She agreed that the long term value of collaboration can come in conflict with natural self interest. "Rather than see one as better than the other, we need to recognize that both needs are true and legitimate," she said. And then she asked a couple of excellent questions, noting her confusion on a couple of matters raised by the previous blog post.
- What approach reconciles these two truths?
- What does it have to do with franchising?
Here was my reply:
I'm honored you wrote with these questions and I'll do my best to push out the thinking. Please let me know if I'm addressing your questions.
In franchising both the franchisor (corporate) and the franchisee have a bottom line they must tend to. Hence, there is, as you call it, a "natural self-interest." We might even say there needs to be a SHARED self-interest since brand, trademarks and proprietary technology or product(s) are carried by both parties.
Several items can help to reconcile both organizations' needs and must be addressed by both parties.
1. Making sure the mission is held jointly rather than claiming separate missions parallel to one another. The more different individual missions are, the more frail and short-lived will be any alliance.
2. Developing a shared organizational dashboard, one that measures the economy of the whole--whether it is moving up or down--strategizing accordingly and jointly --rather than just measuring bottom lines of separate parties.
3. A shared commitment to identifying long-term strategy, rather than short-term expediency alone, can also make a difference. Short-term scenarios tend to be pressure-packed and driven by our lizard brains, whereas long-term, foresighted conversations tend to be more reflective and allow wisdom to remain in the room.
Do you have additional ideas or recommendations? Scholarly social science on the dynamics of franchising in specific and associational systems in general remains quite sparse in comparison to studying other organizational forms. They are notoriously hard to study, especially longitudinally. In addition, associational systems tend to be parochial and do not have great track records of pooling knowledge out of a fear that trade secrets will be stolen. And yet, thousands and thousands of leaders spend their entire careers inside associational systems such as franchises without deeper consideration of the unique needs and demands of this organizational form.
I'm interested in keeping this conversation about leadership and organizational excellence within associational systems alive. I welcome any and all connections among those who live and breathe in this space.