30 March 2023

    Discover a simple and foolproof method to implement your core values and check if you have the right players on your team.

    What’s going on?
    In my practice, I regularly hear CEOs complain that their franchisees are not meeting standards and that communication with them is not good: “We don’t understand each other.” At the same time, I notice that CEOs lack trust in their team members to achieve their vision. In other words, the CEO feels they are the ONLY ones trying to achieve the goals.

    We are living in an era of perpetual change: The perma-revolution
    This perma-revolution requires tremendous adaptability on the part of franchise leaders. Let’s face it: being a good franchise leader today is a BIG challenge. Mega forces of change are coming from all sides. Technology is transforming how we do business and carry out our daily lives. We have never had more access to information than now, and everything is moving at breakneck speed. The sheer speed and complexity of today’s work environments can be overwhelming.
    This perma-revolution invariably causes misunderstandings, conflicts[1], and potentially, a loss of productivity that influences the economic and human potential of a franchise network.

    More complex human resources management
    The franchise is a reflection of today’s society. It is not uncommon to have four generations working side by side, creating a “generational clash” that can be unhealthy if not handled properly. Franchising is a “land of welcome” for many people with different backgrounds and values who want to rebuild their lives. It is challenging for the franchisor to have everyone “on the same page.”

    Is there a simple, foolproof way to prevent most of the problems that franchisors and franchisees face?

    Yes! Your mission, your vision and your values!

    Let’s take a look at three steps on how to define them, leverage them and create impact.

    Step 1 – Define your mission: This must correspond to the very essence of your company—its DNA. Why does the company exist? A mission doesn’t have to be complicated; 1 or 2 sentences are enough. The important thing is that it is yours and that it truly reflects your business. Here are some examples:

    • McDonald’s: Our mission is to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. This is how we uniquely feed and foster communities. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers’ experience.
    • Freshii: Our mission is to help citizens of the world live better by making healthy food convenient and affordable.
    • Choice Hotels: Our mission is to bring together the people, brands and technology that enable the success of others—welcoming every guest, every partner, everywhere their journey takes them.
    • The UPS store: Our mission is to provide solutions and world-class customer service by ensuring our retailers are supported in the over 5,000 communities we serve.

    Step 2 – Establish your vision: A company’s vision is a projection into the future. Where do you want to go (in the long term)? Again, simplicity is key. A franchisor’s vision is not just financial; it must include the human element.
    Here are some examples:

    • McDonald’s: To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.
    • The UPS Store: Passionately support the small businesses in our neighbourhoods because their community is our community.

    Step 3 – Determine your values: To define the values of your franchise network, you need to determine the essential principles on which they are based. These are the principles that determine behaviours and support your decisions. Moreover, by clearly stating them, it will be easier to clarify your message. Here is an example of a teamwork value that is poorly formulated because it does not include the decision or action criteria.

    • At ABC Franchise, we work as a team.A better version is more like this:
    • At ABC Franchise, it is the team that counts. Each member contributes to everyone’s success.

    Remember that everyone’s behaviours and decisions are guided by your values. Usually, 3 to 5 values are enough to create the necessary alignment.
    This is the time to be clear (very clear!), especially if you want others to follow you and contribute to the success of your project. Of course, I suggest you think about this with your management team and a few trusted franchisees because they are your long-term business partners.
    If you were 100% clear, every decision would be obvious. That would be great!
    While 100% clarity is not possible (neither you nor I are psychics), achieving far greater levels of clarity than your competitors is possible. Your competitors, like most businesses, are likely to operate in a bit of a fog.

    Optimizing clarity is a definite advantage: If your decisions become easier and more accurate, it means you waste less time and money on things that don’t propel your network forward. To get ahead, you need to know where you want to go and galvanize everyone in your network to get there.

    The values

    The absence of values in a company is like sailing without a rudder or a marine GPS.

    A company’s values are designed to guide its activities, dictate decisions and define the main behaviours sought from each member of a team, including franchisees. I insist on the word dictate, defined as follows by dictionaries as the means to strongly influence the way of acting and behaving. This definition represents the BASICS of your leadership.
    The importance of values seems to have been ignored over time. Most of the time, they have no meaning, even though they are posted somewhere in the office and on a website. Values may be talked about occasionally, but they are not an integral part of the company. Doubt it? Ask your team members to name the organization’s values, how they dictate their decisions, and define their key behaviours. Imagine the same scenario with your franchisees and their employees. The lay of the land is pretty clear.

    What can you do to keep your values alive?

    It is your responsibility to communicate your network’s values appropriately. There are many ways to do this. It is important to do it in a professional, open and educational manner. This way, everyone can understand the true meaning of each value. Keep in mind that, to be understood, a message must be communicated at least 5 times.

    Sharing can be done through forums, community and meetings where participants will share how they embody the values of your franchise. This way, franchisees will adhere more to your values because they will understand their meaning and importance in their decision-making as well as in the expected behaviours. And what about the opportunities that will arise as a result? Adherence to values is a process that takes time, and positive reinforcement is an important aspect of your network’s culture. Don’t aim for perfection; simplicity will reassure your team and franchisees. Franchising is much more than a business model, after all!

    Have you ever done a clarity exercise? Do you know what the primary objective of this exercise is? It is to achieve results similar to your operational excellence culture. By creating the right conditions, you will foster buy-in to your corporate values, which in turn will drive performance that will grow your network. Your operational excellence will make your franchisees and network more profitable.

    Supporting your team members and franchisees in the way they act and make decisions pays off!

    How to validate
    I recommend that you conduct an annual planning exercise[3] with each of your franchisees and employees to ensure that their objectives correlate with yours. You can then better support them in their development and evolution. Writing a realistic work plan will not only foster a better connection with your franchisees but it will also lead to more rewarding professional and personal development. An essential part of this annual planning should be dedicated to values.

    • Measure performance goals: Are they aligned with the company’s values?
    • Evaluate attitude: Does the attitude embody your values?
    • Assess skills: Do they contribute to maintaining the company’s values?
    Annual planning
    Name Value 1 Value 2 Value 3 Attitude Skills
    Stephan 1 2 3 2 2

    Value 1,2,3,4,5 – Scale is 1 to 5
    1 = Does not decide or act in accordance with this value
    5= Makes all decisions and acts totally in accordance with this value

    Defining your mission, vision, and values can be tricky, time-consuming and expensive. Remember that the franchisor’s biggest expense is the franchisees’ lack of trust in them. This is a cost that is not much higher than that of a promotion or an ad. Take my word for it!
    This exercise may have more impact on your business partners than you ever imagined. Franchisees are your business partners and contribute to your success. It is by working with them that you can achieve it.

    The right question is not how, but with whom?

    [1] A conflict is a clash of ideas, needs, interests and feelings that emerge from one’s personality, goals, perceptions or values. Online, HEC Montréal/Bureau du respect de la personne, 2023.
    [2] The act of communicating with someone, of being in contact with others, usually through language; a verbal exchange between a speaker and an interlocutor from whom he or she requests a response. Larousse
    [3] Guided exercise, shared and discussed with you, allowing the franchisee and you to take stock of their personal and professional satisfaction, identify the strategic decisions to be taken for their business and themselves, and build a realistic annual budget.

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