It has been announced that David Potts, the CEO of Morrisons supermarkets, is sending his headquarters staff to spend a week working in stores over Easter. This follows a similar move by Dave Leahy of Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, along similar lines.
Potts is hoping that the knowledge and experience gained – particularly around the views of customers and staff in the stores – will help Morrisons to fight back against the rise of discount retailers and convenience stores. In the future all 2000 headquarters staff are to spend a week a year working in stores – a major shift in priorities.
The process is outlined in the book Host Leadership. Time spent ‘with the guests’ and ‘in the gallery’ – alongside staff and customers, rather than standing in the spotlight and talking at them, is a key element of leading as a host. The act of co-participating, being a part of the work rather than simply in charge of it, sends clear and coherent messages to staff about the importance of their work and how vital is it. The leaders concerned gain vital knowledge too!