Synergy—The Ultimate Power
As we welcome 2017, there couldn’t possibly be a better opportunity to reflect upon the future and growth of the 7-Eleven Enterprise. In this fine publication’s latest editions, you all must have seen some head-turning headlines such as minimum wage increases, new agreement negotiations, and competitive pricing issues. Although we have all been deeply impacted at the front end of these events individually, I would like to humbly put forth that the need for all vendors, franchisees and SEI to work together is greater than ever.
We must all work together in this partnership for continuous growth and prosperity. At the end of the day, what do vendors want? What does SEI want? What do the franchisees want? We all simply want to continue to grow and to sustain. So we must all be concerned with each other’s growth and financial health, and we can do so by putting all our forces and resources together.
Regardless of the challenges we face, we all intend to stay in business and aim to protect our investors and jobs. In order to do so, we must understand the basis for transformation of our industry. To succeed and to have a purpose towards the continual improvement of 7-Eleven products and services, with a plan to become competitive and prosperous, we must find clarity in our vision. What are we doing, and why are we doing it?
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 percent of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and most people don’t see it coming. Will we see it coming? Will we be prepared? All of this to say that shift happens! It is happening all around you and at a very fast pace. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
Uber, Airbnb and many recent wonders show that we now live in a new economic age where customer demand changes very fast and the market competition is steadily increasing. We must awaken to these challenges, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for the change we wish to see in the coming years. We need to deviate our thinking from short-term profitability and aim to become competitive, to stay in business and to provide jobs.
For instance, we sometimes spend lots of time and effort to find better vendors and shift rapidly between them for short-term gains. Along with the anticipated resolution to minimize total cost, we should move towards a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. We must drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively for a common goal. We all must build trust and cooperation and collaborate on pressing issues that concern the entire 7-Eleven Enterprise. The solution is to create outstanding agreements that align the interests of all partners.
To effectively do so, we have to learn and adopt the new philosophy, one of cooperation and communication, to benefit all. We can no longer live with usually accepted levels of miscommunication with our partners. Defective relationships are a cost to the system. The problems we will face in the future will require dedication to improvement. Improvement never stops; it can never finish as change never finishes, and as we go through these changing and challenging times its imperative that the entire 7-Eleven Enterprise come together for pursuit of a common goal.
Or as writer Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, would say: “We need to “synergize.” In his exact words, “Synergy means two heads are better than one. It is teamwork, open-mindedness and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through the process, people bring all their personal experience to the table. Together, they can produce far better results than they would individually.”
I take these words as is simply because I could not have said it better myself, plus I strongly believe in taking a little help when needed.