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    Study Dissects the DNA of Successful Store Managers

    ATLANTA -¿ In addition to concentrating on financial performance, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction, retail managers should hone in on performance relative to market potential, true customer loyalty, and true employee loyalty and engagement, according to the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council.

    ATLANTA -– In addition to concentrating on financial performance, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction, retail managers should hone in on performance relative to market potential, true customer loyalty, and true employee loyalty and engagement, according to the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council (CCRRC).

    The study, "Getting to Great: Mapping Management Practices that Drive Great Store Performance," concluded that leaders who strive for these outcomes are most likely to maximize a store's financial performance.

    The year-long research effort revealed common practices of "great performers" that can be used by any management team to improve store performance -- in a single location or across an entire chain, according to CCRRC.

    Working in concert with the FranklinCovey Company, CCRRC began the study with an 18-month financial analysis of 141 stores to determine high, medium, and low rankings. Researchers then compared each store's financial result with its market potential. After they assessed this information, research focused on a subset of 30 stores, developing in-depth data regarding customer loyalty, as well as employee loyalty and engagement. By mapping this data with financial results relative to market potential and actual financial results, the truly outstanding stores emerged. To gain further insight, researchers then assessed the behaviors of the managers in the identified stores.

    The four practices consistently followed by best managers, according to the report, include:

    1. Ensure Clarity and Commitment to Goals: Great performers make sure everybody knows the plan; weaker ones leave employees in the dark. Success can be attributed to those who focus on a few critically important organizational goals, establish clear measures, and involve the whole team in selecting goals and consistent communications.

    2. Get Everyone to Focus on the Key Drivers: Great performers enlist everyone in actions that drive toward the main goal; lesser performers often focus on drivers that don't have meaningful impact. Among the behaviors to emulate: Identify the few vital activities that have the most impact, establish and monitor lead measures, create related incentives, and monitor competitive situations between departments -- some work and some cause discourse.

    3. Implement Simple Mechanisms that Propel Goal Achievement: Great performers adopt meaningful measuring devices; underperformers "just hang posters." Identified successful behaviors include visible and compelling tracking mechanisms, consistent information and timely updates.

    4. Establish a Constant Cadence of Accountability: Great performers make accountability a part of the daily routine; lesser performers don't build team accountability. Recommended behaviors include: Establish a reliable routine for holding people accountable, celebrate successes, understand failures and challenges, examine measures on a regular basis, and solicit feedback.

    In addition to the study, the council has developed two downloadable tools to help retailers apply recommended strategies in their own environment. Retailers can download the tools from the CCRRC Web site (www.ccrrc.org) beginning June 30 to apply research findings in their own environment. Tools include a workbook and an employee questionnaire to calculate a baseline score for each of the four practices detailed in the report.

    The CCRRC is an organization of food retailers and wholesalers. The council was created by The Coca-Cola Co. to address issues of strategic importance to the North American supermarket industry.

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