Hooray – School’s Out Forever!

by Karli Furmage, CEO,
Franchise Relationships Institute

Once upon a time, we all loved learning. As babies, we learned by exploring the world with curiosity and delight, celebrating achievement and having no fear of failing. Unfortunately for many of us, that love of learning was destroyed by our formal schooling.

Research by learning scientists shows the way children have traditionally been taught at school doesn’t work very well. We learn best by doing. We learn best when we are in control of what we’re learning and why we’re learning it. Not by having someone standing over us or lecturing at us.

Recall your school experience. How did you behave in the classroom? Why did you act like that? How did the teachers treat you? How did you treat them back? For some of us, school was a tough time and left us a little bitter and twisted about learning.

My advice is, don’t associate your experience at school with learning. Because regardless of what happened at school and whatever you may think, you have never stopped learning.

On your journey to being a successful franchisee there is much to learn. And the learning never stops. But there are no teachers in the school of franchise investigation, so you will need to navigate the learning landscape yourself. You set the curriculum, you set the timetable and you set the exams.

To help you on your journey, here are four steps to being a lean, keen franchisee learning machine.

Step 1: Make peace with the past.

You might blame school for a host of stuff, but in spite of what happened at school, you are hard wired to learn new knowledge and skills.

When franchisors tell you about the training you will experience as a franchisee, don’t think about being in a classroom being taught by teachers. Think about experienced people giving you knowledge, skills and tools relevant to you being successful.

You’re on a new journey now. Thank the past and be a different student.

Step 2: Face up to the fact that you don’t – and won’t – know it all.

It’s impossible to know it all, so relax. All you have to do is find out the things you need to know and master. And then get on with it.

Ask questions, get help from experienced people and read relevant material. If you bounce around telling people, “I know, I know, I know” when you don’t, that’s your ego speaking. Perhaps you are not being honest with yourself and are more focused on impressing others than learning what you need to know.

Step 3: Max out your learning.

We all learn differently. Some of like to watch others perform tasks and look at diagrams and videos. Some of us learn best by talking about how to do things and asking for instructions. Some of us learn best by rolling up our sleeves and jumping straight in. Some of us learn best by having a quiet conversation with ourselves before we try something, getting it right in our head first.

To max out your learning, ask yourself “What do need to learn, why do I need to learn it and how am I going to learn it?” Then find a way that works for you. This brings us to my last tip.

Step 4: Look after your learning.

You are going to need support from a range of people from the franchisor’s office  such as trainers and field managers. They are not teachers, they are guides, coaches and cheerleaders, helping you develop your skills, giving you feedback and assessing your progress. Their job is to help you move smoothly and quickly from uncertainty to habit. Form good relationships with your supporters.

Another way to look after your learning is to put up your hand when you need more input. Refresh those skills that have gone rusty, get coaching on skills you are yet to master and one day you will be in a privileged position to pass your knowledge and skills onto others.

In summary, to become a great franchisee, you must fall back in love with learning. You are now responsible. Take control of what you need to know because there are no more teachers looking over your shoulder and you can’t blame the dog for eating your homework. In the immortal words of Alice Cooper, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks. School’s out for summer. School’s out forever!!”

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