Common Sense Communications
Organizations of every type and size live and die by their ability to communicate, both internally and externally. This holds true for corporations, non-profits, governments, and even families. The free flow of ideas and information is essential to the proper functioning of a vibrant business system, and the ability to effectively articulate needs, vision, purpose and facts separates success from failure. The National Coalition is no exception to this dynamic. For the National Coalition, efficient and effective communication is the most important service we can provide for our 40 member associations, our vendor partners and most importantly, individual franchisees.
Each local FOA is an independent, self-supporting organization with as many different operating styles as there are groups. FOAs are often staffed by unpaid volunteer workers who donate their time and energy. While some FOAs are highly structured, others are more informal. Still, the key ingredient is how well the FOA serves its members. If the local membership is dissatisfied, they can change leadership or form a new group. In either case, the decision is a local one. At the national level, the NCASEF must ask, “Are the franchisees in that marketplace connected to the greater franchise community?” This is vital to achieving unity of purpose and unity of system growth.
At our quarterly National Coalition Board meetings FOA representatives spend a lot of time, effort and energy discussing franchisee issues. Do all agenda items get an airing? Is effective action taken in all cases? Is value generated for the typical franchisee working long hours in his or her store, hoping for and expecting a ray of hope and a future with 7-Eleven? I believe WE CAN DO BETTER!
I live to see a day when the elected Vice Chairs of the National Coalition are assigned by the Chairman a geographic group of FOAs in order to assist them in membership services and member issues. I live to see a day when those regional FOAs have regular meetings—either electronically or in person—to encourage and assist franchisees in their day-to-day operating challenges, regardless if it is a “one store” issue or a market, Zone or global issue. To that one franchisee, it is THE issue.
I live to see a day when the National Coalition can meet and hear the reports out of market XYZ about store XYZ or franchisee XYZ. I work hard with my local FOA and the National Coalition, and it is great to resolve issues to a point where both franchisees and SEI profit. Is it possible? How can we afford NOT to do it? We have the technology and the resources, but do we have the collective will?
Further, with regard to FOAs, no association or individual should ever be subject to a prior restraint of thought or word. This could be in the form of written communication in a newsletter or requiring that questions be submitted in advance for a market meeting. The free flow of ideas and information is essential to proper functioning of a vibrant business system. Sometimes it is the hard questions that effect lasting change. I recall a time when a key element of TK training was “challenge the staus quo.” What changed?
Our industry is undergoing rapid change. The once heralded relationship between SEI and some franchisees has become at best adversarial. Now more than ever franchisees from all 30 states in which 7-Eleven operates must be connected to their counterparts all over North America. Only the efforts of the National Coalition can accomplish this.
What do you think?