How to Grow Fast?

Posted by: Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.,

Jo-Ann Stores’ growth strategy focuses on rapidly opening new Superstores: stores that generate 4x the revenue and 30% higher sales per square foot than its traditional stores. To meet this goal, Jo-Ann must train 50+ new Superstore Team Leaders annually — in both operations and leadership. The solution: partner with Quest Consulting.

We helped Jo-Ann Stores create Superstore University, a custom leadership development program in which its own high-performing leaders deliver twelve weeks of intensive training to new leaders while they work in one of Jo-Ann’s best-run Superstores.

We began by working closely with Jo-Ann’s leadership and subject matter experts to identify true “best practices” that Jo-Ann’s can apply throughout its Superstores. Then, utilizing Quest’s patented Leader-Led Leadership Development® approach, we built an on-the-job training curriculum and leader guides for carefully selected Jo-Ann Superstore leaders to use when teaching every facet of Jo-Ann’s operations and team leadership.

This training, designed for delivery inside several of Jo-Ann’s highest-performing Superstores, uses the store’s operations for the “on-the-job” training to demonstrate the realities of Superstore leadership. This “real-time” learning makes it possible for new Leaders to utilize their new skills immediately and get the immediate feedback — on how they affect the store team, operations, and the bottom line — they need to achieve true mastery of the requisite skills.

By working and learning in a store, the new leaders face the daily challenges of store operations and learn to deal with them in the context of Jo-Ann’s unique culture and business environment. With Jo-Ann’s best leaders as trainers on these challenges, the new leaders learn crucial “implicit” knowledge of operations that conventional training would undoubtedly miss.

To support Superstore University, Quest helped Jo-Ann create an effective structure for managing the University, including staffing, logistics, a “train the trainer,” quality assurance, evaluation, and ongoing coaching.  In the train-the-trainer, the newly appointed Superstore University Dean, the Director of Training, and Quest worked with six carefully selected Jo-Ann Superstore Leaders, showing them how to link the training in operations and leadership to the students’ in-store experiences. Collectively, these leaders will train 50 or more new Superstore Leaders per year, establishing the foundation for a program that can scale smoothly if the pace accelerates for new store openings.

The ramp-up has been outstanding, says Jo-Ann Stores Executive Vice President Rosalind Thompson. “Everyone is incredibly enthusiastic about what is going to come out of this. It’s a huge endeavor for us, but we’re making the investment because it’s our future.”

Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.
Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.,

Dr. Herzog has 20+ years experience as a consultant and educator in structural and operational change, strategic planning, team building, productivity and executive development.