Category: leadership

Memorial Day Meaning

What does Memorial Day mean to you? A day off? Cookouts? Fireworks? Will you attend a community parade to celebrate? Is your flag flying proudly today? Does Memorial Day have a special meaning for you as it does my friend Rachel Parker? Read her blog post today: A Humble “Thank You

Did you know that May is actually National Military Appreciation Month? Both chambers of the U.S. Congress have adopted a resolution calling for Americans to recognize and honor U.S. service members during May’s National Military Appreciation Month.

Memorial Day has a personal meaning to me. Today I will think of my friends and family who currently serve in the Armed Forces for our nation.

They work and train hard for our freedom. It’s their service that allows us to enjoy our day off, cookouts and freedom!

I miss them and words can not describe how proud I am of their dedication and leadership!   

Last week I had the opportunity to work with Joe Mathews, Franchise Performance Group and a leading franchise system. One of the topics of the day was evaluating the current corporate culture and steps needed to create an “achievement culture”.

Joe says: “Whatever the culture is, whatever the organization values, will ultimately determine the overall behavior and therefore effectiveness of the organization. The culture of the organization can be best described by how the corporate executives and the franchisees answer the following questions”:

  • Would franchisees say the value of the tools and support they receive is greater than or equal to the royalty dollars invested?
  • Do franchisees, employees, and leadership of the franchisor trust each other and work towards crafting mutually profitable campaigns, offers, and solutions?
  • Do franchisees feel they are heard AND understood?
  • Does information routinely flow up and down the organization or just funnel down from the top?
  • Would franchisees say they are informed about issues important to them?
  • Would they say they feel like an integral part of a team or more like the low man/woman on the totem pole?

If you are a member of a franchise organization, how would you answer the questions above? Does your organization have an achievement culture that attracts and retains top franchisor executives, employees and franchisee talent?   If not, what would it take to move the organization to achievement?

The Dwyer Group out of Waco, TX is an excellent example of an achievement culture. They are not only an active member in the franchise industry but in my opinion one of the leaders. Dina Dwyer-Owens has served as the CEO and chairwoman of The Dwyer Group since 2007. She is past chair of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and recently appeared on Undercover Boss!

Like most organizations, The Dwyer Group has an official mission statement and vision. What stands out in The Dwyer Group is their  Code of Values. Employees and franchisees are encouraged to live by the values professionally and personally.

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Customer Focus
  • Having Fun in the Process!

Dina has published, Live R.I.C.H, where she shares how the company values are the roadmap to success of The Dwyer Group.  I highly recommend it.

Outside of the franchise industry is a company in Las Vegas Nevada that is well known for their service and their culture. That company is Zappos.  Tony Hsieh, CEO helped Zappos grow from very little to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. That’s very impressive but what is equally impressive is their ranking  as “Best Companies to Work For”.  Tony and the Zappos team live by their 10 core values, listed below.

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

To learn more about Zappos, read Delivering Happiness by CEO, Tony Hsieh and request their recent Culture Book via this link

What other franchises or organizations do you believe has an Achievement Culture?

Do you need help building an Achievement Culture? If so, connect with me!

Deb Evans, Karen Marshall (CE Founder) and Chuck Evans 1996

This week I’m transitioning from Deb, Computer Explorers to

Deb, Consulting Executive.

I started the week by sending new contact information to those I’ve worked with over the last several years. I quickly realized that providing new contact information without details about my future left some of my friends confused.

So what is next for DebCE?

FranCamp Planning – The first 2012 FranCamp will be held in Atlanta due to popular vote! Mark your calendar for Friday, May 4th to join us at the JW Marriott Buckhead. I am finalizing the speakers and currently looking for sponsors. My goal is to keep the registration fee as low as possible!

If you want to learn the real recipes that work in  social media in the franchise industry, from the most advanced franchisors, franchisees, consultants and experts in the field, this is a one-day conference you can’t afford to miss.

You won’t get sales pitches. You’ll walk away with a very sophisticated level of understanding about ALL of the pieces of a successful social media strategy.

