Highlights from 2nd Annual Field Manager Summit

Here’s some exciting statistics from our 2nd Annual Field Manager Summit — 78 learning sessions attended by 309 people over six days across three States, achieving an overall participant satisfaction rating of 83%. If you attended, we hope this summary helps to keep the learning and inspiration alive. And if you were a participant you will also have access to the Field Manager Tool Shed, where we are loading up presentations, templates and proceedings. If you couldn’t make the Summit, enjoy the summary and we hope you can join us at next year’s program.

Check out this 50 second clip for a glimpse of what was going on at the Summit:

We were able to create an informal, interactive and fun learning culture. Much of this came from the superb work of our MC, Aaron Chowdhury. Aaron is our Sydney based Associate and delivers many of our learning programs. Participants almost unanimously rated his MC’ing work as excellent.

The positive feedback on the presenters has been superb, given they were virtually all franchising practitioners drawn from our clients and colleagues.

Introducing the Field Manager’s Toolshed

The Tool Shed is where we store materials collected and developed from our Field Manager professional development programs. While we don’t mean to be exclusive, at this stage the Tool Shed is just for people who have participated in one of our Field Manager Summits or training courses. To get in you’ll need the magic password (no, it’s not Open Sesame).


Best Practice Trends in Field Support

Our Managing Director, Greg Nathan, opened the Summit with a research summary that identified 12 best practice trends based on a series of interviews with the Senior Operations executives from a number of leading franchisors. These fell into four categories:

  1. Bringing more clarity to the role.
  2. Using more sophisticated metrics to measure franchisee and field manager performance.
  3. Providing more consistent training and support for field managers.
  4. Taking a more disciplined approach to local area marketing.

Greg also discussed the stressful nature of the role but how this is buffered by high levels of job satisfaction.

High Performance Franchisee Panel

We were fortunate to have nine of Australia leading franchisees participating in vigorous interviews with Julia Camm from Corven. They basically said, to add value to them, they wanted their field manager to firstly understand their goals and then deliver ideas and information to help them track their performance and keep moving forward. And they expected to be challenged, in fact welcomed it. A big thank you to Julia for gutsy facilitation and the following franchisees for so honestly sharing their hard earned insights:

  • Marc Benson – Boost Juice
  • Marlene Jones – Brumby’s
  • Peter Goldsmith – Fastway Couriers
  • Tony Zoobi – Hairhouse Warehouse
  • Barry Huxley – Harvey World Travel
  • Brad and Kate Underhill – Matchbox
  • Chris Vitale – Mortgage Choice
  • Damian Taylor – Brumby’s
  • Jason Le Roux – The Athletes Foot
Franchisee Panel with Julia

Julia Camm talks with franchisees: from right to left, Chris Vitale, Damian Taylor and Marc Benson. Note the Twitter feed at the back.

Dealing with Challenging Franchisees

In our field manager training workshops the hottest topic people inevitably want to talk about is “Dealing with challenging franchisees” So the aim of this session was to explore strategies for dealing with the following most common types of challenging behaviours:

  • Overt aggressiveness “Get out of my business!”
  • Despair and pessimism “It’s no good, I am going to fail”.
  • Disengagement and apathy “It’s probably best if you just leave me alone”.
  • Playing political games “Don’t worry — I’ll take it up with the CEO over golf”.
  • Testing your knowledge “What would you know?!”
  • Covert non-co-operation “Maybe — leave it with me and I’ll think about it”.

Throughout the Summit we experimented with several techniques to involve participants in exploring how they might tackle these types of situations. These included workshopping the scenarios and using live role plays on stage followed by open forum discussions. There were many positive comments on these sessions and their practical applications.

Role Play

Face off! In this role play, Ree-Anna Chatman is playing a field consultant engaging a challenging franchisee played by Jason Travis.

Tackling the Challenges of the Job

All participants then moved into round table discussions to explore solutions to 14 hot topics such as “Running effective regional meetings” or “Delivering tough messages.” Notes from these round tables will be gradually posted in the Field Manager Tool Shed over the next few weeks.

Round Tables

Alan Minshull from Eagle Boys holds forth in a round table discussion.

Break out Specialised Seminar

After lunch people had a choice of attending two of eight concurrent seminars. These were delivered by either subject matter experts or field manager practitioners.

Here’s an interesting phenomena. The least popular sessions in terms of numbers of participants, turned out the be the most popular sessions in terms of satisfaction ratings. These were “Engaging with Franchisees from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds” and “Establishing Financial Performance Groups.” We figure these two topics were a little ahead of their time. However the presenters, Chris Young from Resurg and Patrice Sew Hee from 7-Eleven have kindly made their presentations available for the Tool Shed.

Julie O’Shae

Julie O’Shea shares some tips and secrets for turning around franchisees in trouble.

The Field Managers Guide to Social Media

Karli Furmage from GoGlobal completed the first day with an enjoyable presentation on “The Field Managers Guide to Social Media”. Karli encouraged us to put our toes in the social media pool by trying out some of the more common applications such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Her keynote presentation had some great images and was chosen from thousands of presentations to be featured on the public Slideshare site (you can download Karli’s presentation and her Masterclass slides from www.slideshare.net/tag/fms2010).

Operations Managers Leadership Dinners

In the evening a special dinner was provided for Operations Managers, with assistance from the National Australia Bank. These were exciting events where participants shared their aspirations as leaders and listened to two inspiring speakers:

Dr Sam Prince, a medical doctor and philanthropist, who is also the franchisor of Zambrero Fresh Mexican Grill, shared his amazing work providing health and education resources to Indigenous Australia and developing countries around the world.

Mike Tregurtha, Director of Operations for a major telco Retail Channel shared his strategies for realigning the needs of the telco management and its licensees, which have resulted in a marked improvement to licensee satisfaction.

We are particularly grateful to Darryn McAuliffe from NAB for hosting these events.

Boardroom Dinners

Dr Sam Prince tells a group of operation executives his vision for eradicating scabies from the Australian Indigenous population.

Masterclasses a Real Hit

The four Masterclasses on day two of the Summit were extremely popular with most averaging over 90% in participant satisfaction.

Thanks to David Campbell, Therese Watson-Weir, Greg Nathan and Karli Furmage for leading these stimulating and highly practical Masterclasesses.

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