Over the past couple of months we have seen some fascinating examples of large-scale leadership playing out in our nation’s current affairs.
Firstly, we have enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne in a manner admired by people around the world.
Her Majesty has remained in one way aloof from the granular concerns of everyday life, while simultaneously embodying those enviable traits, a mixture of stoicism and compassion, which define what it means to be British.
And then we have the dramatic fall of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose turnaround from populist saviour of Brexit to leader of a collapsed administration was as swift as the Queen’s reign has been long.
Undoubtedly charismatic and popular with the electorate and his party alike, Mr Johnson’s disorganisation has been part of his failure. Chaos may be attractive but it’s unsustainable.
Both of these individuals have, in their own ways, been remarkably in touch with the heartbeat of the nation. Their journeys during time of authority have been dramatically different.
The role of a figurehead
Despite an apparent lack of executive power, Queen Elizabeth II will without doubt go down as one of Britain’s greatest ever leaders. She has set the example, summarised by the mantra of ‘never complain, never explain’, of duty, service and unwavering faith in the institution she leads.
Since 1952 she has led our country as a figurehead recognised across the world, even in the face of other members of the Royal Family failing to live up to the standards she has set.
However, despite all the trials and tribulations of the House of Windsor, while the Queen stays in place then the institution surely remains untouchable.
So what can leaders in the franchise industry learn from her example? Simply, I would suggest, that the culture of any organisation is set by the example and values instilled from those at the top of it. Team members will be influenced by managers, in turn by directors, in turn by the head of the company. Your values will permeate throughout your business.
Indeed, what is a company apart from its brand and its values? Stock, premises, assets and even people can be replaced, ultimately. A business as an entity is essentially its reputation, its name, and these must be protected by good culture and good behaviour.
The importance of good management
For an example of how not to lead a complex organisation, Boris Johnson’s failings stand in stark contrast to the Queen’s. However it should be noted that running a Government is incredibly challenging – you only need to look at before and after photos of previous Prime Ministers to see evidence of the aging process that time in No 10 can bring about.
And while its fine to have a visionary leader, what we’ve seen with Mr Johnson’s premiership is a lack of detailed organisation and the importance of correct communications in the executive branch to support the crest of the wave he was riding.
The lessons? Either be on top of the detail, or make sure that you have a team of people who you trust who are willing to commit to the actions necessary to make your vision a reality. The importance of communication both external and internal cannot be overstated. Your team need to be confident they know where the company is going so they can execute your vision.
In franchising, as with any business, the ability to delegate is vital. But ultimately, the buck stops with the leader of any organisation. People will always look to you to make the big decisions, so you need to know enough about the details to make the proper, informed choice.