The Importance of Leadership and Development at Empower Brands
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The Importance of Leadership and Development at Empower Brands

The Importance of Leadership and Development at Empower Brands

In this article, I explore why Empower Brands puts such a strong focus on leadership and development (L&D), as well as practical ways we go about implementing these principles, including hosting our recent systemwide in-person meetings.

I read an article a few years ago in the Harvard Business Review that began, “The need for leadership development has never been more urgent.”

Although that article was published in 2019, the sentiment still rings true when you consider all we’ve faced over the last few years. Between the pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, and general socioeconomic unrest, companies of all kinds require different leadership skills and organizational capabilities than they had in the past to survive in this uncertain and volatile environment.

Therefore, one question comes to mind when we look to the future of our organization: What is Empower Brands doing to foster strong leadership and to create ample development opportunities at a time when it matters most?

Why pouring into your people matters

First, we have to determine why placing an emphasis on L&D is important to an organization like ours. In such a broad and ever-growing network, keeping our people happy is vital to maintaining the overall health of the organization.

L&D helps businesses attract, develop, and retain talent. It’s important for our culture that we’re training up and promoting our internal team, rather than turning to outside hires in every situation. It also increases the chance of achieving our desired bottom line and drives strategy execution. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to invest in the development of our people, including designing our 2023 goals to have a special focus on L&D following our recent rebrand and several leadership additions.

One size does not fit all

Knowing that every organization has its own unique nuances, L&D at Empower Brands is driven by two central themes. The first is our tailored approach. There’s no set formula for creating and uplifting great leaders and, in my opinion, there shouldn’t be. What we do rely heavily on is our people. There’s a lot you can learn from taking courses or having experts come in to teach you about L&D, but the best way to teach and uplift someone is to let them learn under the great leaders already in your organization. It’s so hard to learn the soft skills essential to good leadership if you aren’t learning by example.

A recent approach we’ve taken with our brands has been the creation of advisory councils. These are groups of outstanding franchise owners who have shown tenacity and true leadership and who are willing to teach best practices, give advice, and serve as target examples for all owners in the network to emulate.

Second is our democratic approach to L&D. We value the opinions of our internal teams and franchise owners alike. We rely heavily on their feedback and participation to foster discussion and make decisions. Championing the success of our franchise owners is the most important facet of our business, so their needs are at the forefront of everything we do. If I hear from someone that they could lead better with a specific change or under different circumstances, I’m more than willing to listen and see how we can adjust their situation.

Overall we’re flexible, and that’s how it should be. The old ways of relying solely on learning modules and leadership seminars simply aren’t going to cut it anymore. We must listen to the needs of our people and create a plan for the L&D of our organizations from there.

Bringing our people together

Another way we like to boost morale and encourage development is through our in-person meetings. And here I just have to brag: I think we put on great events!

After we announced our rebranding last November, we suddenly had even broader access to the brainpower and unique experiences of leaders from all walks of the business and franchising world. It became imperative to get all of our leaders on the same page—not only for their benefit, but for the health of the entire organization. Less than a month after our big announcement, we flew anyone with a direct report out to Atlanta for our first-ever Empower Brands leadership meeting.

Could this meeting have taken place on Zoom or on a conference call, or could we have simply outlined the key points in an email? Maybe. But in our post-pandemic world, there is nothing more important than having face time to really understand and build relationships with each other. I think everyone in attendance would agree on how pivotal this meeting was for the future of the business.

Speaking of pivotal meetings, we had the privilege earlier this year of hosting our first annual meeting as Empower Brands where we invited all of our residential franchisees to Orlando for an electric week of bonding, growth, and improvement. My favorite part of these events is recognizing our franchise owners for their achievements and leadership from the previous year and giving the rest of the network a call to action to emulate these outstanding owners.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, our people come first. That’s why we’re always looking to build up our teams and reward and uplift our franchise leaders. This is the best—and only—way for us to maintain our special culture, champion the success of our owners, and maximize our revenue. I think we have a great approach to L&D so far, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves in the coming years as our network expands and new leaders emerge.

Scott Zide is CEO at Empower Brands, a multi-brand franchisor of commercial and residential services. Founded in 2022 as a product of the integration of Lynx Franchising and Outdoor Living Brands, its seven brands are Jan-Pro, Intelligent Office, FRSTeam, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Conserva Irrigation, and Superior Fence and Rail. Visit the company’s new website at EmpowerFranchising.com.

Published: April 3rd, 2023

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