Adventures in Passion and Excellence

This is a story about three people - a smart retail food consultant, a remarkable school teacher, and the man who invented the world’s most loved electric guitar.

The Secret to Retail Success

Given the current concerns around slow retail sales I watched in awe last week as retail consultant, Kate Poulter, presented an array of retail shop front photographs to a group of Pie Face franchisees at their annual conference. We wowed, laughed and groaned together as we looked through the eyes of an industry expert at some of the best and worst of Australian food retailing. Because of Kate’s wide ranging experience, I asked her what personal attribute she thought contributed most to the success of people who run the most successful retail businesses.
“Having a passion for their business” she replied almost instantly.

Bingo! This rang a bell because it linked directly to something I had spotted the day before while reviewing fresh data from our Franchisee Success Study, a global research project analysing the drivers of performance in over 2000 franchisees. It looks like one of the most important differentiators of successful franchisees is a passion for the brand, measured on what we call a “brand passion” scale.

When I asked Kate what someone could do to feed this passion for their business, she thought for few seconds before giving the following considered response. “Have an absolute commitment to excellence in everything you do.” Bingo again! Because another significant finding from our data is that franchisees who show strong levels of intrinsic motivation, what we define as an “inner commitment to excellence”, also enjoy significantly higher levels of success.

The Original Guitar Hero

The benefits of having a passion for what you do, and a commitment to excellence, are of course not restricted to franchising. If you watched the movie “Mrs Carey’s Concert” the other night on the ABC, you will have seen a remarkable women who radiates these qualities. Every two years Mrs Carey, a Sydney music teacher, inspires a hundred or so young school girls to deliver an amazing, world class musical performance at the Sydney Opera House - and have loads of fun doing it! If you haven't seen this documentary, do yourself a favour and get hold of the DVD.

After watching Mrs Carey do her thing I flicked channels to ABC 2, and there to my delight was Jimi Hendrix in his full glory, delivering his famous Woodstock performance. Hendrix, a passionate innovator devoted to excellence, was playing what I consider to be one of the best designs of the last hundred years - the Fender Stratocaster. The creator of this masterpiece, Leo Fender, was a quiet electrical engineer obsessed with making the most comfortable, easy to play, best sounding and best looking guitar in the world. The fact that his original 1954 design has not been improved on, and is still today the world's best selling guitar, suggests he succeeded. Just ask any guitarist with a Strat to tell you about their guitar and watch their eyes light up.

I get quite moved when I see this passion and commitment to excellence in a person. To me it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Is there a person or a product that inspires or moves you? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please go to the FRI Facebook page and tell us by commenting on our wall.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

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