Tag Archive: Randy Hall

Who Will Be Franchisee of the Year?


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!

I Did It … I Did It!

I accomplished my goal of posting to my blog daily this week.

GiGi and Kace

Today I want to reflect on 2010. Personally, the birth of my grandson represents the best of the year. Unfortunately, there is also the worse of the year with the death of my brother-in-law just a few days ago.

Professionally, there are several great things that took place in 2010. I will leave the bad for another post.

COMPUTER EXPLORERS conference in March gave me the opportunity to meet Randy Hall in person. Randy is CEO, 4th Gear Consulting and we developed a friendship and working relationship virtually. Randy worked with franchisees in group coaching sessions prior to conference and his presentation at conference was extremely well received. He had us focus on success and how financial success won’t last unless we are enjoying what we love in your business. Meet Randy here on this link to the COMPUTER EXPLORERS YouTube channel.

Mirror Test

I was fortunate to be one of the speakers at ICED (International Center for Entrepreneur Development) Executive Conference. The keynote speaker was Jeffrey Hayzlett. In all honesty, until I was asked to be a speaker at the conference I never gave Jeff a second thought. I started following him on Twitter and then read his book The Mirror Test.  In fact, the entire COMPUTER EXPLORERS team read the book and took the test to determine if our business was really breathing. To say Jeff has lots of personality is an understatement. Take a minute to search the Web and watch some of his videos and/or read his book.

Social Geek Radio fan Dana Lopez

Social Geek Radio launched in May! It was a big step to move outside of my comfort zone and try something so public. It’s been a real learning experience and a great deal of fun. There are a few loyal fans like Wendy Hatch and Dana Lopez that listen weekly. Knowing they are there supporting me is very comforting. This week I received an email from a listener, Angela. She said that she listened once and is now hooked. I don’t know Angela and I’m sure she doesn’t know what that email meant to me.

COMPUTER EXPLORERS new Website launched with a lot of hard work by St. Jacques Marketing firm, the Franchise Advisory Council and Lorri Wyndham. It’s a work in progress but I’m confident as we enter 2011 it will get better engaging and providing valuable information to our communities.

These are just a few of my favorite things of 2010. (Does it make you want to break out in song?). Resolutions, goals, expectations are set for 2011 along with a determination to succeed.

Hopefully, this time next year my post will be I did it, I did it …. I just don’t know at this time what “it” will be.

Happy New Year!

How do you pick the perfect speaker for your conference? Do you depend on recommendations? Do you search the web and hope to find the individual that will connect with your attendees?

COMPUTER EXPLORERS had excellent speakers at the annual conference last week. Here’s why: I followed and almost stalked professional speakers on Twitter and read their blogs for weeks. After several eliminations I connected to a few via the old fashion way and had telephone conversations to get to know them. Again a round of eliminations.

I know my franchisees better than anyone else. I know what their needs are. I know their personalities. With this knowledge I look for a speaker that will engage and connect with the audience. Someone that my franchisees will trust and hang on to every word that is presented. You must know the audience 100% and fully understand the theme and goals for their presentation and share this with the speaker. A good…a perfect speaker will spend the time necessary to understand the culture and the audience before their scheduled presentation.

I needed speakers that would deliver educational content, be entertaining and motivational. Hard qualities to find but not impossible! Each of our speakers this year exceeded my expectations but more importantly the franchisees walked away with concrete action steps to take home with them. They were entertained by stories that were shared in presentations. They were motivated by the passion the speakers had for the topic and how it related personally to the COMPUTER EXPLORERS concept. Each speaker spent time with the franchisees before their session to get to know them personally and their challenges. They addressed everyone in the audience on a first name basis not because they were wearing a name tag but because they knew them personally.

I don’t have room in this blog post to give a full bio of each speaker but I can introduce them to you with a video!

Randy Hall, CEO 4th Gear Consulting

Michael St. Jacques, Chief Strategic Office, GMLV/St. Jacques

Susan Young, CEO Get in Front Communications

The speakers above made our conference a success. A big thank you to each of them!

Committed to Attend!

Virtual attendance

Virtual attendance

If you have read my previous posts you understand how excited I get about the COMPUTER EXPLORERS annual conference. What you may not realize is the level of excitement the franchisees have to attend. They look forward to the opportunity not only to attend the education sessions but they are extremely anxious to work with their peers.

This year we had several franchisees who could not attend due to unforeseen circumstances. Robin Scott, 2009 Franchisee of the Year and Franchise Advisory Council member experienced a medical emergency the day before her scheduled flight.

One of our speakers, Randy Hall was working with Robin in conference calls prior to conference. Randy got to know Robin and became very fond of her and Robin developed great respect for Randy and his expertise. Both were disappointed that they were not going to have the opportunity to shake hands and sit down together in person.

For every problem I firmly believe there is a solution and if creative enough it can be found. We could have Robin attend conference virtually! Using a laptop with video we connected Robin to sessions and moved her (the laptop) from table to table to work with various franchisees. Randy spoke to the group and engaged everyone participating including Robin! During group working sessions Robin was able to interact with the franchisees and complete the assignment that Randy gave the group.

Robin was a strong contributor and someone we would have missed terribly! It was rewarding watching franchisees run to a laptop to wave, send their best wishes and virtually hug a member of their franchise family.

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.