Growing Your Units by Growing Your Leaders
I own and operate franchised locations across many states and am often asked, "How are you able to have so many locations spread over such a distance and still have them perform as if you are visiting them weekly?"
Part of the reason for my success in remotely managing a large number of units is because I use The Four Responsibilities of a Leader> with every member of my management team. The Responsibilities simplify what a real leader should do, every day, and they improve the quality of the leadership within the four walls of the business, as well as the quality of the support team. This allows me to grow my team and, ultimately, my company.
The Four Responsibilities of a Leader
- Protect the Gratitude - Teach team members the benefits of gratitude in the workplace.
- Protect the Vision - Focus the team on a shared goal.
- Constantly Challenge the Status Quo - Always improve outcomes and grow individually and as a team.
- Constantly Develop Leaders Around You - Train team members to do more than their current position requires.
Responsibility 1: "Protect the Gratitude." This forms the culture of your team. A team that operates from a position of gratitude toward their customers and fellow team members and has gratitude for the structure and reliability of a solid organization is happy and has a strong culture. This Responsibility is first because I feel it is the most important: great personal growth follows from great gratitude.
Responsibility 2: "Protect the Vision." Often this is your company's mission statement. Sometimes it can be a particular goal or deadline you want your team to focus on. If everyone is working toward the same goal, everything can be achieved faster and more easily, with much less stress. Leaders protect the team from getting off course and help them stay focused on the real goal. Great leaders never let the vision of the company change simply because the current set of habits prevents them from making the vision a reality. They change the habits of the team to be in line with achieving the vision.
Responsibility 3: "Constantly Challenge the Status Quo." Good leaders always celebrate their wins, but they never completely take their foot off the proverbial gas pedal of improvement. Focus on improving what you have identified as your key business indicators as well as individual and team growth. Have you ever hit a performance goal for your team only to watch it slowly slip down because they are no longer challenged with growing? Teams are like muscles: you have to work and challenge them to get them to grow and be healthy. Otherwise your team experiences atrophy.
Responsibility 4: "Constantly Develop Leaders Around You." This is all about building a deep bench of future leaders for your company. I am often asked, "How do you motivate and retain Millennials in your company when they do not have the same intrinsic motivation as previous generations?" Leadership development is the answer to that question -- they want to be in an environment where they can grow and feel like someone cares about them. When you take the time to develop them into leaders, you are doing both at the same time, and you are building a deep reservoir of managers for when you expand your locations.
How do you implement these Four Responsibilities?
- Explain all of them to your managers, but have them implement one responsibility at a time. They are ordered for a reason. If you have a team that is truly grateful for their fellow team members, their customers and the company itself will respond and create the momentum and excitement to implement the next Responsibility.
- Once your team is centered in gratitude, it is time to start talking about your team's purpose. For me, the purpose comes from a clear vision that starts with a well-articulated mission statement. Do not change the mission statement because it is difficult to achieve -- that is what companies with high turnover and low performance do! Such companies do not focus on living the mission statement either, because something seemingly more important comes to the surface, or the team's current set of habits cannot make the vision a reality. "Our customers don't want that." "I could do that if I had better team members." "That's not realistic in a real-world environment." These are but a few examples of how leaders change the vision to meet the team's current habits.
- The third Responsibility is all about growth and improvement with your team. Making the mission statement a bigger, brighter reality is only part of it. There are so many aspects of the company that you can challenge your team to improve every day. Some examples include improving employee turnover rates, creating an even better work environment that attracts the very best in your market, and enhancing training. Challenging the status quo is not just about key business indicators, though; it is also about challenging how we think about everything. Empower your leaders to think about better ways of achieving outcomes in your company!
- Finally, develop leaders all around you. I cannot count the times I have chatted with a district manager about promoting a team member to take over a store or open a new location -- and each time, the team members we promote come from stores where the manager is living and breathing the Four Responsibilities. There are never potential candidates at the stores where the managers are not enacting the Four Responsibilities.
If you want to grow fast, steadily, and relatively stress-free, make sure you have store managers living the Responsibilities. Train each of your team members to do more than what their current position requires, and give them the experience of leading other people so they can grow.
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