Problem Solver: How did you manage all the managers when you were at Superquinn?
Q: I want to change the structure of my business, particularly how many managers I should have and different levels. How did you decide on the manager structure in Superquinn?
A: While we did have a formal structure which was made up of a Board of Management, managers, assistant managers and duty managers, my view was that in fact everyone was a manager.
One of the things we did in the earlier stages of the company was we went to each member of staff and gave them responsibility for a particular section.
That would have meant that the young 19-year-old, who had only been working with us 12 months, might have had responsibility for the snacks section.
The reaction was really great. First of all staff felt a far greater sense of responsibility and ownership and were more focused on their own section. Peer pressure meant they always tried to outdo each other, in terms of merchandising standards, etc. We also found we got a whole lot of new suggestions and ideas once staff were given responsibility for areas.
They were able to tell us things that we never knew before about their particular area. Now we had someone who cared about the section, and wanted it to be the best in the shop.
My advice would be to set up the senior management structures which you need and certainly try and keep these as flat as you can, so you don't have too many layers.
In addition to this I think you should also empower every single member of staff to have responsibility for a particular part of the business, as there are tremendous benefits to be gained from this.
As a side benefit you will see motivational levels rocketing up also, as your staff will tend to operate more as one singular team than individuals.
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