Knowing your team

This message was sent to all franchisees of a brand that I developed in the past (that later on went public; so it carries some merit). It’s a great reminder that one of your biggest investments – one of your biggest parts of your business that is in your company – is taking care of the home team. Happy customers, profitability, culture, etc. all take care of itself thereafter.

Tip of the Week: Knowing Your Team

How happy are your team members?
Extremely happy?
Looking to leave?
Can you confidently answer the question? Does your answer include the words “I think”? Or is you answer, “I don’t know?”

Are seemingly happy team members quitting for what seems like no reason?

How in touch are we really with our team members?

Do you employ a team? Or are they just a bunch of people who work together?

How do we find the answers?

First let’s understand why people don’t feel content in their jobs:

The may be surprising to realize that most people don’t quit their jobs because of money. If money comes into the equation it is generally about a perception of fairness issue. “Others are paid more for less work or less dedication.”

Quantity of hours. Team members being unhappy over not receiving enough hours can be about not being able to pay bills, but is often times a perception issue, “I am not getting as many hours as others.” Sometimes the issue of hours is about team members feeling that they are being pressured to work more or longer hours then they can handle.

Favoritism. Team members feel that some of their colleagues are given preferential treatment, praise or privileges that are not afforded to all.

Criticism. Team members feel singled out or are being publicly admonished.

Lack of appreciation. Team members feel as though their work is taken for granted or not noticed.

Internal disputes between team members. Sides are taken, and a negative environment is created for all.

Not being set up for success. Team members often feel that they cannot accomplish goals because of poor training, or not having access to the necessary tools. This creates frustration and possibly quitting.

Problems outside of work adding to the pressures of the job.

What should we, as managers of people do?

Always take five minutes out of every day to sit down and have a one on one conversation with a team member. Ask them how they are feeling, if their schedule works, what they feel they need to be successful.

Foster an environment of fairness and openness. The team looks to the manager to set the example.

Listen to what team members are really saying. Don’t just brush issues of as having a bad day. People need to feel heard.

Conduct exit interviews when a team member leaves the company’s employ. This is a good opportunity to hear the truth; after all there is nothing to lose at this point.

The biggest investment you can make at your company is in your team. If your team is happy, guests are happy, there is low turn over, there is heightened efficiency, and it’s a total win. If even one team member is miserable it can damage the whole business. Just communicate and the wins will more than justify the time.


Company culture is everything


I had a meeting today between the owners of Cauldron Ice Cream – an emerging food concept in our Fransmart portfolio that I am fanatical about (and you should be, too) – and a potential franchisee interested in building the brand’s stores in their home market – and both sides were talking about company culture. That topic made me happy.

Company culture is so damn critical to the sustainability, identity, growth, and success of a brand; yet it’s difficult – almost impossible – to directly measure.

And because of this, a lot of company owners just don’t give it the attention it needs – sadly and to their detriment.

“What gets measured, gets managed” is more important, right?


Think about your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, kids, domestic partner, and/or best friend. Can you directly measure how much you love someone? Not really; but you can absolutely see its results: How much time you spend together, how you can complement each others’ thoughts/sentences/actions, how you stand up for each other, the tenure of your relationship, and the list goes on. Loyalty game is strong.

Because you can’t measure love – do you refrain from trying to pursue, enjoy, and expand it? No fricken way – life is all about relationships.

Starbucks, Amazon, and other life-changing companies of our time have legendary culture; and their success is very correlated to their focus on building an environment of loyal, fanatical employees and customers.

How you do that and what you do is up to you, and each industry and organization has its own unique way of achieving this. But if there’s a common denominator that jump-starts your thinking…it’s love.

Love defies gravity, love overlooks mistakes, love grows exponentially when you invest in it, love doesn’t try to shortcut, love is patient, love is kind (yes, I’m stealing from the Bible, too, lol), love makes your life rich and worthwhile.

Going back to the above example…do you notice that when you get into a fight with your loved one, nothing else really matters? For me – I can close the biggest deal of my life or win the lottery – maybe even both at the same time – but if I got into a fight with my wife that morning…you can forget about trying to enjoy any of that. I’d even trade those circumstances for a chance at reconciliation.

You can have an amazing handle on your COGS, labor, marketing, etc…but if your employees hate working there or your customers don’t love you…don’t expect to be around for long. There’s little-to-no forgiveness when they aren’t taken care of.

On the flip side – what if instead, your employees were loyal to you? What if your customers are head over heels for you?

Employees offering to stay longer; long lines and wait times; making mistakes on orders; high costs; little-to-no marketing; etc. They are all forgivable.

So why are people driving all the way from Los Angeles, San Diego, and traffic overall; willing to wait in line for sometimes an hour; pay a premium on ice cream they easily get half as expensive and immediately at their local Baskin Robbins or even supermarket? The answer is a culture of love in the product, delivering the customer experience, and team. Think about that when constructing or recalibrating your organization.

So yes – manage the facets of your business that easily pump out data for your analysis. They help you survive, and it’s good to measure.

But don’t forget the part of your business that you can’t see but feel. They help you thrive. Beyond measure.