23 December 2021
Our ways of working changed in early 2020, because our old, hierarchical structure wasn’t the best fit to enable us to achieve our 2030 ambition of a billion customer moments.
The transition to agile ways of working was designed to empower our teams to make decisions closer to our customers and adapt the work they do to more proactively respond to ensure we reach our goals.
Particularly for those in what was formerly our Operations Team, the shift to agile is a significant one. It has meant they are empowered to make the decisions needed at a store-by-store level to support every store to achieve the best results possible.
We spoke to one of our former Operations leaders and current Retail Area Lead South, Nick Maddox, about his career journey, and how agile ways of working have changed how he leads, and how his team works.
“I started my career in retail on the supplier side with Cadbury Schweppes, before joining Caltex as a Regional Business Manager. During my seven years with Caltex, I progressed to becoming the Consumer Sales Operations Support Manager for WA/SA/NT,” Nick said.
“When I joined 7-Eleven in 2015 as the Regional Manager for Western Australia, it was still a really small network in the West. As the network and team grew, I took on the newly created role of State Manager – WA in 2017, before becoming the State Manager for VIC/WA in 2020.”
As the Retail Area Lead South, Nick provides leadership and support for the four squads that support the running of stores in Western Australia and Victoria. These squads consist of people with cross functional expertise. They manage the delivery of the customers’ experience in our stores and support our store leaders to optimise performance.
He also provides support and leadership for the cross functional squad that delivers the capital works program and builds new stores across Western Australia and Victoria.
“The role has similarities to my previous role as state manager, in that I’m accountable for the achievement of objectives and key results across customer, financial, people and business process metrics. In the agile ways of working, the role is more about providing support, leadership and coaching to cross functional squads of highly capable people, than it is on managing and directing people and tasks,” he said.
According to Nick, the agile ways of working enable best knowledge sharing and collaboration to achieve the best outcomes for our customers.
“The ways of working better harness the diversity of experience and talent across the 7-Eleven network. Leveraging the collective expertise of the cross functional squads allows us to make better decisions more quickly. In the past, some decisions needed to be escalated, but our ways of working now allow decisions to be made by those closest to the customer.
“Being able to bring our customers closer to the source of decision making not only means we can move faster, but also make decisions that ensure our customers are at the heart of what we do.”
When asked what’s exciting about the agile ways of working, Nick says it’s the opportunity to harness the depth and breadth of not only his own skills and expertise, but also that of entire enterprise.
“The ways of working mean I can apply my skills to achieve outcomes and can make informed decisions drawing on the work, expertise and experience of the colleagues I work with. By working more closely with people who have very different skill sets, it has given me the chance to continue to learn and grow. It also means I am continually challenging my thinking by looking at problems and opportunities from different perspectives,” Nick said.
“It’s exciting to see our ways of working continuing to evolve as we learn more, and see the outcomes we can deliver to enhance the customer experience. The change and progress we’ve made in such a short space of time, while simultaneously dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, have been fantastic,” he said.
“Looking forward, I'm most excited about what our instore experience will look like 12-18 months from now. There’s a lot of initiatives on the horizon that will be a step change in what we offer to our customers and how we do it. Seeing that come to life and being part of that process will be really exciting.”
For operations experts who might be considering making the shift to our agile enabled team, Nick says being open to collaboration, having a learning mindset and welcoming diversity of thought is key to success.
“Having a hunger to learn and embrace agile frameworks will help set you up for success. We provide training and coaching to help develop and refine our people’s skills in agile ways of working but taking the time to read and learn about the principles of agile is useful.
“Our people need to be open to collaborating on solutions and embracing diversity of thinking. It’s been a real highlight to see the various approaches people have taken, and how by working together they have really lifted their expertise and capability.
“Our way of working means that people can take advantage of the opportunity to accelerate their development, and we want people to embrace that. I think that in addition to the development as people learn agile ways of working, what’s really exciting is that our unique chapter and craft development will allow us to accelerate people’s growth and capability in their relevant field of expertise.”
“I’ve seen them problem solve, pivot, and overcome significant barriers to successful implementation while learning and growing their expertise at such a rapid pace. Being empowered to provide our customers with what I am proud to say is one of the best offers in the market, while at the same time rapidly accelerating the opportunities for growing and broadening their retail expertise, business acumen and leadership capability is something I think people joining our team will be really excited by,” Nick concluded.