Nine Lessons in Franchise Leadership

I recently met with a young franchise executive who was about to be promoted to head up an established franchise network. She'd been with the network for some time and we were discussing leaders she’d worked for - some great and some not so great - and what she’d learned from watching them. When I asked, based on her experience, what advice she’d give to herself as the new leader, she reflected for a few minutes and then shared the following insights. I took notes because I could see these were coming from hard-earned experience on what does, and doesn’t, work. By the way, they also align perfectly with our research into excellent franchise leadership.

Photo of young lady in a chair making notes on paper.
  1. Before making important decisions, consult with a cross section of people who will be impacted. This leads to better quality decisions, and is likely to create more commitment.
  2. Be transparent with your decision making processes and what you are trying to achieve. Franchisees can be naturally suspicious, so don’t leave them wondering.
  3. Be consistent and strive to create a culture of fairness. Franchisees don’t like to hear you have favourites and they get resentful if they think some people are being offered better deals.
  4. Support others and help them achieve their goals. You are not there to serve your own interests or to prove how great you are.
  5. The cost of bad decisions can have a significant impact on the lives and businesses of franchisees, who have to live with the consequences after you have moved on. So make decisions thoughtfully.
  6. Build a stable team that understands franchising, and put in place a succession plan. Franchisees have made a long term commitment to the brand, and expect this from you in return.
  7. Franchisees need to feel confident you are innovating to protect the future of the network. Bring them along with you by creating a culture of optimism, especially during times of change.
  8. Don’t take on or commit to too many things. It’s better to do less things well, finish and deliver on what you say you will do, and be prepared to say “no we can’t do that”.
  9. Most franchisees have been around for longer than you, so stay connected to the cultural history of the network and respect the past. This can explain a lot about how your franchisees think.

I am sure you would agree, there is a lot of wisdom here. If you are based in Australia, and would like to explore how to create a healthy franchising culture, I'd encourage you to take a look at some of our professional development programs.  

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