Large multi-unit companies have store managers, district managers, regional managers, corporate-level directors, and more. Luckily, they all speak management, so companies shouldn’t ever face communication challenges, right? While we know communication is critical, it’s just not that easy. Different levels of management focus on entirely different areas… that’s one of the reasons we have so many managers in large orgs. So how can managers better understand each other to improve cross-position communication?

In this series, we’re looking at management and focus. Where do district managers focus and how can store managers understand that level? Where do directors of store operations focus and how can the district managers translate between that higher level and the store level?

The first article in the series is tackling time and how time affects the perspectives, duties, and performance of each level of management. Different levels of management think on different schedules. Understanding the different timelines relevant to multi-level management can help boost communication between corporate, regional, and on-site staff—and help your organization develop effective and enduring relationships.

Let’s begin with the big picture.

Managers at the corporate or directorial level must view the operations of the business on a wider scale. Regardless of their specific role (for example—financial, operational, or HR) corporate managers must take into consideration the loooooong view. Long-term success is the name of the game.

They talk analysis, strategic development, and planning, and this requires a wide lens—sometimes taking into account several years of historic operations, in order to plan 3-5 years into the future. This is necessary, to ensure that the entire enterprise is operating with purpose, and will continue to meet metrics and grow. It’s a platitude, but if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

It is the responsibility of corporate-level managers to maintain this strategic, visionary outlook—and to break it down into effective milestones, which can be clearly communicated to those at the district or regional level. To break it down further, regional managers operate from an entirely different perspective of time. Their timeline generally revolves around mid-level markers—meaning, they are focused on executing corporate strategies and monitoring regional performance, in order to meet yearly and quarterly goals.

Regional managers need to think about timely performance, short-term goals, and important near-term milestones. They translate the corporate vision to onsite management, which means consistent performance monitoring and reports—what’s working, what’s failing, and how can we all respond soon?

This immediacy really speaks to the position of local store managers. On-site staff are the forward-facing front lines of any multi-level retail enterprise, and their timeline is concerned with day-to-day operations. If the corporate-level views time on a calendar, and regional management on a clock—then store management views each day from the perspective of the second hand. It’s always moving.

On-site managers are responsible for ensuring that the daily needs of customers and clients are met consistently and effectively. Their timeline is focused on achieving daily, weekly, and monthly goals—and they do this by putting the plans of corporate and regional managers into action.

On-site managers are also responsible for collecting, maintaining, and submitting data which accurately reflects their real-time results—allowing higher-level management to assess, and (if necessary) adjust their expectations, milestones, and metrics. This requires an understanding of the timelines and perspectives of both district and corporate management, in order to ensure that information is reported clearly, efficiently, and within the appropriate timeframe.

So what really matters?

Time is of the essence when it comes to positive and proactive multi-level management—and an understanding of the ways in which time affects the managerial perspective is absolutely essential. Time affects what information is collected and how it is used. If your management understands their timelines—and the timelines of the other important management areas—you can build stronger, more productive communication.

Want to take your efforts a step further? An effective Store Relationship Management (SRM) solution will provide your multi-level managerial team with the data and insights they need to effectively communicate expectations, coordinate efforts, and track performance across all levels of operation – driving company-wide collaboration.

Wondering if your multi-level organization might benefit from an SRM platform? Download our white paper to learn more.