Table of Contents
The Wealthy Franchisee

'Hire Good People and Get Out of Their Way' Is Terrible Advice. Here's Why. Wealthy franchisees understand that you can't grow your business if your team isn't flourishing.

By Scott Greenberg Edited by Dan Bova

Key Takeaways

  • Wealthy franchisees view their employees as essential to their operation and focus on their growth and development rather than just assigning tasks.
  • Rather than being hands-off, successful franchisees adopt a coaching role.
  • This approach not only enhances employee performance but also ensures continuous improvement and development, ultimately leading to higher productivity and fewer management headaches.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 3 / 4 of The Wealthy Franchisee: Section 4: Hiring and Managing Your Team series.

Your mindset about leadership will determine what kind of team — and success — you have. Your beliefs about employees and your approach to leading them directly inform their performance. Wealthy franchisees see their employees as the lifeblood of their operation. They know they can't grow their business unless they grow their team.

Developing employees isn't a burden—it's the most important work they do. They don't believe in the adage "Hire good people and stay out of their way." Instead of "lighting a fire under them," they light a fire within them. Then they work constantly to keep the fire lit.

Employees today love their cell phones, but wealthy franchisees don't judge them — they ask questions to understand them and learn how to motivate them. They realized long ago that compensation isn't motivation. How people are treated matters much more. Wealthy franchisees take care of their people, and in return, their people take care of the business. Wealthy franchisees are friendly with their employees, but they're not their friend—that just doesn't work. They have clear boundaries. Employees like their wealthy franchisee bosses, but they also respect them and understand what's expected of them. If objectives aren't met, there's going to be a conversation. If rules are broken, the conversation won't last long. Wealthy franchisees also insist on healthy collaboration.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Your role as an employer

Your perspective on this may make the difference between having a dream team and a nightmare. Struggling franchisees look at their team as hourly workers who exist to perform tasks. All training and feedback focus on completing those tasks. Everything is about the work. Wealthy franchisees see their team as growing people to become leaders. All training and feedback center on their development.

The difference between getting work done and nurturing people is crucial. By cultivating leadership instead of directing work, wealthy franchisees enjoy higher productivity and fewer headaches.

Coaching Employees for Higher Performance

The role of a coach is to give team members the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to succeed. They train their people to fulfill their roles, provide ongoing feedback to foster constant improvement and inspire their teams to maintain their confidence, enthusiasm, and drive. If they do this well, the team will excel. Most franchisees and managers claim they're too busy to coach. Running a business is a lot of work—there's accounting, ordering supplies, scheduling, paying bills, marketing, and often helping customers on the floor. Doing much of the work yourself is a great way to keep labor costs down. But busyness is the enemy of leadership. If you're actively part of the system, it's harder to lead the system (or grow it). It's tough to play and coach simultaneously. Every minute you spend working is time away from coaching. Sure, stuff has to get done. But nothing is more important than developing your team.

Related: Stop Your Ego From Getting In The Way Of Your Success

Determining What Employees Need

This is the most essential component of this coaching process. Your employees perform numerous functions at work. By evaluating their skill set and mindset separately for each one, you can customize your coaching to their unique needs.

Measuring skill set and mindset as either high or low leaves you with four possible combinations for a given function:

  1. Low Skill Set-High Mindset
  2. Low Skill Set-Low Mindset
  3. High Skill Set-High Mindset
  4. High-Skill Set-Low Mindset

Each diagnosis requires a specific coaching method. Let's look at each one.

Related: Busting the Myths of Franchising

1. Low Skill Set-High Mindset

This employee is probably grateful for the opportunity and excited to learn the task. Their mindset is in good shape. Your job is to boost their skill set before they get discouraged and lose their mindset. This person needs training. Most job training is inadequate. The struggling franchisee quickly goes over how to do something, looks at the employee, and asks, "Got it?" Most likely the employee nods. They don't want to look stupid or incompetent. Of course, at this task, they are incompetent, but it's not their fault. No, I don't get it, they think. I'll figure it out later. But since they were poorly trained, they never excelled.

