It's been said that a little axe can chop down a big tree. And while this metaphor has a number of applications, rarely is it more appropriate than in describing the concept of change. In the business world, some moments of change happen swiftly. But in many cases, change, like the swing of that little axe, can be slower. Less noticeable. Sneaky.
For franchisors and franchisees not in tune with the changes in the marketplace, customer and market relevancy can slip away. By contrast, for those disciplined business owners and leaders, change can be recognizable. And where change is recognized, opportunities are unlocked. So how can franchisors and franchisees alike develop the disciplines needed to recognize change? Implementing some of the following approaches can help.
TALK ABOUT CHANGE OFTEN
Many franchisors create and execute a discipline of holding regular meetings with members of the executive leadership team. This seems to be a common practice among most efficiently-operating organizations.
Best-in-class companies take their meetings to another level by actually adding an item to the recurring agenda solely focused on business, marketplace and customer trending. This practice forces a discussion about how internal impacts (customers, vendors, employees, franchisees) and external (economy, regulatory environment) are affecting the future performance of the business. Add this simple item to your ELT agenda and start talking proactively about the trends in your business that point to needed changes.
ASSIGN A "CCO"
Most companies hire professionals to govern areas like sales, operations, IT, HR and the like. But where do the areas of competitive intelligence, ideation, business trends and change management fit? The short answer is in many organizations, they don't fit, aren't discussed and, thus, create a void when strategies and tactics are developed to help a brand remain relevant and thrive. A simple approach in any organization is to assign an existing executive or other key leader with the responsibility of also being the organization's "Chief Change Officer." The duties here are focused on working with internal and external resources to identify trends and metrics in the marketplace that require a thoughtful and planned approach to change.
MINE THE DATA FROM THE CUSTOMER
Let's face it, within franchise organizations, the people most often interacting with the brand's customers are the brand's franchisees. And in many cases...