Following our recent management restructure, we decided to invest in a seven-week training programme for the 600 key commercial managers in stores.

Co-workers have voted for who their new manager should be while the training takes place. This has created a huge amount of energy and excitement.

When not training, managers will be taking the roles of co-workers who now have their jobs, experiencing what it’s like to work in the department at a lower level and what it’s like to be told what to do.

Ikea’s culture centres on empowering co-workers and encouraging them to take responsibility. In the UK, there is a tradition of hierarchical organisations and I think this is a great opportunity within Ikea to shake that up. You don’t need the title of manager to act responsibly. It’s about letting co-workers know they don’t need permission to act. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw improvements in the way the store is run – we just need to keep it simple.

The brief given to the shadow managers was to operate as a one-store team, focus on the basics and make sure the customer comes first.

We are now just at the end of the first two weeks of training and the competence and awareness we are building into the managers is really good – you can feel a difference already. The difference seen in the shadow managers, who are getting to grips with their new responsibility, is also fantastic. Of course, we will see mistakes, but mistakes happen when you’re active.

Mike King, Ikea, Manchester