franchise, enterprise and entrepreneurship

Every client that we have ever worked with has, at some point in our relationship, talked about wanting their people 'to be more entrepreneurial'.

Our role has been to help them actually understand what they are asking for, galvanise if necessay them to confront the senior teams robustly enough to create the culture that would allow it, and challenge them to address the issues of reward, recognition, pay for performance and employment contracts necessary to bring real entrepreneurs into their organisations.

Some of our clients retain us to assist them to move away from having employed managers running their retail estate, to a situation where those individuals and their staff are off the balance sheet and a new franchisor/franchisee relationship has been both financially and legally created. Our contribution has been to define the behavioural and attitudinal success criteria of a franchisee in this context and then recruit from a pool of existing managers, external individuals, aspiring staff members and professional franchisee businesses whose people best suited to be successful. In truth, we rarely now use the f-word (franchisee) as most of our clients prefer the mutuality that goes with the alternative – brand partner.

Many clients want their employees to stay on the balance sheet but they also need their individuals to behave more 'as if they have a stake in the business' or 'make decisions as if it is your own business'. Our approach here is largely similar in terms of process although there will be no exchange of cash and no separation of employment. The results, however, are remarkably similar. When an organisation treats and respects its employees as partners, then that is how they begin to behave.

Leadership is personal and it is our belief that every employee has the potential to operate with a more entrepreneurial approach. The secret is to negotiate the bounded freedom within which a person can truly operate with empowerment – not a word we particularly like, as it has become devalued in organisations where responsibility is delegated – but where authority lays further up the management hierarchy.

For an example of how we have helped a client achieve this, see the story of Franchise Brand Partnering.

Questions we have been asked by clients:

"How can we encourage a spirit of enterprise, promote entrepreneurial behaviour and build employee confidence, self belief and courage alongside creating a set of meaningful and shared approaches to discipline, governance and diligence?"