By: Blair McHaney, Owner, Gold’s Gyms Wenatchee, WA
Imagine if your franchisor thought of you as their employee. Imagine if your franchisor made decisions that affected the future of your business but you had no voice. Imagine these decisions threatened your life work and the value you built. Imagine you are isolated without a franchisee association or National Franchise Council allowing franchisees to have a voice with their franchisor.
Two things need to exist for franchisees to have say in their future. First is a collective voice. Second is a franchisor willing to listen. We have both. Things are not always friction-free between the two entities but the willingness to get through issues is critical for the success of each. Which means it is critical for franchisees.
While I think our franchisor doesn’t completely understand the value of the GGFA in maintaining the brand and building the future, they are light years ahead of other franchise organizations that do everything they can to squash franchise associations. My friend and mentor, Dan McGraw uses the term “collaborative execution” to describe how good teams get things done. The GGFA is such a team and GGI has the opportunity to engage in “collaborative execution” with the GGFA.
This is all about how decisions are made. With no GGFA, decisions can be made without dealing with the GGFA. With the GGFA, decisions can still be made by the franchisor but they agree to hear what we think and to garner input before making some decisions. If I were the king of the world this would happen on almost everything with any impact on franchisees.
Many organizations fail to hit their targets or fail altogether because they do not understand the difference between messy decision making with swift execution and swift decision making with messy execution. When dealing with a group of franchisees, far greater value will be built if you allow the decision making process to be heavy on input and collaboration in order to make execution possible. We have all seen just the opposite for many years; “siloed” decision making that yields no buy-in and few results.
Franchisors should remember that franchisees are customers. Customers have complaints. Complaints should be listened to and considered with care. A “shoot the messenger” attitude will always, eventually, fail.
If you are not a member of the GGFA, join. There are a lot of people putting a lot of time and energy on your behalf.