Complaints… in franchising we hear a lot of them.
Some of us tune them out to survive.
But, in complaints, we can find a nugget of wisdom.
Bill Gates said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
As franchisors, we have many customers – including franchisees and managers. In a franchising community so broad, it is shocking that many store managers and franchisees can have the same complaint. According to multi-unit management expert, Jim Sullivan, in his book Multi Unit Leadership, the following complaints are consistent.
The top 5 complaints that store managers had about their Multi-Unit Leaders:
- Not enough face-time.
- Store visits where MULs worked positions rather than offering specific direction, insight, coaching and feedback.
- Pre-occupation and distraction on the MUL’s part during store visits via constant phone, text and e-mail interruptions.
- Too much “telling what to do” not enough “why that problem occurred.”
- Changing priorities or failing to clarify objectives.
Does this sound familiar? Whether you are a business coach or a multi-unit leader, it likely rings true. Sullivan continues with this insight:
Too much of what passes for multi-unit-leadership training and development today was developed decades ago when the industry, customer, crew, technology were radically different. The leap from “telling what to do” to “telling why and how to do” is a skill that takes patient coaching guided practice and innate skill.
So – here are some tips at managing from a place of “why” instead of managing from a two-dimensional checklist perspective.
In Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, he contends that leaders who help teams understand the “why” behind what they are doing are more successful than those who do not. Sinek explores the leadership of legends such as Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King.
Bringing this concept down to the earth, helping franchisees and store managers see how their “piece of the puzzle” fits in with the rest if it can go a long way. People want to understand the purpose first – and if they fully understand that, the actions follow more naturally from a place of motivation.
Find the Gaps
There are many coaching models that have a step around “finding gaps” such as the CIGAR Model.
- C – Current Reality
- I – Ideal
- G – Gap
- A – Actions
- R – Review and Reinforce
Getting the franchisee or store manager to discover the gap between the current reality and the ideal can be incredibly helpful in terms of making the conversation about their goals, and not yours. Over time, you will discover a lot of similarities in goals, and a natural alignment.
The book Crucial Conversations talks about the need to “Talk Tentatively” in the “STATE” Model.
- S – Share Your Facts
- T – Tell Your Story
- A – Ask for Other’s Path
- T – Talk Tentatively
- E – Encourage Testing
When you are in a difficult conversation, it is a good idea to ask questions, and “test” certain concepts rather than making authoritative statements. Although you may still need to bring messages from head office, this being done in a gentler, tentative way can be extremely helpful.
When it comes to distraction, technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Technology, specifically built for franchise business consultants or multi-unit manager in mind can help you focus less on the process of auditing and more on the audit itself.
- Automatically create “action plans” for stores if you see an opportunity for improvement. For example, if the store is choosing to do a seasonal event, you can give them a step-by-step process.
- If you see patterns in violations, you can create a training module – one initiative that “lifts all boats”.
- Get the franchisee to send you pictures before-hand of things like wrapped vehicles so you can focus on more face-time.
All of these features, and many more, are included in FranchiseBlast’s Field Audit app.