Multi-Unit Strategies - Inspiring and Leading People
The need to grow from hands-on management to influential leadership is a challenge every franchisee must overcome on their way to becoming a successful multi-unit operator. Though the journey is different with no one-size-fits-all approach, there are well-trodden paths to making the transition from day-to-day management to strategic leadership. Successful multi-unit operators understand that the path to great leadership never ends.
We recently interviewed a number of operators who shared their secrets to making the transition from managing to leading. Here's some of what they had to say.
Mike Lokhandwala heads up Impact Hospitality Group, a company with more than 35 Huddle House, Fazoli's, and Wingstop restaurants.
Tim Stokes and Chris Benner operate Trident Holdings, a private equity group with 33 Captain D's restaurants.
Great leaders inspire and lead by example
Effective managers push to motivate their people to get results; great leaders inspire. The ability to inspire requires learning how to pull people toward a shared, clearly outlined and articulated vision.
"I think it really boils down to inspiring people and instilling a culture where every team member feels appreciated and has the opportunity to prosper personally as the company prospers," says Tim Stokes, a Captain D's multi-unit operator who frequently speaks with other large operators to pick their brains and exchange ideas.
Great leaders also lead by example. Mike Lokhandwala, who operates Huddle House, Fazoli's, and Wingstop restaurants, says he prefers to lead by influence and inspiration, rather than by imposing power and control. To better understand, evaluate, and share any struggles his team may face in executing efficiently, he practices what he preaches by taking his brands' training programs himself.
"The concept of inclusion has proven to be very powerful," he says. "It is important for people to be able to see how their input contributes to the big picture. Including people in the grand scheme of things versus showing them where they belong on the organizational hierarchy has proven to be very efficient."
Researchers who study leadership also suggest successful leaders share a key trait: the capacity of self-reflection, not just during a transition, but regularly in authentic and open-minded ways. They get honest feedback on how they are doing, ask questions, embrace change, continuously educate themselves, and fail smart.
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