I sat down with a retail Regional Manager earlier this week as we embarked on the first of many coaching sessions.

We began by unpacking her week. I learned that her days started very early, first checking and responding to emails. She was then hitting the road for a day jam-packed with store visits. After a full day, she returned home to carry on the job of responding to more emails, preparing for interviews to fill vacancies and reviewing the days’ results. She explained that every day was the same and felt that she was constantly chasing her tail, with no real opportunity to initiate a change.

No wonder she’s exhausted.

After we had stripped back her week,  I suggested that it may be time to assess what systems and structures she had in place. This will help her to plan, prepare and execute great store visits because this is where a Regional Manager spends most of their time. The right systems would help her have meaningful conversations that contribute positively to her results. It would then allow her to embark on future planning and be fully prepared for any changes down the track.

Success is not determined by how much time we spend working but by what we do with our time.

Regional Managers are often completely overwhelmed by their workload, best described as feeling that they are trying to keep all of the plates spinning at once. Throughout my years of experience in retail and as a business coach, feedback such as this is the most consistent I receive, and managers identifying and lamenting that they are in this situation is all too familiar. Feeling exhausted and overworked is common and can also be counter-productive.

Planning and structure are crucial for a Regional Manager to use their time effectively. If their time is consumed with being reactive and only looking at what is happening in the present, it isn’t easy to deal with the various curve balls that are inevitably tossed in their path. The right system will enable them to work smarter, not harder, and deliver the results necessary to shine.