Sessions will include but not limited to:

  • Social Media Gone Wrong!
  • How to Monitor and Leverage Social Platforms
  • Building the Perfect Social Media Campaign
  • Creating a Fan Community
  • Local Marketing Rules!
  • The Power in Connecting
  • Build Your Business…Build Your Brand…Build Your Legacy

Developing Peak Performing Franchisees – Next week I will travel to Nashville to work with Joe Mathews, Founder of the Franchise Performance Group. He has over 20 years experience with such national chains as Subway, Blimpies, Motophoto, and Entrepreneur’s Source.  Joe specializes in the area of franchisee recruitment, sales, and franchisee performance.  He is a regular presenter at IFA conferences and is an instructor with the ICFE (Institute of Certified Franchise Executive). Joe  is the author of two books, Street Smart Franchising with Don Debolt and Deb Percival and Meaning of Life Project.

Joe and I will train operational support teams in how to develop peak performing franchisees. We will use the five stage learning curve of franchisees and how to identify where each franchisee is in the curve. By teaching, training, consulting and coaching best practices our goal is to accelerate franchisees through the curve into peak performance.

So there you have it. That’s what next for DebCE.

Give me a call. 832-334-6664

Send me a Tweet @DebCE

Connect with me on

or listen to my weekly BlogTalkRadio show, Social Geek Radio with co-host AK Stout.

Deb Evans Consulting, LLC is now open for business! 

A Week of Choices

Last week was a week of choices for me professionally and personally. It was a week to make decisions based on the unknown and expectations for the future.

It reminded me of the story we tell at the end of personal development training. I have posted the story  below from the Website Mockingbird Education

In a valley between two mountains lies a small village.  In this modest village lives a man known throughout the area for his wisdom. He knows when it rains and thus when the village should plant crops.  He can predict the frost and thus when crops should be harvested.  He knows how to treat illness and prevent impending sickness. Well respected, people travel from afar to seek his advice and counsel.  People bring questions and the wise man provides answers.
In this village, a young boy is struggling to find his place in the world.   Internally, he is suffering.  He has, in his mind, not proven his value and worth.  He struggles for the respect of others.   In frustration, he decides to challenge the wise man believing that if he  defeats the village’s most respected person, he will take his   glory and respect.  The boy crafts a plan and shares it with his friends.
He says, “I will take a baby bird in hand and offer it the great man of knowledge.  I will ask the wise man two questions.   “What do I have in my hands?” and “Is it alive or dead?”

The boy’s challenge lay in the second question.  “Is the bird alive or dead?”  Should the wise man answer ‘alive’, the boy tells his friends that he will  crush the bird to death with his hands and throw in on the ground.

Conversely, if the wise man answers that the bird is dead, the boy shares with his friends that he will open his hands and let the bird fly free.

The boy is pleased with his friends’ reaction and sensing victory, he travels through the village to the wise man’s hut.  Along the way, he  gathers a crowd of followers.

Upon arrival, the wise man graciously acknowledges the young boy and encourages him to speak.  With defiance, the young adolescent thrusts the bird held within his closed hands before the man and asks—“What do I have in my hands?”

The wise man looks at the boy’s hands and says “ why, you have a baby bird in your hands.”  With this answer the  boy quickly asks– “Is it alive or dead?”

The wise man reflectively locks eyes with the troubled boy and  looking down at the boys hands and back into the young man’s eyes  replies “ why, that answer lies in your hands”

Bird in Hand

One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”

Stay tuned to learn more. One thing I am certain of,  it will not be much of the same!

Lead with Fun

When it comes to teaching children, the best way to get the job done is to make it fun. This is how Computer Explorers creates an environment where children are excited to learn new things. Hans Wagner, owner of Computer Explorers of the Lehigh Valley, helped organize an after school program for the children of Allentown School District elementary among several others. Watch this short video of Hans talking to a reporter describing the programs and his students sharing their work!

Not everyone can work with children and LEGOs. But … it is possible to have fun while working! Here are a few things I enjoy to do:

  • Lead with Fun – be willing to wear silly hats or gloves. Walk the halls and show off the silliness. Post pictures on social networks. It’s ok to laugh at yourself! Work can be boring but there is no reason why I have to be boring!
  • Engage with peers – I love dragging the folks from accounting, legal, and/or the print shop into the fun. In the picture below, Lorri Wyndham and I sported our gifts from Cyndee Perkins and walked the halls. We threatened to sing Christmas carols.
  • Be passionate and determine – this is one of Zappos core values and I try to live by it. My friend Joe Mathews, Franchise Performance Group says our work “should be a calling.”

