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The importance of culture in franchising

Written by Justin Gilbert on Friday, 02 April 2021. Posted in Insight

Look at some of the biggest and most successful organisations in the world and we find they thrive and are built on great cultures.

The importance of culture in franchising

Look at some of the biggest and most successful organisations in the world and we find they thrive and are built on great cultures.  The culture and values of the franchise brand you join, or the business you create as part of that franchise, drives behaviours, beliefs and how decisions are made and therefore effects the overall results.

Turn that idea around and think backwards for a moment:  one way to measure success is through results.  Logically, how well an organisation does in the marketplace and the results they achieve, is a direct result of the behaviour of those who work there.  Those behavioural patterns are produced and driven by the culture which has been created and developed and it’s the leadership of that organisation that sets, shapes and continues to refine that culture.

Although a leader sets the strategy and vision and holds people accountable to determine the culture, how that leader behaves themselves will impact the whole organisation.  Changes cannot be brought about overnight.  If you are running a big multi-unit franchise operation, it’s top-down consistency on a daily basis that drives the necessary behavioural patterns that will positively influence results over time.

Therefore, when it comes to selecting a franchise, realise that as the leader of your business, you are going to have to create the culture.  Ask yourself: what kind of culture do I want? 

If you are developing a multi-unit franchise operation, the first steps you can take as a leader are to identify the values which are important to you and your business.

Secondly, challenge yourself to write statements to clarify those values.  In this way, others can relate to them too.  For example, at Papa John’s one of our key values is ‘People first’.   It means our customer and team member focus is about always asking: ‘what can I do to make our team more successful?’  We get to know and appreciate our customers and our people count on each other, valuing the contribution that each team member contributes.  

Thirdly, as a leader, it’s important to build a business honestly.  Ask yourself, what do your actions say you value?  If one of your values is to show up on time, are you always on time?  If you are not punctual, how can you expect your colleagues to follow suit?  Every day you are shaping the culture and others’ actions are a reflection of your own behavioural patterns.  

Great brands have systems and processes in place but at the heart of it all is the culture.  Through consistent execution shaped by leadership, the stronger that culture will be and the better the business will perform.  Brian Kight, thought leader on the topics of culture and discipline, describes this as the performance pathway.  He goes on to discuss the elements which make up the pathway as a ‘living thing’ which requires designing, aligning, and refining.  

So, in Brian Kight’s words:  Consider “What's happening in your team's Performance Pathway and what impact is it having?” It could be one of the most powerful changes you make towards success along your franchising journey.

About the Author

Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert Director of Business Development Papa John’s UK has 20 years’ experience in the fast-food industry working for well-known brands in different counties and markets. He has a degree in marketing from Johnson C. Smith University and an MBA in Marketing at the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University and a further MBA in Human Resource Management.

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