FOA Meetings With Local SEI Management Are Mutually Beneficial
We as franchisees face many different issues on a day-to-day basis while operating our stores. Many are between us and SEI in relation to the operation of our stores, compliance with new sales plans, cleanliness, various policies adopted by SEI, shared responsibilities … you name it and differences can arise on any issue. Most of the time the issues are due to the interpretation of any policy—the way a field consultant looks at it or a market manager deals with it, and of course in some cases, how we the franchisees think is right the way to interpret it.
It does not take long for issues to become a sore point between both parties, and it may take forever to resolve these issues if both parties don’t communicate effectively. A simple dialogue may resolve these issues at the market level, but unfortunately it does not happen in most cases.
When I was president of the South Nevada/Las Vegas FOA, the entire Board adopted a policy to invite the local market managers to our Board meetings and general meetings to address local issues. Our Board would prepare a list of local issues to discuss with the SEI team, and they in turn would come back to us with a resolution. Or if it was out of their jurisdiction, they would send it up to the zone manager. It took some time to get this process running effectively, but once in place it worked very well for both parties. Later on, the market managers started bringing field consultants along with them to our general meetings so that some of the local issues could be resolved on the spot. Other issues were regularly rolled up to the zone manager and SEI higher-ups, as they were national issues. In many cases, our Board arranged meetings between local SEI management and a few franchisees to address some concerns at the store level and avoid any LONs or breaches.
Regrettably, it seems few FOAs may have adopted this policy of inviting local SEI managers to their meetings. The relationship has changed a little bit nationally, however, as SEI executives have been attending FOA general meetings and trade shows, but not all over the country.
Why should SEI managers attend local FOA meetings? Most RI meetings are designed to promote the sales plan and the primary motive behind is to sell, sell, sell—which is not a bad idea. Presentations by Asset Protection are a good addition to some of the local RI meetings, but the Q&A sessions are very limited and most franchisees feel that the RI meeting is not the place to address their issues.
By contrast, all FOA meetings have an agenda based on franchisee issues. SEI’s local or national team has much more time to hear franchisees during these meetings to take care of their concerns, and to mingle with them one-on-one. Also, in nearly all cases, franchisee discontent at the local level can be settled by the market managers.
After the recent National Coalition officers elections, our Chairman Joe Galea and I had an opportunity to meet with SEI’s executive team and we have agreed to meet on a regular basis and have conference calls to address nationwide franchisee issues. A three-member team has been put in place to collect and send those concerns to the proper person in charge. SEI is open to meeting with the franchisees community, so I request all franchisees and FOAs to meet with your field consultant, market managers, and of course zone leaders, and tell them your concerns so they can be properly resolved. My personal belief is that no individual issue is too big that it cannot be resolved by zone leaders, but if you feel it is not addressed or resolved properly please feel free to contact the National Coalition office, your Chairman, or me. You have our commitment that we will try our best to address and resolve your issues.
I request and appeal to all the FOA presidents, vice presidents, Board members, franchisees and the entire SEI team—local and national executives—to communicate effectively and take this relationship to a new level. There is no issue that cannot be resolved by mutual understanding and is fair to both parties for their financial success. After all, a franchisee’s financial success is beneficial to the solid growth of our brand.