The National Business Leadership Council
Several years ago, SEI dissolved the President’s Leadership Council (PLC), which had as its members all the FOA presidents from across the country and many corporate higher-ups. The PLC achieved many good things for franchisees and the 7-Eleven system, due in part to the effective dissemination of information by the PLC members to their area franchisees.
Now SEI has the National Business Leadership Council (NBLC), which operates in a much different manner than the PLC. When this new organization was first announced, the criteria for membership qualification was posted on 7-HUB and prospective candidates had to go through an application and answer all the questions online. All the candidates had to apply to get selected for the NBLC, unlike the PLC, which had all FOA presidents as members to represent franchisee interests. Market Managers and Zone Managers were also asked to give their input about these candidates, and most of the candidates selected did not hold any positions in their FOAs. Regardless, most of these representatives are excellent store operators and franchisees.
After some time, however, it was felt that most of these members were not in touch with the average franchisees in their areas, as many of them did not attend local FOA Board meetings or general meetings. As such, their input to the NBLC was not known to the general franchisee community, although some information about the decisions made at the NBLC did flow to franchisees via quarterly sales meetings. Nevertheless, it was clear a big communication gap existed. Most of us did not know what kind of decision-making was happening during these NBLC meetings, and my area was not an exception.
The Las Vegas FOA has a very positive relationship with our local SEI management. They occasionally attend our Board meetings, and they almost always attend our general meetings, during which the SEI team usually addresses issues faced by our franchisees. Last year, we informed the team about our concern over the lack of communication by NBLC members, and with their assistance all three of our area NBLC members responded back to our FOA Board. One offered to write an article about his committee and the other two gave their committee reports that were forwarded to our area franchisees. Now our area NBLC members have started attending our Board meetings and general meetings so they can address our issues during their NBLC meetings. Our FOA Board is very thankful to them, because now we have another avenue to take our issues to the next level.
While we do have some FOA presidents and National Coalition Board members who are members of different NBLC committees and could keep us informed of what’s happening in the group, there are some areas still out there that have no communication from NBLC members. My suggestion is that local FOAs involve the SEI team of those areas to convince these NBLC members to bridge that gap, as they all promised to do when they applied for their NBLC positions. I am confident most of them will meet this challenge, which will benefit us all.