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“We developed a great plan. So why did the rollout to the field fail?”

Problems like this may lie with the Multi-Unit Manager–the conduit between the home office and the field. This District Manager or Area Manager is the company voice, “touching” the units and the employees actually responsible for a plan’s execution. But do they have the skills, behaviors and competencies to communicate, influence and motivate?

The multi-unit manager has the most influence on the unit’s manager and staff and, therefore, on its performance.  Focusing a field staff on key metrics, or driving a new program launch or managing payroll and turnover, for example, can have multi-million dollar consequences.

The DM role requires a diverse—and rather unusual–skill set of leadership abilities, operational knowledge, problem-solving skills, communication skills and coaching skills to effectively execute a corporation’s strategy in the unit and, ultimately, to the customers. 

Some of the necessary skills include the ability to:

  • manage and motivate people without seeing or speaking to them daily
  • self-motivate with the confidence necessary to make one’s own schedule
  • decide what information to prioritize and disseminate…or to ignore
  • understand both corporate (macro) and field (micro) points of view
  • delegate responsibility to field personnel where appropriate
  • lead by communication in addition to personal unit visits—and how to get the most from those visits

These required skills can be taught, learned and coached over a relatively short time.

Because a good plan shouldn’t go to waste.