The Secret DNA of High-Performing Teams

By Steve Baggi

If you could describe what makes a great store manager, what qualities spring to mind?

What specific actions and daily behaviours might they display?  

Now, imagine a world where you could bottle up those qualities and share them with every manager, across your whole store network, allowing them to become the best possible version of themselves and make a positive impact on their teams. At Kultralab, we’re about to embark on an exciting journey to help us do exactly that. Curious to find out more? 

Why Managers? 

We have a passion for managers. They’re the unsung superheroes of retail and consumer businesses, and they’re often underfunded, undertrained, and underappreciated. In fact, over a quarter of managers don’t feel ready to lead when they start managing others, with 58% receiving no training at all. 

Managers have the power to influence culture, engagement and performance within any organisation, overseeing such a large population of its people. Yet, they’re often the most stressed and are under the most pressure. 

They’re expected to adapt to ever-changing cultural expectations, firefight complex issues they’re not trained to cope with, and ensure their staff meet increased productivity targets. And with external issues like the current cost of living crisis to contend with, managers need to navigate their own declining mental health, as well as that of their teams, increasing their risk of burnout and overwhelm.  

One study conducted by Gallup even found that only 35% of U.S managers were engaged in their jobs, meaning that a staggering 65% were actively disengaged. This lack of manager engagement is having a significant toll on the consumer workforce, with one in 5 employees planning to quit according to Retail Trust. 

Something needs to change. 

How have the managers you’ve had influenced your experience at work?

Why High-Performing Store Teams? 

We’re on a mission to create healthy, thriving and high-performing cultures. And our decision to undergo this journey is born out of a burning desire to truly understand how managers and supervisors drive performance. We want to know: 

  1. What’s happening on a day-to-day basis in stores where performance is higher?
  2. What are managers doing differently in high-performing stores compared to under-performing stores?
  3. How can we use these insights to help everyone unlock their potential to become a high-performing manager and role model these key behaviours for their teams?

The difference between the impact a highly engaged manager can make compared to a disengaged manager is paramount. That’s why many retail businesses have already attempted to answer these crucial questions.  

But here’s the problem: they’re often looking in all the wrong places, trying to understand it from the lens of skills, rather than focusing on the consistent micro-actions and behaviours that those individuals are doing on a daily basis that create those conditions. 

Thinking about the best manager you’ve ever had, what specific micro-actions and behaviours did they possess that positively impacted your performance and engagement? 

What Sets Our Research Apart?  

As part of our research, we’ll combine behavioural science and academic rigour to truly understand what makes a high-performing manager. We’ll be partnering with the University of Manchester to leverage their expertise, knowledge and insights to ensure our research design and methodology meets the highest standards. 

We’ll also work closely with the industry, partnering with over 20 global consumer retail businesses. And we’re not basing our insights on theory alone: we’ll be getting into stores, interviewing their people and watching them in situ, as well as bringing in various recognised behavioural science methodologies to underpin our thinking. 

Partnership with Sir Clive Woodward 

We’re very excited to announce that Sir Clive Woodward, Strategic Advisor for Organisational Performance, will be chairing this year’s report on high-performing teams. 

He has a vast wealth of expertise in coaching high-performing teams, having been Director of Sport for Team GB at London 2012 and leading the England rugby team to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.  

Sir Clive will be providing his insights and perspectives on the findings and supporting the research across selected events in the coming months. 

The Outcome 

We believe our insights will make a profound impact within the retail and consumer-facing space and its managers. Our research will provide us with the data to confidently answer: 

  1. How can we help managers understand what are the key behaviours that make a difference to this teams?
  2. How can we use our unique AI coach, Kultra to coach these behaviours at scale to managers and a supervisors?
  3. How can we help managers role model these behaviours consistently in their day-to-day-lives?

In essence, we’ll have the secret DNA to ensure every manager can become a superhero. 

Join us on this exciting journey as we uncover the secrets to high-performing teams. Together, we can revolutionise the world of retail and consumer businesses.  

To learn more about how Kultralab is partnering with organisations to help them promote positive, long-term and sustainable behavioural change across your store teams, please get in