Is Your Corporate Structure Stifling Your Franchise?
By their very nature, franchise brands are predominately founded by entrepreneurs who have taken heir specific knowledge and skill sets to create a replicable, systematized and scalable business model.
As the franchise grows larger though, it reaches the ceiling of complexity where it seems necessary to bring in different levels of employees to continue growth. This is when the business often loses its entrepreneurial feel and evolves into a bureaucratic hierarchy, incorporating rigid job titles and a clear executive structure.
Although it’s a common practice, just because the company is growing and becoming more successful, it’s not necessarily in the best interest of a franchise organization to adopt a hierarchical structure. Isn’t this inflexible business organization counter-intuitive to the mindset of the entrepreneur that made the business successful? How does the entrepreneur then continue to guide his business using the skills that brought him to success? Going further – how is a mutually beneficial and interdependent relationship created when there’s a clear pecking order?
Too frequently, success brings on a whole host of stifling issues that threaten both your ability to maintain your best talent and continue on a path of positive growth.
So, what do you do about it? Instead of turning to tradition, companies should create a high performance entrepreneurial culture.
Build a Unique Abilities Team
Asking anybody to fit into a specific job description rather than utilizing his pre-existing talents stifles productivity and makes his focus on strengthening his weaknesses rather than fully capitalizing on his strengths. It’s rare to find an entrepreneur with the exact skills that are required for the role of CEO – this does not mean that, as the founder, you are not the leader or visionary in the company. It means that the day-to-day operations for the organizational aspects of the company must be shared based on who has the skills to best perform each task.
Analyze what skills your team already possesses and hire to fill voids. In doing this, you will create empowered teams that are aligned with the vision of the organization. Traditional job descriptions are limiting and pigeonhole team performance. Highly segmented teams block employees’ ability to view how their role contributes to the overall objectives of the company. Removing these walls will give each person a better view of the company goals and what needs to be done to achieve them.
Encourage an Ownership Attitude
C-Level titles create a mindset of entitlement rather than empowerment. If team members are empowered to feel ownership of the company, they will be guided to judge their work by how it contributes to the company, not how it improves their status or title. Motivation will be driven not by job description or the eight-hour work day, but because they have the power to drive results and make real improvements.
Maintain Win-Win Relationships
People are frequently leaving corporate America to avoid the corporate structure they end up encountering when they buy a franchise. They are looking for the freedom that entrepreneurship offers, and are often disheartened to find that many franchises converge to the hierarchical structure they were trying to escape.
This is why recruiting for franchising is only successful for one to two percent of the people who show up looking for opportunities.
Going back to the true entrepreneurial feel creates a win-win relationship between franchisors and franchisees. The franchisor gains from new locations and visibility of its brand while the franchisee gets the win/win environment he or she sought after leaving corporate America.
In the same way, employer and employee relationships must be mutually beneficial. If there is a distinct line between manager and staff, it becomes impossible to maintain an ownership attitude and focus then moves back to status – what is my title, who do I report to, who reports to me.
Reclaim the Entrepreneurial Culture
Taking back the entrepreneurial spirit of the company by ousting traditional corporate structure will encourage team members to be focused on how their actions bring value to the company rather than how their actions increase their status.
Encouraging team members to have an ownership attitude and creating an environment where their unique skill sets are being utilized can bring the company back to its original entrepreneurial feel and overcome the roadblocks that traditional structure creates.
Constructing the business that you desire and not just what is traditional will ensure your structure identifies with the brand’s core values.
Terry Powell is the founder of The Entrepreneur’s Source, North America’s leading alternative career coaching franchise dedicated to the entrepreneur, with more than 200 offices in the United States and Canada. The company offers a full range of services to individuals seeking alternate career options and to franchise businesses looking to increase performance.