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					WEGMANS FOOD MARKETS                                                                   KONZEPTE




   WEGMANS LEADERSHIP
   UNIVERSITY : LEADING TO



   NO.1
                                                                                                                      S. 35




       Top management par ticipates in Wegmans Leadership
                                                              University. By Tom Brady
                             In 2001, Danny Wegman, President        company located in Rochester, N.Y. In 1921,
                   •••       and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets         John and Walter Wegman purchased the Seel
                             Inc., issued a challenge to become #1   Grocery Co. and expanded operations to in-
                  in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies          clude general groceries and bakery operations.
                  to Work For” list.                                 Under the leadership of Robert Wegman, be-
                  At the time, Wegmans was #66 and had been          ginning in 1937, Wegmans has grown to a 71
                  on the list since its inception in 1998, when      store chain in the mid-Atlantic region of the
                  they were at their highest ranking of #16. While   United States with $3.8 billion in sales 2005,
                  many initiatives were started given that chal-     up 69 percent since 1996 with 3 to 5 times the
                  lenge, leadership development was seen as a        overall margins found across the industry.
                  key element to achieving #1 status.                While Wegmans is known for its wide selection,
                  Wegmans is a family-owned, privately-held          its focus on fresh and prepared food, and
        WEGMANS FOOD MARKETS


        unparalleled customer service, more impor-           quite a buzz, we orchestrated a dialogue with
        tantly, they have a deep-rooted philosophy that      senior management describing “Level 5 Lead-
        employees are its greatest asset and they are        ership” in Wegmans terms using The XLR8
        treated as such. In return, the full-time emplo-     Team’s self and 360° assessments which
        yees reward the company by having a turnover         created the foundation for the leadership de-




        rate which ranges from 6 – 8 percent, less than      velopment efforts through a strong foundation      Bethlehem, PA is one of the
        half the industry average. As stated by Jo Nata-     of internal and external coaching.                 71 locations of Wegmans Food
        le, a Wegmans spokesperson:                          The first two leadership kick-off weeks in late    Markets, Inc.
                                                             2002 began using the “XLR8 YOU!!! Becoming         The late Robert Wegman with
        “THE WEGMANS FAMILY                                  a Leader” process (see figure on the following     his grand-daughters Colleen and
        ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT IN ORDER                        page). It has since been incorporated into         Nicole, and his son Danny Weg-
        TO GET THE FINEST CUSTOMER                           Wegmans Leadership University and renamed          man (left to right).
S. 36   SERVICE, WE NEEDED TO PUT OUR                        “Excellence in Leadership” and is offered to the
        EMPLOYEES FIRST.”                                    Store Manager/VP level and above. While still
                                                             facilitated by XLR8 Team coaches, the leader-
        While employees enjoy a number of benefits           ship week experience consists of a mixture of
        not common among their competitors, Weg-             Wegmans leaders and leaders from other XLR8
        mans also believes that a vast majority of emp-      Team clients providing a unique leadership
        loyee turnover, 80% as demonstrated in some          learning community.
        studies, is related to an unsatisfactory relation-   In the words of Gary Woloszyn, 25 year veteran
        ship with a manager or supervisor.                   Store Manager at Wegmans:
        This prompted Danny Wegman to publish the
        “Who We Are Values” of respect, high stan-           “I REALLY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO
        dards, empowerment, caring and making a dif-         EXPECT, BUT IT WAS THE MOST
        ference in 2001 that now serves as the founda-       EXCITING PROGRAM I EVER WENT
        tion for leadership selection and development.       TO. IT WAS SO REFRESHING I
        Over the years, Wegmans has utilized numer-          KNOW I WILL LOCK A PIECE OF IT
        ous external leadership development programs.        AWAY FOREVER. I LOOK FORWARD
        In the late 1990’s, in conjunction with an out-      TO SEEING TOM IN MY STORE
        side consultant, they began with a stand alone,      SOON.”
        customized 360° process for middle
        management.                                          The key elements of the “XLR8 YOU!!! Be-
        Then in early 2001, Jack DePeters, Senior VP         coming a Leader” process are:
        for Store Operations, hired The XLR8 Team,           • Top management describing leadership ex-
        Inc. to coach a store manager. The store               cellence.
        manager was engaged in the “XLR8 YOU!!!              • Top management enrollment, “graduation”,
        Becoming a Leader” process on a one-to-one             and co-coaching with The XLR8 Team, Inc.
        basis and showed excellent progress.                 • Extensive pre-leadership week coaching with
        Since Wegmans was expanding quickly with               an XLR8 Team coach building trust and rapport.
        relatively young and inexperienced Store Man-        • A week-long kick-off workshop for self reflec-
        agers in their new markets, they became the            tion and communal learning.
        initial target group. However, since the XLR8        • 12 to 15 months of ongoing coaching with
        Team was new to the company, time needed               periodic co-coaching updates with their
        to be spent gaining commitment from senior             supervisor.
        management.                                          • A second 360° assessment to measure pro-
        With “Good to Great” by Jim Collins creating           gress, leading to “graduation” and a coaching
                                                                                                                            KONZEPTE


hand-over to their supervisor.                       This will not only ensure that the great Weg-
In 2005, Wegmans became the “#1 Company              mans culture will endure and continuously im-
to Work For“ in Fortune Magazine’s list of the       prove, but also assist in expediting the creation
“100 Best Places to Work For”. It was also           of the culture that is the foundation of their
named to the Fortune Magazine’s Hall of Fame         reputation while expanding into new markets.