Wealthy franchisees want their employees to be great. They spend as much time as necessary on training and don't let the employee perform a duty unsupervised until they can state the necessary steps and consistently demonstrate them. As a wealthy franchisee, your approach to training comes in four steps: tell, show, watch, and review. Explain to the employee all the steps needed to do something well. Then demonstrate it a few times. Watch them do it. Then provide feedback. Repeat this process until their skill set is high.

You or your manager don't have to do all the training. Any employee who has a good skill set can handle it. In fact, giving a skilled employee a chance to train someone will be great for their mindset. It keeps them challenged and prevents boredom. Culturally, staff training staff promotes camaraderie.

Related: Busting the Myths of Franchising

2. Low Skill Set-Low Mindset

Employees reach this point when they're not well-trained. That's our fault as franchisees because we have not given them the knowledge they need, and now they're discouraged. This person needs training and encouragement. This includes all the above steps for training, combined with emotional support. This is urgent. It's in this phase that many people decide their job isn't right for them.

Your instincts when you hired them were probably correct. You can still salvage your new hire by providing the information and inspiration they need to improve. Keep supervising, set them up with easy wins, and notice when they do something right. Share stories of other people who struggled with this task to normalize their feelings. Recognize that they're down on themselves, which makes it harder to learn. Sometimes an experienced employee who is underperforming is actually in this state. Management may misdiagnose them as having an attitude (or mindset) problem when in fact they got by without ever really mastering a skill. Unless you know with certainty that this person has a high skill set for the task (i.e., they can state all steps and demonstrate them), don't assume the problem is mindset. Always confirm their skill set and provide training—with encouragement—when necessary.

3. High Skill Set-High Mindset

This is where you want your employees to be. Your role now is to keep them there. You shouldn't micromanage them, but you do want to actively support their ongoing success by preventing them from feeling bored, complacent, or unappreciated. This person needs reinforcement. Give this superstar (for this job function) lots of praise, publicly and privately. Don't assume they know how much you value them. They need reminding.

Challenge them to get even better, ask them what would make the task more interesting, and solicit suggestions for improving things. The question will show how much you respect them—and they'll probably have some good ideas, too. An employee with a high skill set and high mindset can be very helpful for boosting others' performance. They usually appreciate the opportunity—it keeps them engaged. But be careful not to dump too much work on this person. That happens a lot. And remember, if you promote them or assign them a new task to help keep them challenged, they need training on it, just like any other employee.

Related: Recruiting And Keeping Track Of Applicants

4. High Skill Set, Low Mindset

This is where most personnel issues arise. When you focus more on operations and less on the human elements, it's easy for someone who's mastered a skill to see their mindset fall. When this person's performance goes down, additional training will worsen their mindset. They already have the skill. Retraining will anger them. This person needs re-engagement.

To reengage someone with skill mastery, you need to ask questions to determine why their mindset has dropped. Begin the conversation carefully so they don't get defensive. Start by acknowledging their skill set and then express concern over the lowered performance. You might say something like, "Normally you're so great at this. Everything OK?", or "Hey, what's wrong? I've seen you do this so well before." Approach it from a place of concern, not accusation. Then listen. Their reasons might be job-related, or they could be personal. It might have nothing to do with you, or it might be because of how you've spoken to them in the past. Often they've just lost interest or gotten too comfortable in the job.

Related: 10 Rules for Coaching Your Team to Greatness

Try to figure out the underlying cause and respond accordingly. They might need some encouragement, or they might need some tough love. Or maybe they just need a day off to deal with whatever's going on at home. Don't offer this as punishment, but do explain that in order to work their shift, they need to muster the attitude their teammates and your customers expect. Franchisee Burke Jones from The UPS Store actually has a taped line on the floor separating the "backstage" and the "stage." When employees step onto the stage in view of customers, they had better bring the happy.

Be more than a boss. Be a coach. Assume your employees want to succeed and have the potential to do so. They just need your involvement to make it happen.

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