Can you think your way to franchising success?

If you urgently need to reengage with your franchise, its activities and key relationships, practising positive psychology is the answer

Can you think your way to franchising success?

The warning signs are there. You and those who work for you lack the energy to do the things that must be done – let alone activities linked with growth and abundance. Profit and turnover are flatlining across your franchise. Global communications no longer solicit any responses, and you are bleeding from the loss of the brightest and best talent.

Market forces, the economy and the fallout of political unrest may be partially to blame. But the truth is, negativity has taken root. Here, Cheryl White, founder of the Mercury Franchise School Ltd, explains why, as a franchisor, working on your wellbeing – and harnessing the power of positive psychology – is the key to growing a more successful franchise network and feeling…

Positively engaged

There are lots of happiness strategies out there but, as Sonja Lyubomirsky argues in ‘The How of Happiness’, it is better to select the positive psychology practices that are the optimal fit for you. Avoiding overthinking, savouring life’s joys and practising religion or spirituality, for example, will appeal (or not appeal) to varying degrees – depending on your character. When trying to boost your own engagement levels, therefore, it makes sense to lean into those practices that you enjoy.

For example, if you used to place great importance on nurturing relationships with your franchisees, but you have been communicating solely online since the pandemic, then reintroduce in-person meetups. If a particular franchisee values gratitude, then delight them with recognition. A franchisee who places great importance on taking care of their body may engage with team activities centred around fitness. Whether it’s kindness, forgiveness or optimism, there are many practices you and others can introduce to feel more engaged with your franchise.

Positively focused

We all need goals, and these goals can change over time. Your original goal may have been to establish a franchise that dominated the marketplace – creating an impact and legacy to last through the ages. Today, your goal might be to have the least amount of operational involvement as possible so you can travel, be present for your children or care for ageing parents.

Unhappiness comes when we are out of alignment with our goals – when they feel unachievable, too low-impact or are not shared with those around us. If this sounds like you, set some new goals for who you are now; goals that reflect want you want from your franchise; and where you see it heading.

Lyubomirsky suggests that these goals should be freely chosen; owned by you (not the aspirations of others); lead you to a desirable outcome – versus running away from something you want to avoid; complement other goals that you have; and are flexible and appropriate to reflect the life stage you are at now. Knowing what your franchisees are also personally aspiring to allows you to support each other towards success. For example, if you desire less operational responsibility and a franchisee craves more, you can both unlock greater levels of happiness.

Positively aligned

As franchisors, we often focus on the skills gaps that make us feel ‘less than’. Whether it’s marketing or managing the numbers, we double down on addressing our ‘failings’ – sometimes at the expense of leaning into our greatest strengths. Positive psychology gives us the opportunity to ‘flip the script’. Focus on tasks which align with your natural abilities and delegate those that don’t. Extend this kindness to your franchisees, so that they stay motivated to perform in areas in which they excel.

Give special responsibilities to people whose values align with specific tasks. For example, a franchisee who routinely invests in strengthening their social connections may thrive when coordinating socials for the whole network. A franchisee who has repeatedly demonstrated resilience may shine in a pastoral role.

According to positive psychology research (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005)), how happy you feel is a mix of genetics (50%), circumstance (10%) and intentional activity (40%). As a franchisor, you can improve your mental wellbeing by engaging in positive psychology practices. That happiness uplift is also available to your franchisees, with the wider potential to strengthen your network for success. 

Cheryl White
Cheryl White