for being in the Top 100 for all 8 years of the
list’s existence. Danny Wegman stated:                               XLR8 YOU!!! Becoming a Leader
“ONE OF THE REASONS WE MADE
IT TO #1 IS THE LEADERSHIP
DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS OF TOM
BRADY AND THE XLR8 TEAM!”
                                                             Orientation           Leadership Week                  Follow-up            Graduation &                       S. 37
To date, over 90 Wegmans senior leaders have               (2-3 months prior)           (41⁄2 days)                 Coaching              Continuous
participated in Wegmans Leadership University’s                                                                                            Learning
“Excellence in Leadership” process. While pri-              Pre-Kickoff                Attend                       Coaching                 Continue
marily in store operations, senior leaders in cor-        Preparation for          Leadership Week                  Sessions                Leadership
porate and distribution are now enrolling.               Leadership Week                (4 1⁄2 days)              (12- 15 months)            Journey
The XLR8 Team, Inc. has also worked with                        (6 hours)                                                                  (2 – 3 months)
                                                                                   • Enhanced Self             • Share “In Search for
internal Wegmans leadership to cascade Weg-              • Complete Self & 360°
                                                                                     Awareness                   Adventure” notebook
                                                                                                                                        • Complete 2nd 360°
                                                                                   • Clarity re: Inner           with raters and
mans Leadership University down to middle                  assessments
                                                                                     Guidance system             supervisor               assessments:
                                                         • Review Self                                                                    measure improvements
(“Leadership in Action”) and entry level (“Lear-           Assessments Success
                                                                                   • Realistic assessment
                                                                                     of leadership practices
                                                                                                               • Finalize Leadership
                                                                                                                 Development Learning   • Feedback from raters
                                                           Discovery Process                                                              & supervisor
ning to Lead”) management. Key elements of                 with XLR8 Coach
                                                                                     and leadership values       Plan
                                                                                                                                        • Update/revise
                                                                                   • Improved coaching           - 360° raters’ feed-
the structure are:                                       • Listen/read/debrief
                                                           pre-work materials
                                                                                     capabilities                back                     Leadership
                                                                                                                                          Development Learning
                                                                                   • Create “In Search for       - Supervisor’s input
• Describing leadership success at each level of         • Gather Unique Ability
                                                                                     Adventure” notebook       • Extend learnings to      Plan
                                                           data                                                                         • “Graduation” session
   the company in the Wegmans language                   • Partner with
                                                                                     - Preliminary               direct reports
                                                                                                                                          with Supervisor –
                                                                                       Leadership                - Self Assessments
• Co-coaching and ongoing coaching by “                    participant’s super-
                                                           visor
                                                                                       Development Plan          & Success Discovery      “hand-off” ongoing
                                                                                                                                          coaching
                                                                                   • Creating a unique lear-     coaching
   graduates” of higher levels of WLU                                                ning community              - Teambuilding         • Recommended
                                                                                                                                          - Cultural Values
• Use of common tools and assessments top to                                                                   • Cultural Values
                                                                                                                 Assessment
                                                                                                                                          Assessment and
                                                                                                                                          Development with
   bottom                                                                                                      • Ongoing plan monito-
                                                                                                                                          ongoing coaching
                                                                                                                 ring & revisions
The future of Leadership Development will now                                                                  • Periodic co-coa-
                                                                                                                 ching sessions with
focus on cultural capital development using                                                                      Supervisor
Richard Barrett’s “Building a Values-Driven
Organization, A Whole System Approach to                                                                                                              The XLR8 Team, Inc.



Cultural Transformation”, to which I was a con-      A reputation that won the acclaim of Southwest
tributing editor.                                    Airlines in the July, 2006 issue of their “Spirit”
This effort has already been piloted by the Buf-     magazine:
falo Division through a cultural values assess-      “Wegmans has earned a reputation, an almost-
ment of their divisional leadership in 2003. The     cultish devotion with shoppers and chances are, if
success of their subsequent efforts has lead to a    you have ever visited one, you’re already a fan.
second pilot in the Buffalo division late in 2006    How else could you explain a regional super-
that will include cultural values measurement        market chain that received 8,400 love letters
for each of their 14 stores. Expectations are that   from 46 states last year; nearly 5,000 from
this will be used throughout the organization as     customers requesting, pleading, Wegmans to
the primary “people” measure and leadership          open a store in their town? Wegmans is showing Tom Brady
will be held accountable for the results.            the industry how to thrive, not just survive.”     The XLR8 Team, Inc.

				
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