Multi-Unit Managers: The greatest actors of all time and how we are potentially letting them down
Posted on 15th August 2022 at 14:24
Becoming a homegrown Multi-Unit Manager (MUM) is arguably the most challenging step an individual will ever take
Moving from the rung of General Manager to that of area, regional, cluster or operations manager is tough.
As a General Manager the impact of all actions is felt by somewhere from 5 to 50 people typically. As a Multi-Unit Manager the impact can quadruple at least, literally overnight. With the step away from the GM rung on the ladder to that of MUM, the number of individuals that can be impacted by actions taken rises exponentially.
Whilst the role undoubtedly becomes a bigger one, interacting with more people socially, dealing with more complex issues, identifying bigger revenue opportunities it also can become a much lonelier one. The Individual will have been used to being surrounded by team, customers and the noise and buzz of constant activity that goes with it. Yet alongside the transition into the bigger MUM role arrives the moments of solitude and isolation spent travelling between units.
With the career advancement comes a greater sense of pressure on the individual. After all we praise ourselves for developing internally, for hitting our internal succession targets and for helping an individual rise to the next challenge and we promote them internally to the role of MUM yet we anticipate that performance will only be positively impacted. We may provide the amateur MUM time to settle into the role but in today's hard and competitive trading environments there is a pressure on that individual to deliver almost immediately.
Life is a stage & everyone is an actor!
William Shakespeare is famous for announcing all life to be a stage and never has there been a more valuable statement in service organisations where all performance, regardless of role or level, is designed to leave a positive impression on the customer. Just like attending a musical on Broadway or in the West End, the consumer pays a price to be made to feel something at an emotional level. Be that uplifting or raw, exciting or fear invoking - it is designed to leave an impact!
If you have grown up in the hospitality industry you will, no doubt, remember the teachings from the Disney Institute. Most notably the "Smile! You are entering the stage" typically pasted to the back of the Front of House door to remind you as soon as that door opens you enter onto the stage with the clear goal of delighting the customer, through the delivery of the service or more latterly the experience.
Professor Dan McAdams from Northwestern University posits that everyone is an actor with their life being the drama containing acts and chapters that change and evolve over time. As an individual transitions from the role of a General Manager, through internal succession planning and talent development, impacting an audience of circa 50 to a Multi-Unit Manager impacting an audience of 500, what acting training are we providing them with to truly deliver exceptional performance from the get go? Of course, they will have been given new tools, new structures, handbooks, systems, buddies etc. etc. etc., but what physical training will they have received to help them transition?
Behaviour & Emotion are not 'soft' skills
How often, in developing GM's to MUM's, do we place the right focus and resource on their behaviours, their communication styles and preferences, their understanding of who they are and how they show up - after all impacting 50 is one thing but impacting 500 is quite another. How often do we provide the support to help them self-regulate their emotions now that their stage is so much more vast, their isolation is more acute and their need for delivering results is immediate?
The reality is often that organisations have simply not realised that these areas of development are crucial to success and leveraging improved performance financially. The amateur Multi-Unit Manager will have the phone, the laptop, the car and the basic skills to do the job. However, doing the job and delivering exceptional results are very different entities with the latter the result of a combined focus on the task and the emotions of the role. A Multi-Unit Manager's emotions and the regulation of them are key in motivating a team to greatness and a great opportunity for an organisation to invest in to super charge performance and jump ahead of the competitive set. After all the service industry is now in a phase we call the experiential economy where it is less what you deliver and more what and how you make a customer feel - so surely investing in emotions is all part of the changing landscape of the service delivery industry to the experiential and often virtual one!
Imagine taking an actor from an amateur dramatic society performing in the local church hall to an audience of 50 and then dropping them onto a stage in the West End. Of course, they will have a better script and more expensive costumes but without helping them master their emotions they would crumble and negatively impact the audience who had paid to see the production. Word of mouth would spread and performance revenues would be down year on year. So why do we consider doing this for a Multi-Unit Manager to be acceptable?
The key to high performing Multi-Unit Managers is to provide technical skills training, tools to do the job at a physical level combined with the provision of emotional skills training leading to enhanced self-regulation and connection with their audience!
In addition, Purple Story understands that one of the biggest limiting factors in the modern workplace is confidence. A lack of confidence can be the difference between fulfilling one's own potential or not and as such is critical to tackle head on.
Purple Story specialises in developing leaders and their style of leadership, based on behavioural skills and in particular leading with foundations of confidence and trust.
Contact us for a friendly chat to find out more
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