This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
Every decision made by any leader impacts the overall brand and all of its parts.
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We are in the strategy-implementation phase of the Fight for Your Franchise Challenge focusing on real-world leadership skill development. This week, our strategy is one of my most powerful leadership techniques, one I’ve used it to help my client’s make some of the most critical decisions in their business histories.
I call this process the Three Decision Lens strategy, and it ensures that you are applying the Upside Down Pyramid servant leader structure, as well as increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Some franchise leaders make hasty decisions that have negative results. Remember that franchising is like no other business model. Franchising is a large network of entrepreneurs that are interdependent. Every decision that is made by any leader in the ecosystem impacts the overall brand and all of its parts.
The Three Decision Lens strategy helps you focus and prioritize by gathering all of the intelligence like we did back in coaching session week four for the Evaluate, Adapt and Overcome exercise. We then place this information into three distinct categories called lenses to remind us to look through the center of the three lenses to render a balanced decision. The lenses are Legal, Practical and Political. When you place this information and the probable outcomes in each lens, you will see the best decision pulls into the center or target zone that assigns the appropriate importance and balance on the decision, resulting in the best decision that everyone can agree is fair and positive for the overall brand.
Legal (and Finance)
The legal lens will look at the contracts, legal obligations, possible exposure and liabilities and financial calculations. This lens also includes the financial elements to consider.
The practical lens looks at how the decision will likely impact the overall company and all of its members.
The political is usually the most important of the three, because it gauges the team member’s commitment to the company. Think of this as the way they feel about you as the leader and that of your management team.
The best way to understand this process is to play out a couple of real-world sceneries to illustrate. In the first case, we are going to assume that we are a franchisor that is considering the change of a national supplier to save a little money.
Lets look at the three steps in the process:
- Legal. When we gathered all of the intelligence for the legal lens, we found that we have the legal right to change a supplier as stated in our franchise agreements. You also crunch the numbers and see that you can add close to $50,000 to the bottom line in savings for the corporate office.
- Practical. The practical lens findings show you that the changeover would be smooth from the technology and implementation standpoint, but the unit-level changes may be challenging on the franchise owners.
- Political. The political lens, which is often the most important of the three, shows you that many franchise owners become distressed when they consider the impact on their local businesses. Many owners have great relationships with this vendor, and the reduced productivity may cost more than the savings from switching.
The target decision for this scenario is to show the franchise owners the benefits of using the new supplier and share the savings as an incentive (i.e. servant leadership) and offer to allow them to transition overtime to ease the negative impact on their units.
For the second scenario, let’s assume you are a Dallas franchise owner that is thinking about staying open 24 hours to try to increase revenue for your local unit.
- Legal. Based on your franchise agreement and lease, you have the option to operate a 24-hour operation.
- Practical. From the practical standpoint, you find that the logistics will be manageable, but you will have to work the overnight shifts for the first month to ensure a smooth transition.
- Political. The political lens shows you that the current employees are not interested in working overnight and forcing the issue may result in the loss of several employees.
The target decision for this scenario is to begin the interviewing process to hire overnight staff and offer incentives to existing staff members if they would work overnight shifts. You also decide to transition slower by only staying open overnight on weekends at first to reduce the negative impact on the staff and give you a better read on the increased revenue potential.
Try this exercise for your business:
- Draw the Three Decision Lenses on the board and label them Legal, Practical and Legal.
- Write a current decision that you have struggled with recently across the top.
- Enter all of the related intelligence and probable outcomes in each lens.
- Render a decision based on the most balanced positive outcome.
- Measure your goals and KPIs and adjust as needed.
This week on our Franchise Bible Coach Radio Podcast with Rick and Rob, our guest was Zachary Blue, franchise owner, Buffalo Wings and Rings in Wichita, Kansas. Zach shared many of his critical decisions that had an impact on his business, staff and community. You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking on the FBC Podcast drop down on the Weekly Content tab at www.franchisebiblecoach.com.
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