Multi-Unit Strategies - Start with the End in Mind
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 of Impact Hospitality Group (more than 35 Huddle House, Fazoli's, and Wingstop restaurants)
Changing your mindset
To shape events--rather than be shaped by them--requires a shift in mindset. Start with the end in mind, says Mike Lokhandwala, who heads Impact Hospitality Group's operations. The Norcross, Georgia-based company has more than 35 Huddle House, Fazoli's, and Wingstop restaurants. "Focus on the input and not the outcome," he advises. "Outcome is only a by-product of what you put in."
Experience is also a great teacher. Lokhandwala, who began his restaurant career as a cook at Popeyes, credits the early insights he gained while moving up the management ladder for influencing how he leads his multi-brand company today. As he ascended to team member, shift leader, and management, he noticed a disconnect when it came to managing the expectations of all the stakeholders: guests, crew, franchisor, and franchisee.
"Over time, I began to realize that to operate a successful business, having an objective approach, not a subjective one, was the key to driving results, which eventually balanced all stakeholders' expectations," he says. "It was a journey to handle this change, and it still is. It began by challenging the status quo, which in general is a risky approach, as it is contrary to what is generally accepted or expected. But the 'aha' moment struck when this approach demanded change that led to delivering desired results."
Emphasizing outcome over production can also help convey a higher purpose that people can see daily, weekly, and monthly to create a balanced corporate vision of all stakeholders. Most businesses generally overlook this approach, says Lokhandwala.
"It is crucial to be able to forecast what the finish line looks like, and from it, create a vision that can be translated to your teams, which motivates them to contribute toward the organization's goals at large," he says. This approach is harder with multiple brands, particularly today with the proliferation of data, which can be all-consuming. To overcome this potential analysis paralysis, Lokhandwala views each brand and location as an individual company.
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