The Power Of Respectful Dialogue

By Joe Rossi, NCASEF Executive Vice Chair

There’s no underestimating the power of open, honest, and respectful communication, especially when it comes to our interactions with representatives from 7-Eleven, Inc. (SEI). In my role as NCASEF Executive Vice Chairman, one of my key responsibilities is to ensure that the voices of our franchisees are heard, their concerns addressed, and their experiences shared. This is especially crucial when we’re in discussions with SEI, where our goal is not just to present our challenges, but to work collaboratively towards solutions that benefit everyone involved in this great system.

It’s important for us, as franchisee leaders, to express the pain points of our members. These are not just individual grievances or operational hurdles; they often represent broader, system-wide issues that can impact the success and sustainability of our stores. When we meet with SEI representatives, whether it’s during FOA meetings, NCASEF gatherings, or SEI-hosted committee meetings, we have a platform to bring these issues to light.

However, it’s crucial that these discussions remain civil and respectful. In any relationship, especially one as intricate and interconnected as ours with SEI, the tone of our conversations can set the stage for the outcomes. By maintaining professionalism and respect, we foster an environment where open communication is not just possible, but productive. This approach has helped us move away from confrontational standoffs and towards constructive dialogues, where both sides can express their perspectives, understand each other’s positions, and work together towards common goals.

In these discussions, it’s more beneficial to focus on global, system-wide issues rather than store-specific problems. While individual store challenges are certainly important, addressing broader issues can lead to changes and improvements that benefit a larger group of franchisees. For instance, discussing topics like inventory efficiencies, accounting system issues, or IT and Digital improvements can have a ripple effect, improving operations across all stores. These conversations can lead to strategic changes that elevate the entire brand, rather than just addressing isolated incidents.

This new era of open communication between SEI and franchisee leaders is not just about airing grievances; it’s about collaboration and partnership. It’s about coming together to identify challenges, brainstorm solutions, and implement strategies that propel our stores and the brand forward. We’ve seen positive outcomes from these discussions, including policy adjustments, improved support systems, and even the rollout of new programs that directly address the issues we’ve raised.

One of the key advantages of having these dialogues in formal settings like FOA or NCASEF meetings is the structured environment they provide. These forums allow for organized discussions, where issues can be presented systematically, and responses can be thoughtfully considered. Additionally, having these conversations in the presence of other franchisees and leaders can spark further insights and ideas, enriching the dialogue and leading to more comprehensive solutions.

As franchisee leaders, we have a responsibility to represent our members effectively and constructively. Our discussions with SEI are pivotal in shaping the future of our stores and the brand as a whole. By focusing on system-wide issues, maintaining a respectful and professional tone, and taking advantage of the structured forums provided by FOA and NCASEF meetings, we can ensure that our voices are not just heard, but are instrumental in driving positive change.