A Memorable Conversation

One by one we introduced ourselves and why we had chosen this particular group. Our topic was “How to create and maintain happy franchisees”. A buzz was filling the large hall as hundreds of franchise executives in small huddles tentatively started to share their frustrations, questions and suggestions. We were all participating in the Round Tables session at this year’s IFA convention in Las Vegas.

Our facilitator, a small, fresh faced franchise executive called Susan Blackbeth-Smith, swiftly engaged our group through the use of some great open questions. I was reflecting on the magic of these well crafted questions when, as if she could read my thoughts, she looked across and caught my eye.

“So Greg, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about creating happy franchisees?” Another great question — short, clear and simple — and asked with a genuine sense of curiosity. “It comes down to one simple word” I responded, surprised at how quickly an answer had popped into my mind, “respect”. I then elaborated on how this is the one thing that most people crave more than anything else. And how our research has shown this is both the cause of, and the solution to, so many franchise disputes.

“The simple fact is we all want to feel we are being taken seriously”, I concluded.
I appreciated her asking me this question. It showed she was taking me seriously! And by demonstrating this sense of mutual respect for each other’s views, we all enjoyed an hour of vibrant, fruitful discussion.

A great final piece of advice

There had been quite a few questions and comments around dealing with emotional conversations and with this in mind, Susan ended the session with a gem of her own. “My dad always used to say, never make a decision when you’re too!” “Huh?” We all looked at her puzzled. “You know” she continued with a glint in her eye. “Too angry, too excited, too anything!”

We all smiled. Now that’s a good piece of advice don’t you think?
By the way I took notes of this memorable conversation. If you’d like a copy of the “22 Tips on How to Create and Maintain Happy Franchisees”, simply click here.

Before I go, you may have heard about the launch of our 2011 Franchisee Success Study. It’s a major global research initiative with significant benefits to participating franchisors, franchisees and the sector overall. We have had an amazing response and I am grateful to all the companies that have signed up so far. You may want to check with your management team to see whether your company is onboard. To find out what it’s all about go to our website.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

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