Are You The Problem Or The Solution?

Because franchising is such a people intensive business, an understanding of psychology is useful. There was quite a bit of positive feedback from my last tip on “The Spouse Effect” so I’ll share another discovery from our recent Franchisee Success Study. (Detailed findings from this research are available from our online shop).

A decade of psychological research into optimism, what we call Positive Outlook, has shown that people who are more optimistic live longer, are healthier, happier, have better relationships, earn more, get sick less and, when they do get sick, recover from ill-health more quickly!

Our latest research into predictors of franchisee success was partly inspired by these findings and we have indeed discovered that Positive Outlook has a significant impact on franchisee performance, particularly in sales and delivery of the customer experience. But this effect goes much further. Franchisees who feel more positive about themselves and about life in general have satisfaction scores 21% higher than those with low Positive Outlook scores.

The Pollyanna Effect

In the book Pollyanna, by Eleanor Porter, a little girl inspires a whole town through her practice of a game taught to her by her father, called “The Glad Game”. The game is to be played whenever a person is feeling frustrated or unhappy and involves finding as many things as they can to be glad about. There is now considerable scientific evidence to show The Glad Game works and it is a technique commonly taught by psychologists to help people improve their mood and satisfaction with life.

In business, techniques such as paying attention to the things you have control over are also useful for maintaining a positive frame of mind. So too is the “Solution Focused Coaching” method we teach in our Field Management Workshops. As the name implies, this focuses conversations on solutions, not problems, and it definitely helps franchisees to achieve better results.

Where the mind goes, energy flows

If you are not convinced about the power of these approaches, last month I heard a fascinating presentation by Dr Anthony Grant at an International Coaching Psychology Conference. He demonstrated through his research that superior results are achieved if you can get a person in a more positive state of mind and ask them solution focused, rather than problem focused, questions.

Examples of problem focused questions are: “Why do you think your sales are down?” or “Who is not pulling their weight on your team?” Solution focused questions are: “If nothing was holding you back what action could you take to get your sales up?” or “What helps your team to function at its best?”

There is an old saying “Where the mind goes, energy flows.” Where is your mind at the moment? Are you focusing on solutions or problems? Incidentally, the Research Presentations and Workshops we conducted this month shared rock-solid research on what franchisors can do to improve franchisee performance and satisfaction. The 14 chapter Franchise Excellence Research Report is now available from our online shop, grab your copy now.

Until next time, remember, it pays to keep positive!

Greg Nathan

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