In my most recent article, I identified the five primary departments that make up every business: leadership, finance, operations, marketing and technology.
The most important of these is leadership. The experience, business acumen and commitment of company leaders have a greater impact on the outcome of the business than the other factors.
Apply these strategies to create a leadership development plan for your franchise business -- or for any other kind of company, too.
- Develop a clear vision and plan.
Many companies suffer due to the lack of a plan. This leaves the team to struggle for direction and spend time putting out fires instead of taking constructive action. This is like taking a journey without a map.
The first step is to write down the company leadership vision. Be specific and include job descriptions and action items.
- Choose your model.
I always say that it is critical to identify your operating system and adapt the business model accordingly. Your operating system is what makes you tick? For instance, if you have experience and work better in the field than behind a desk, you may be more effective as a hands-on trainer than as an in-office resource. In this example, you may choose to have others run the office duties.
- Examine your current team.
One of the more painful consulting duties I have had over the years has been the duty to reposition or remove team members. This can be especially difficult if the individual is a friend or family member. Make sure each member of your team is the most qualified for the position.
Don’t be afraid to make necessary changes for the good of the overall company. Be selective as you add people to your organization to make sure they are a good fit and have what it takes to help your company thrive.
- Get outside help.
I frequently hear from my clients that they don’t know what they don’t know -- they don't know where to start or what they need to learn. Leadership is one area that has many resources for ongoing education and development. Recently, I attended the Multi-Unit Franchise Conference in Las Vegas. One of the most successful multi-unit franchisees stated that the most important strategy he has implemented was signing up for a leadership training and development program.
- Use technology tools.
Engagement and implementation are the most important factors of any business system. Technology tools can enable you to make sure that the leadership key performance indicators (KPIs) are executed and are being tracked. You will want to make sure that the technology tools also help you implement the important leadership development tasks and behaviors on all levels of your organization.
Becoming a great leader may seem to be a daunting undertaking. Remember that every great leader started out the same way you did, and you are still writing your success story.
One of my favorite examples of leadership that I wrote about in Franchise Bible, 8th Edition contrasted the difference between inspiration and motivation. I was the CEO of my second franchise organization, and I was talking to one of our franchise owners on the phone about my leadership style and strategy. I told him that I identified that I needed to be a motivator. He quickly corrected me by saying “we don’t need a motivator, we want you to inspire us.”
It is critical to be an inspirational leader for your business to thrive. Each member of the community needs to look up to you and your team. They need to turn to you when things get tough.