Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third largest supermarket chain with 2008 revenue in excess of $29 billion, asked Synecticsworld to help it solve some operational problems.


Synecticsworld organized a two-day session comprised of headquarters representatives and store managers to:

  • Jointly identify and prioritize the problems facing the company.
  • Create solutions that could be implemented immediately.
  • Introduce Sainsbury’s managers to Synecticsworld’s tools and techniques and train the managers in facilitation skills so that they could run future sessions themselves.

The first day involved 50 store managers who used Synecticsworld’s techniques to identify the problems they faced. The managers were asked to view store problems not just from their own perspectives but also from those of their customers. Working together as a team, the managers:

  • Generated a list with more than 1,200 items.
  • Prioritized the items on the list with Synecticsworld’s help.
  • Refined the list further until it first contained only 45 items, then only 18.

After reviewing the list the group realized that all 18 of the items had been sources of frustration in their stores for years or, in some cases, decades.

Twelve of the original 50 managers returned on the second day to lead teams of headquarters colleagues. Because headquarters staff was able to make many key decisions the same day, the group was able to dramatically reduce the time it took to resolve the items on the list.

By day’s end, the group had solved 12 out of the 18 problems, and set aggressive deadlines to resolve the final six.


With the lingering issues resolved, “Making Sainsbury’s Great Again” is the phrase that everyone, especially store managers, holds close to their hearts.

As the company’s recruitment website says proudly, “No-one has a bigger part to play in our turnaround than the managers in our supermarkets around the country. Their experience, personality and commercial judgement set the tone for the whole store. And their leadership inspires our people to deliver a great everyday customer experience.”

Working with Synecticsworld, those very same Sainsbury’s managers, along with headquarters’ representatives, are ensuring that the company begun by John and Mary Sainsbury in 1869 will reclaim its position as the number one supermarket in the UK.

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