September 4, 2014
Being a Leader Starts with Perspective
If you want to succeed as a franchisor, you have to quickly establish and focus on maintaining the right attitude and the right focus. You need to be a leader, not a boss. Franchisees are different from the employees you probably have in your business, now, who obey your directives without much fuss. You cannot treat franchisees as employees; you must persuade them to do things your way. Issuing orders from headquarters will not be an effective long-term operational model, because you will start to see dissension, if not outright rebellion, from your franchisees. After all, many franchisees get into the franchise business, because they want to be their own boss. You have to recognize the incentives that attend such motivations, and accommodate them.
Understanding and accepting that franchisees are not employees is often difficult for franchisors, who want to get things done quickly and efficiently. Understanding that effective persuasion is actually more effective, faster, and more efficient in the long run is very important. In a nutshell, you have to have the mindset of a leader.
Being a leader comes naturally to few people. For most, leadership is a learned, not inherent, trait. Odds are, you are going to need to educate yourself about how to lead others. Below, you’ll find some helpful tips and resources that will help you start on the path to being a leader.
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Communication Strategies for Senior Leadership — $1,980* Vanderbilt University, Owen School of Management
Executive Leadership — $2,970* Vanderbilt University, Owen School of Management
Leadership Coaching — $1,980* Vanderbilt University, Owen School of Management
Leading Change — $1,980* Vanderbilt University, Owen School of Management
The value of having a leadership mentor cannot be overstated. You should reach out to people you respect in your professional network, and talk to them about your quest to become a better leader. Ask them for advice. If you feel they are being sincere and honest, they are knowledgeable, and they are truly interested in altruistically helping you, consider asking them to be a mentor for you.
Also, you should subscribe to some publications in which your business heroes sometimes write articles. Entrepreneur Magazine is one I like to read. Inc. Magazine is good, too. Forbes has great resources. Just read things that inspire you to continue to be creative and to keep looking for ways to challenge yourself to ever-greater heights of excellence.
Learning to be a better leader is a lifelong process. It won’t happen overnight. You will make mistakes. Just roll with the punches, and whenever make a mistake, own it, apologize, and forgive yourself. Move on quickly, and focus on your successes, not your setbacks.
Oh, and one last thing. Surround yourself, in your organization, with other people who are leaders. Of course, you’re going to end up with strong personalities, but with clear communication and a well-understood hierarchy supported by properly structured incentives, you should be fine. Don’t stop at just the people within your organization. Work with leaders. Your lawyer should be a strong leader. Your accountant should be a good leader. Why? Because there are going to be things they’ll advise you to do that you may be reluctant to do; and they will not be able to order you to do them (you’re the client; you’re in charge)! They need to be able to persuade you, to lead you to do the right thing, but have the self-control to ultimately leave the decision in your hands. That’s really difficult, and it takes a wise, strong professional leader to strike that delicate balance. Remember, you have hired these professionals to lead you in the right direction with regard to your legal decisions, your financial decisions, etc. Follow them–not unquestioningly or thoughtlessly, but mindfully and conscientiously. Together, your team will pull your company to places you never thought possible.
*Prices subject to change without notice. All prices are current as of the time of this writing.
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