Building Rock Solid Relationships

In 1981 a young musician called Shane Howard made his first journey to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, that magnificent red monolith in the middle of Australia. He was so transformed by the experience he wrote a song — a moving, hard driving song with a catchy riff and a deep message that’s been etched into the minds of several generations of Australians. The song “Solid Rock” is today widely regarded in music circles as one of the top 20 Australian songs of all time.

Last week I was grateful to have the opportunity to visit Uluru while speaking at a client’s conference in a nearby resort. If you have been there you’ll know it is a visually stunning place that leaves you with a deep sense of awe. As I was leaving the area I bought a little book that tells the story of the Solid Rock song. One part of the story really hit a chord (excuse the pun) because of its relevance to all of us whose work takes us into other people’s businesses. When Shane Howard arrived at the camping ground near the Rock, he did what very few white people did at the time. He asked permission from the local indigenous people before approaching, what to them was, a sacred place.

He describes it this way: “I was directed over to the corner where an old man, one of the senior traditional custodians for that country, was seated, surrounded by women and children, men and dogs. I fell to my knees so I was at eye level with that old man. I asked permission to walk his country and said I didn’t want to break any laws or go where I should not go.”

He then tells of the connection he felt with the old man who smiled and not only granted him permission, but ensured the local indigenous people looked out for him and helped him make the most of his experience. Shane spent the next ten days exploring the Rock and observing the local people, knowing he was a welcome visitor, not an intruder. As he concludes, “A little respect goes a long way.”

Greg Nathan at Uluru

Soaking up the vibes at Uluru last week

We all benefit from a little respect

The need for respect is so deeply ingrained into the human psyche, I would say it is the single most important ingredient for all relationships to function effectively, including the franchise relationship. Just as Shane Howard asked for permission before exploring Uluru over 30 years ago, field consultants would do well to bring this type of respect with them when visiting the businesses of their franchisees. It’s also something the FRI team tries hard to practice when we are invited into our clients’ businesses. Building and running a business is never easy and nothing riles a proud business owner more than feeling their years of hard work and effort are being treated with disrespect. As Aretha Franklin said in that other famous song, “I’m about to give you all my money honey, and all I’m asking for in return is a bit of respect!”

If you think I am overstating the point, consider this. In the thousands of franchisee satisfaction surveys we’ve conducted, the single most common message by franchisees to franchisor leadership teams is to show more appreciation for their hard work and respect for their knowledge and investment in the brand.

Like most of the truly important things in life, giving respect doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything but it is always valued highly by the recipient. By the way, if you want to treat yourself to a short break, here’s a really good live version of the Solid Rock song http://youtu.be/hQJCWIryD8I

Copyright © 2018 Franchise Relationships Pty Ltd • Contact Us Company Privacy Statement