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5 Strategies for Franchise Leadership Development

Follow these steps to develop the most effective leadership skills for your franchise business.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In my most recent article, I identified the five primary departments that make up every business: leadership, finance, operations, marketing and technology.

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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.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

1. 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.

2. 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.

Related: 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

3. 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.

4. 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.

Related: 5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

5. 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.

Rick Grossmann

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Rick has been involved in the franchise industry since 1994. He franchised his first company and grew it to 49 locations in 19 states during the mid to late 1990s. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and primary trainer focusing on franchise owner relations and creating tools and technologies to increase franchisee success.

Rick developed and launched his second franchise organization in 2003. He led this company as the CEO and CMO growing to over 150 locations in less than three years. He developed the high tech/high touch franchise recruiting and sales system.

Both companies achieved ranking on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 List. During this period Rick served as a business and marketing consultant to small business and multimillion dollar enterprises. He also consulted with franchise owners and prospective franchisees, franchisors, and companies seeking to franchise around the world.

Rick is the Author of Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise Bible series and his 9th Edition was released worldwide in April of 2021.  He also is a contributing author to Entrepreneur Magazine and other industry publications on the subject of franchising and business.

He currently heads up the Entrepreneur Franchise Advisors program, serves as an executive coach and strategist for multiple franchise clients and is the co-host of the Franchise Bible Coach Radio Podcast with Rick and Rob.