by John Francis

Hard Conversations & The Value of Real Advice

Apr 11, 2023 11:54:00 AM Franchisors, Franchise Consulting

Hard Conversations & The Value of Real Advice

In the past few weeks, I've worked with various franchisor executives as both a coach and through my ZorForum Mastermind groups. I realized that it would likely be interesting and valuable to others if I tracked a few of these "hard" conversations, and shared them to give you an idea of what I do for clients...

Earlier this year, at the IFA Annual Convention, I helped a former client determine how best to resign from her executive position. She was an owner of a franchise brand that recently received a significant investment from private equity. Since the dust had settled from the transaction, she determined she would like to leave her role in the business, and move on. She was unsure how to go about this and was quite anxious about how to do it properly. Over an intense "hard" conversation, I asked various questions and offered numerous ideas regarding the situation. After the talk, she created her primary talking points and shared with me in an email. I provided feedback, and the next day, she had a call with the private equity investment firm owner. The outcome? She is leaving the company with her head high and received everything she requested on her terms. Helping people make career decisions is extremely rewarding, especially when they land in a better position than before. She was very thankful for my advice and said to me, "you've been a lifesaver!” - This might be a bit of an exaggeration!

In another conversation at the IFA Annual Convention, I had an issue come up from a member of one of my ZorForum Mastermind groups. We discussed the best approach for him to ask the owner of the company for a better compensation package. He had been working very hard for years as the brand's CEO, and he felt that he had not been appropriately compensated. The owner seemed oblivious to this fact, and from earlier attempts was not interested in having a conversation about compensation. During our discussion, I gave my Member specific strategies, ideas, and talking points to bring to a hard conversation with the owner. Since then, he has successfully negotiated a new compensation package that he's happy with - and the conversation was drama-free, which is a huge plus! This is another example of helping someone make a significant move in their career. He can now focus on building the company without the issue of feeling under-compensated - which is a win for everyone involved. 

This month, I had another conversation with a CEO client dealing with an underperforming C-level executive holding back the brand. His relationship with this person had deteriorated significantly, their performance was lousy, and the CEO was uncomfortable discussing and resolving the issue. After a brief conversation together, I helped the CEO prepare specific talking points, better preparing him for the uncomfortable hard conversation. The outcome? The C-level executive resigned from the position on the spot, which was a huge win for my CEO client. They are both working to make the transition quick and seamless, which is what both parties want. Helping this CEO navigate a difficult situation with an executive employee was valuable. By coaching him throughout the process, we were able to understand all perspectives and move through and past the situation. Doing this gave my client the upper hand during the conversation, leading to a desirable, drama-free outcome. The client told me that "this was great and invaluable advice, thank you!"

These are three examples of the type of work I enjoy doing with clients and Members in my ZorForum groups. Helping people with complicated situations to be prepared for the hard conversations by getting them to understand everyone’s perspectives is both valuable and rewarding. I'm glad to be a resource and share my experience. If you are navigating difficult waters, preparing for a needed hard conversation, and complex issues like these are holding you or your brand back, give me a call. Let's see if I can also help you too - I’m always happy to be a resource!


John Francis

Written by John Francis

About the Franchise Expert


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John Francis is an enthusiastic, engaging business advisor, and an entertaining public speaker for franchise brands because he speaks from experience and he speaks from the heart. Franchising is in his blood, and his parents were true pioneers in the industry, turning their family haircutting business into a 1,000-salon franchise empire. He has been a franchisee and a franchisor, and has a deep understanding of the issues both face. Engage John as an advisor or to speak at your event, and you and your franchisees will learn how to look at your business in new, positive, and profitable ways.

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