lack of Capacity & Capability

Being a Store Manager is Like Being the Captain of a Ship

Buy-in is key to a manager going from good to great. At all levels of management, we see differing levels of buy-in. But. for many, being a Store Manager is a special position. The truth is that many store managers see themselves as simply employees of the business they work for. There’s no connection to the store itself, it’s just a job. However, the real management stars see themselves as much more. They take ownership of their store and count it as their own. Those managers see themselves not as an employee of the store….but the Captain of the Ship.

I have often encouraged new managers to mentally own their store….to the point that I tell them to walk around before or after store open, touch the counters and the shelves and say “This is my store….this is my store.” It sounds funny….but with the right candidate, it really works! Once the manager has bought-in to the fact that they are responsible for its success, or lack thereof….they go from being just an employee…to being the Captain!

I often run a Captain-ish scenario by new managers that really makes it clear what the right mindset is to be that Captain….I’ll share it with you.

It’s 5:00 p.m., the shift is done, and you’re happy to be headed to your bunk. At 7:30, the crew calls down to you to tell you that the ship is in trouble and is at risk of sinking. A true Captain won’t reply that they’ll be back in at 9:00, and only then will they worry about that annoying sinking problem. NO!! They will jump to their feet and become part of the solution. They will work with resolve and address the matter fully before heading back to the bunk. That said, a well run ship shouldn’t encounter this often anyway. But knowing they have a Captain who is ready at a moments notice is pretty darn reassuring to the crew.

Sounds pretty basic and logical…but ask yourself how many store managers would rather stay in their bunk? And what would the crew come to think of such a manager? Far too many Store Managers are eager to leave and the staff feels it, as well as reflects that lack of ownership.

So here’s a bit of homework. For District and Regional Managers (Who would be like Admirals in this case!), ask yourself…. “How many true Captains do I have?”. And to Store Managers, ask yourself…. “What kind of Captain am I?”

Being a Store Manager is a special job…one that needs the right Captain. And as one Enterprising Captain said to another “…while you’re there… you can make a difference.”

Make it So!