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Itís Important That Franchise Leaders Control Their Egos

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Effective leadership often requires striking a balance between ones ego and the need to solicit and encourage constructive feedback.  Because franchisors must lead their organization, employees and franchisees to their respective goals, itís important that ego not impede these important objectives.

It would be difficult to find a franchise company not founded by an entrepreneur with a certain amount of ego. After all, it takes a strong sense of belief in oneself to risk their capital, business and more to start a franchise. Moreover, when it comes to ego, there are few qualifying factors. Individuals can have strong egos regardless of their age and education. As a franchise company begins to emerge and grow the founderís ego that fueled the birth of this new business may need to be controlled.

John Baldoni, a leadership consultant, coach, and author describes ego this way:

 ďLeaders need to have conviction about what they do; they need to love their work and the people who do it. That's passion. By contrast, personalization is the conflation of ego and hubris; it causes a loss of focus because the executive puts what he wants to do ahead of what the company should do. Personalization is the enemy of the business case, and for that reason you should avoid it.Ē

To expect leaders to lack a certain amount of ego would be naÔve. The key is not allowing ego to get in the way of leadership. One definition of egoism is ďAn inordinate concern for oneís own welfare and interest.Ē

Various psychologists believe that an ego out of control can be a problem, especially in the business world. However, a lack of ego can also be a problem. The egotistical leader lacks humility and a leader with too little ego can lack confidence. When an individual has too much ego, they can become arrogant.

A Franchisor Organization Leads Two Groups

Because a franchise organization includes two distinct components; the franchisorís employees and the franchisees, itís important that the franchise leader is able to influence, inspire and motivate each group to accomplish specific goals and objectives.  It may be difficult for the founder to put their ego aside. After all, itís usually the founder of the franchise who built the original business model and is the resident expert. This is their baby so to speak and when it comes to babies its human nature to be overly protective, even in the business world. However, in order for the franchise to grow and flourish there must be a diversity of knowhow. Although a franchise provides a scalable business model, each franchisee will experience various situations in their own marketplace and will develop a knowledge base that could benefit the entire network  This requires that the franchisees have a voice, whereby, they can communicate their concerns and issues to franchisor leadership. Whether, through a franchise advisory council, survey or other vehicle this voice needs to be heard.  Franchisor leadership that fails to listen or respond to the concerns of key management or its franchisees because of an over-inflated ego takes a chance that a bad situation can get worse before it gets better.

Advice for Checking an Ego

  • As the franchise grows there will be more people able to contribute insight regarding the operation of the franchise. Be open minded after all, Ray Kroc got some great ideas from his franchisees.
  • Donít dismiss feedback from franchisor staff out of hand. The old adage ďNo news is good newsĒ is not always true in a franchise network. Follow up on reports of franchisee complaints, especially, if from more than one source.
  • Surround yourself with talented people that are not afraid to speak up. Solicit feedback and stay in touch with employees. Sometimes itís the employees near the bottom of the org chart that have quality feedback.
  • Remember that the most successful franchise builders involved and listened to their franchisees. Franchise builders like Ray Kroc, Dave Thomas and William Marriott were leaders that were able to put their ego aside for the benefit of the organization.

Itís understandable for franchise founders to have a certain amount of ego, otherwise they could lack the self confidence to launch and develop a new franchise company. However, as the franchise evolves itís important that these leaders keep their ego under control; otherwise the organization may fail to reach its full potential.

ďLearning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.Ē

William Pollard

© 2011 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

 

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