Winning hockey teams: parallels between competitive sports and franchising: building a successful team takes strong leadership skills, be it a sports team or a Fortune 500 company.

Author:Roberts, Alex


Certainly the headline begs the question: "What? How could hockey and franchising have anything in common?" Before dismissing the idea completely, think about this: Winning hockey teams always have great leadership, accountability, discipline and a strategy to know their game plan and their competition.

Here's another thought to consider: Creating a successful hockey team involves recruiting, developing, teaching and leading. Sound familiar? Any of those concepts ever come into play in building a thriving franchise system?

After a 14-year career as a hockey player and coach, peers in franchising are always interested to hear how skills acquired on the ice have transferred to the franchising arena. Once they get past the immediate images of roughing, fights and body checks associated with the sport, most people are surprised--not only at the many similarities between the competitive sport and franchising--but at the valuable lessons they take away from making the comparison.

Today, as the president of Mr. Handyman International, while there may not be a puck involved, there certainly are goals, including growing the system and maintaining robust unit economic growth for franchisees. As leaders or head coaches of your own franchising teams, consider applying the following hockey and sports world concepts to your overall strategy. Many of these approaches refer to your role as a leader at the corporate office of your franchise organization, but also can be applied at the unit level by your franchisees:

Build an environment that inspires. Building a successful team takes strong leadership skills, be it a sports team or a Fortune 500 company. As a leader, it's important to have a positive work environment that will motivate and inspire the rest of the team. Maintain strong relationships with every single member of your team, and always listen to what they have to say. You may not agree, but always have an open door and open ears.

Create a positive vibe. Maintaining a positive attitude can ignite the success of a sports team--likewise it can ignite the success of your franchise brand. While the economy has affected everyone, it's up to leaders to stay positive about the future of your franchise system. Find the right people and work through it. Your attitude can affect your game and everyone else's. A positive attitude can have a domino affect and spread through your franchise organization.

Accountability counts. As one...

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