Leadership tips from the top

Sarah Stowe

What does it take to be a great leader? Advice aplenty could be found from major business figures both from within and outside the franchising sector at the National Franchise Convention 2015.

A full program of keynote speakers and Hall of Fame panellists dished out business tips and inspiration over the two day conference at the Gold Coast.

Here’s a taste of what they had to say:

Genevieve George, One Shift

At only 24 Gen George has made her mark in business with her fast-growing recruitment site One Shift.

“You have to practice what your preach,” she says.

Focus on building a supportive team, and the more creative and innovative you can be, the better.  Transparency among the team is important because no-one really has all the answers.

“Test, fail, learn. Disrupt your own model, enable your staff.”

Holly Kramer, former CEO, Best & Less

Kramer is responsible for the Best & Less turnaround and came to the valued-based chain without any retail experience.

“I was so passionate about getting it right, but culture is critical to how you build the team. Diversity is valuable. Listen to your people. Communicate to your staff, to franchise staff.

“Make the business profitable.”

Three foundations of good leadership:

  1. You set the culture, you set the expectations of your franchisees.
  2. Happy teams = happy customers.
  3. If you don’t embrace the power of new technology, your competitors will.

Lenard Poulter, founder of Lenard’s Chicken

 Poulter believes in constantly working on reinventing the business.

“But be careful your franchisees, staff and customers don’t take you off in a different direction,” he says. 

Stay focused, he advises.

  1. Know your customer.
  2. Motivate and encourage people.
  3. Keep discipline and vision.

“The integrity of the company is reflected in franchisees who are profitable. The franchise relationship is crucial, once you lose sight of that, anything can happen.”

Todd Sampson, non-executive chairman, Leo Burnett

Take a different approach to problem solving, the advertising guru and star of tv show The Gruen Transfer suggests:

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Assemble up to six eclectic people.
  3. Meet in a room for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Be open to genuine ideas without filters.

“Creativity is the last remaining competitive advantage today,” he says. But it can be hampered by the other great influencer, fear.

“The most spectacular leaders are often no braver than ordinary people, they are just braver for a little bit longer.”

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