We are coming to the end of 2011. If it wasn’t “fun” for you, think about 2012 and what changes you can make to enjoy it. Life is too short not to enjoy it and we spend too many hours a day working not too have fun while doing it!

holiday gloves and hat

Doug Davidoff

I subscribe to many blogs. One of my favorites is The Fast Growth Blog by Doug Davidoff. His most recent post “What We Need Is Confidence” is worth the read. He says: ” In a market that lacks confidence, buyers seek those who have it.  Now is the time for you to be certain; to live the philosophy: It’s ok to be wrong, just don’t be in doubt.”

It’s hard to be a strong leader when there are so many outside influences. There are times when it is difficult to keep my chin up and hold onto the confidence I arrive with first thing in the morning. Sometimes all it takes is one email and the doubt sneaks into the day.

Not only are buyers seeking confidence but so are peers, employees, franchisees, friends … I will admit there are times that I have to dig deep and believe in myself and what I do. Yesterday I started the day with a great positive attitude until that one email arrived. I quickly started questioning myself. My confidence was challenged. But not for long!

The next email I received came from a franchisee who has followed my lead and ventured into the world of blogging. She was asking for input. I had very little to give and soon she will be posting blogs without my review. Then I received a phone call from another franchisee who has been anxiously waiting news (good or bad) on a proposal on a new program we are offering. In fact, I have been anxiously waiting for news on the proposal and pleased that I was one of the first calls he made. Oh, it was good news too!

On Monday I recorded a short podcast for the system on the advantages of Google+. As hard as it is to believe, I have a few franchisees who still consider any social platform as a productivity drain. Late in the day, I received a notice that I had been circled by a franchisee who has resisted social media. That notification made my day! He/she may not have agreed with my rationale but at least it’s being tested for themselves.

It’s early and I am starting today with a positive attitude, a strong belief in myself and confidence that I can accomplish what I set out to do. It’s possible that outside influences may try to derail my direction but I will remember what Doug has said: “it’s ok to be wrong, just don’t be in doubt.” Thanks Doug!

Most Inspiring at ISTE

There were many inspiring individuals at ISTE this year. Keynote presenters, author Dr. John Medina of Brain Rules for Education and Stephen R. Convey author 7 Habits of Highly Effective People delivered thought provoking presentations.

Muriel Summers

What was most inspiring to me was listening to Muriel Summers, Principal of A. B. Combs Elementary Leadership Magnet School in North Carolina. Principal Summers shared how she used Covey’s principals on leadership to unlock the potential of her students.

Principal Summers introduced the audience to two of her graduating students. The young men (11 year olds)  stood on  stage presenting to thousands and captured our hearts. They  were so excited to share their involvement with a mentoring program  using technology to video Skype with students of the University Florida. During a question and answer session with the audience they shared how the student body plays a role in teacher hiring!

Covey says,  “leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it themselves. Leadership is a choice not a position. He stressed that teachers are leaders and  should help students see their full potential. ” The two young students were very articulate and passionate about the Covey principals. They were very confident in their beliefs and clearly are strong leaders in their school. The entire audience was inspired by their stories and the remarkable accomplishments of Principal Summers.

Here is an inspiring video of Principal Summers when she presented in February at the Global Education Summit: link here

The theme of the conference was “Unlocking Potential” As a leader in the franchise industry, I left the largest technology education conference inspired to unlock my own potential and the potential of those around me!

What’s Your Klout Score?

Michael Cohn,  founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC has a great blog post explaining Klout scores and why it is important. You can find his post here He says, “The Klout score is a metric of your total influence online. The higher your Klout score, the larger and more robust your sphere of influence. The variables that go into calculating a Klout score are interesting and important for business.”

I work hard to provide relevant content and information to my followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Klout is one resource to help me understand my true reach and  level of influence. According to Klout, I am a “Specialist” and they say “You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.”

I didn’t realize how competitive I was until I started using social media. I find myself competing for  foursquare badges with my daughter. I compete for mayorship’s with co-workers Lorri Wyndham and Charmayne Redd. I compete against Brian Conrey for leaderboard points.

The picture below represents my new  competition obsession with Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich. Her Klout score is higher than mine. You can take my word for it or you can click on the picture below to open and see that I’m 20 points behind her. She ranks as a “thought leader.” I’m satisfied at this point being a specialist with 2k followers. I don’t believe I need 18k+ followers to make a difference. But…I would like to catch up to Gini with more points and become more influential in my community!

Watch out Gini, here I come and I just might have some help from “our” friends!

I Thought You Were On Vacation

I should count the number of times I receive  “I thought you were on vacation” message. It pops up on Facebook chat, text message, direct message via Twitter and of course via email.

