Tag Archive: 4th Gear Consulting


Who Will Be Franchisee of the Year?

"Franny"

The annual COMPUTER EXPLORERS conference is always something I look forward to. It’s an opportunity to spend time with the franchisees as a group. Time to brainstorm, learn from their successes and time to work through the challenges!

Each year we recognize one franchisee for their outstanding individual performance and their contributions that have enhanced the COMPUTER EXPLORERS franchise system. The Distinguished Achievement Award, “The Franny”, is an IFA (International Franchise Association) award and the highest honor a franchisee receives.

Last year the “Franny” was awarded to Jen Morack.  Randy Hall, CEO 4th Gear was in the audience. Randy was our keynote speaker which followed our award ceremony. Your can find a clip of Randy on the COMPUTER EXPLORERS YouTube channel here. I highly recommend him!

Jen Morack, Franchisee of the Year

Here is what Randy posted about Jen on his blog It’s Time to Lead:

“I had an opportunity to speak to business owners from across the country recently at their annual convention.  Prior to my keynote address they gave out several awards to members of their group.  There was one individual who, it seemed, hardly had time to sit down before she was called back to the stage to receive another award.

Her name was Jenifer, and she not only received an award for how well her business performed financially, despite the challenging market conditions, she also received an award for mentoring and helping others along the way, as well as the top award for all around best performance.

Would you stand out as a leader?

The interesting thing was, even after only meeting Jen on the bus ride from the airport and watching her interact with others at dinner the night before, I wasn’t a bit surprised at how many awards she received.  Her leadership skills were clearly evident.

Everything about Jen, the way she carried herself, her energy level, her interaction with others, her desire to help, even if it was just holding the door for someone dragging a suitcase, demonstrated that she was a leader.  At the dinner table she listened intently to the conversation, made everyone around her feel important and participated, but didn’t dominate.  You could tell that Jen understood that leadership is not about the leader; it’s about everyone else.

Jenifer’s role within the group isn’t even a position of leadership, at least not in the hierarchical sense.  She is, from an org chart perspective, a peer with the other business owners attending the convention.  And yet, you could see people consistently seeking her out and asking questions to learn more about how she was running her very successful business.  She always shared, and she always did it with a smile and a sense that it was conversation she could learn from too.

Jen was a reminder to me that leadership isn’t about position; it’s about mindset.  It’s not about being in charge; it’s about making a difference.  It’s not about telling; it’s about sharing.  And it’s not about having authority; it’s about adding value,”

The next Franchisee of the Year has big shoes to fill following Jen!

If you lead, they will follow

When I attended IFA (International Franchise Association) I learned that there were several franchisors that did not make it due to the poor economy. There are several more that may not make it this year.

I will admit that COMPUTER EXPLORERS  was rattled. We  asked ourselves if the poor economy would force us to quit. When I say “we” I mean both corporate and franchisees.  In a strategic planning session late last year we answered that question. It was decided that we DO NOT want to quit nor continue as status quo. What is needed for COMPUTER EXPLORERS is to seriously look at the model, opportunities and possible changes. We are doing that.

What  I am also finding is that the effects of the economy shook some of my franchisees to their inner core.  I have conducted serious discussions about their future. Do they have what it takes to continue? Can they move from fear to fight? Are they planning to close or to lead?  If they choose to lead what is needed from them to lead their team? What changes if any do they as a franchisee need to make to survive? The conversations are hard. Honesty is a must in order to move forward.

Sometimes I need to call in reinforcements to help me with these discussions. Strong business coaches that will make my franchisees dig deep and discuss  their plans and strategies about the future of their  business. Coaches that will not accept the standard “I plan to grow my business” but make them articulate the how and why in detail. Coaches that will push for clarity and discuss their why and detail the how.

Some of the reinforcements I have worked with are the best in the franchise industry: David Handler, Joe Mathews and Flo Schell to mention a few. My latest recruit is Randy Hall, CEO 4th Gear Consulting. In the short time I have worked with Randy I have grown to respect and trust his coaching skills. Randy is not only a coach but a presenter and I look forward to his presentation at our annual conference in March.

Last week a group of franchisees exerted emotional labor on a call with Randy. They love their business, pour their heart and soul into the daily activities and without realizing it they are the “Linchpins” that Seth Godin writes about. They are the essential building blocks of our franchise system. They speak frankly about their needs and challenges as a franchisee. They are not afraid to address what  they are not receiving from the corporate office. But they do it constructively and with a purpose to improve the system.

As President & CEO of COMPUTER EXPLORERS I know that there will always be franchisees that will leave the system. It will be a decision that is right for them as individuals and for the system. I am confident that the franchisees that plan to continue will lead their business by working hard. They will attend conference in March with a goal to succeed and an open mind to new strategies. Leading franchisees will continue to work with business coaches and not be afraid to put themselves out there. They will make a committment to build a stronger business which naturally build a stronger system.

I don’t want to quit. I plan to be a strong leader and dig much deeper into the how I plan to lead.