Commit To Being A Life Long Learner

It is a great feeling of accomplishment when we have mastered our subject matter and can be considered true experts in our field. The expertise and the confidence that comes with it can ripple through your franchise system and boost your franchise satisfaction levels; it can be felt by prospective franchisees and they may be more attracted to your company. But, there are pitfalls that come with expertise.

The first pitfall is being “unconsciously competent.” This means that you are so good at what you do that you can act without thinking. A good example is driving a car. We make thousands of adjustments and checks on even the shortest trip, but we are no longer aware of it. When we attempt to teach our teens to drive, we take that competency for granted and get frustrated when our kids fail to perform well. We never explained the micro tasks it takes to be a safe driver because they are no longer in our conscious behavior.

This can be the same thing when trying to instruct franchisees once you have reached this level of competency. It becomes more difficult to break your basic processes down to their smallest components so that the franchisee truly understands everything that is required to perform tasks and be successful. Your manuals and training begin to fail the novice operators. But we can explore that topic at another time.

The prime concern of unconscious competency is hubris. We think we know it all so we stop learning.

I experiences this yesterday at a Franchise Business Network meeting in California. The topic “Alternative in Franchise Financing, “ and I was certain that I understood everything there was happening in that area. If I were not the co-chair of the group, I would not have attended. But listening to two experts, I realized I was woefully ignorant of changes that have occurred, of options that were available and of methods that would enhance the franchisors’ position in the marketplace. THAT was why attendance was lower than usual for the meetings. Members were expert in awarding franchises and understanding finance so why did they need to hear yet another lecture? This hubris can be dangerous because our world changes at breakneck speed. New technology, competitors, markets, laws and opportunities appear daily. Franchisees bring new points of view with each generation and we have to stay current with their ideas and expectations.

To remain relevant as a brand, to remain interesting as an individual, one must commit to being a life long learner. Relevancy takes work and as the old adage says, “You can coast in only one direction – downhill.” Did your knowledge peak and now you are headed downhill or are there new mountains to climb with a little additional information?

Lead by example so your staff and franchisees will follow. Create a summer reading list that is diverse and includes industry information, business skills and fiction. Learn something new, start again at being ‘consciously incompetent” and start the journey of relevance anew.

Start a business opportunity!