Texting on Vacation

I am on vacation but as everyone knows I belong to the bent-headed technology club. My iPhone is always tethered. It’s ready when I am to take awesome vacation pictures or respond to the text “I know you are on vacation but can you help with … ” from a franchisee.

Not long ago my vacation accrual was maxed out. I was at the use it or lose it stage. I hate to admit this but I actually lost some. I quickly realized this is insane! It was time to take a serious look at my work-life balance. No one is indispensable and with the exceptional team I have in place I am confident they can manage and make decisions without me.

A friend, Terri McCulloch, VP Sales & Marketing at Any Lab Test Now recently tagged me as a “Grandmapreneur”. For a few months I was spending Tuesdays caring for my grandson while my daughter-in-law was finishing her college degree. She could have enrolled him in a local daycare or I could spend the day bonding with him.  I couldn’t think of a better way to use my excess vacation. Technology allowed me to work virtually while performing grandma duties.  There were scheduled calls that I needed to conduct and the franchisees and/or business partners totally understood the noise in the background. In fact, there were several video Skype calls where they were able to meet him face to face!

So “yes, I’m on vacation” and having a great time! I used foursquare and checked into various locations so family,  friends and franchisees could follow my whereabouts. (I’m competing for new foursquare badges with my daughter and co-workers and earned two new ones this vacation!)

Swimmies foursquare badge

By the way, I also sent several emails, listened to a Webinar,  answered a few text messages, tweeted important event reminders, scheduled conference calls for next week, drafted a podcast … while enjoying time with my family and relaxing.

Today’s economy forces leaders to balance work and life. Sometimes it is a juggling act. With a little creativity and technology I am very productive on vacation days! I will return to work refresh and without the stress that I have a pile of work waiting for me.

Bud Hadfield

On Monday April 11th Bud Hadfield, a franchising legend died at the age of 87. A friend, a mentor and a leader.

I bet you didn’t know that in 1993, the Texas Senate declared Bud Hadfield Day due to his contributions to Texas citizens and involvement with civic groups and schools.

Maybe you didn’t know that in 2003 Bud was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame along with Bill Gates, Fred DeLuca and Mary Kay Ash.

You might not have been aware that Bud often met politicians and celebrities. As you walk toward his office, the hallways are filled with framed photographs of Bud with Ronald Regan, George W. Bush, Muhammad Ali, Chuck Norris, and Alan Sheppard to name a few. On my first visit with Bud I remember feeling very intimidated by the photographs. That anxiety didn’t last long. As soon as I sat down in front of Bud he immediately put me at ease with his uncanny ability to make me feel very important. In fact, Bud made everyone feel important.

Cyndee Perkins posted “The Road Not Taken Would Not Have Taken Us Here.” At the end she asks “What if Bud had not wanted to invest in the future? Invest in children? Invest in technology? We in COMPUTER EXPLORERS are grateful that the man who didn’t want to use a computer supported and nurtured us, and took us where we are today!”

Bud gave me an opportunity to grow as an individual and a leader, but he made me work for it. We didn’t always get along but those are the times I learned the most. He challenged me and enjoyed sparring–sometimes with the intention from the very beginning to approve my request! If we couldn’t come to an agreement, we would decide to continue the conversation another day and moved on to discussing our families.

A friend, David Handler, collected words of wisdom from Bud. His list is called “Franchising and other lessons from Bud.” There are a total of 106! Many I will always remember and some I have intentionally forgotten.

Here are my favorite top 15:

  1. When you have good people, don’t stand in front of them. Stand behind them.
  2. If you let it go, it will run away from you.
  3. Nothing is routine. We have an ongoing responsibility.
  4. Focus on the future. Plan ahead, not back.
  5. Do for them what they won’t do or can’t do for themselves.
  6. We’ve got to do the impossible now and then.
  7. It’s not the end result that matters. It’s what you did to help them get there.
  8. Never go into business that’s easy to go into.
  9. The most important call we get is from an owner with a problem. The second most important is a potential owner.
  10. When the mouse plays with the elephant, the mouse gets bigger.
  11. Sometimes we have to realize competitors are people too.
  12. Be an asset to their lives, not another problem.
  13. Don’t get your exercise from jumping to conclusions.
  14. Never create an expectation that can’t be met.
  15. There are some people in life you don’t want to like you.

Bud was someone everyone liked and whom you wanted to like you!

He will be missed but his lessons will live on.