What makes a good franchise executive?

Peter Buckingham | Managing Director | Spectrum Analysis Australia Pty Ltd

Many managers want to do everything. They think it is their job to oversee every part of the business, micromanage all the executives, undertake the sale of every product, and handle all of the day to day operations. What they don’t do is what they are actually paid the big money for – Managing the Business!

An old boss of mine used to say “If you have a dog and have to bark yourself…..you may as well shoot the dog!” Whilst he was considered a real autocrat, as I now look back, I think I agree with what he would say to us. In my view a good manager is strategic and focuses more on managing their direct reports; letting them do their designated jobs.

I become very frustrated when I see either young managers trying to do too much, or older managers who have probably been over promoted; trying to do the day to day business, not the strategic work that is required of their role.

Five points I recognise in a good manager:

1 Contactable. Can be located by phone or email and will normally give some response. May not always be what you want to hear, but will give a decision, and not over complicate the simple things. More complex issues are handled in a realistic timeframe – but handled.

2 Firm but fair. Will call a spade a spade (old saying). Will address an issue and give a reasonable response and not just avoid it and leave issues unresolved.

3 Delegates. Happy to hear the issue is recognised and has been passed onto the person whose job is to handle the issue. Good managers know where the issue lies and manage the person who has to resolve it.

4 Understands their role is about long term strategic issues (as well as the day to day stuff). Whether they assign a specific time, or just make it their business to handle, a good manager is thinking in terms of the longer term of the business, not the immediate crisis.

5 Plans. Has a vision for the company, or the part of the business they are responsible for and are always trying to envisage the big picture.

Five points I recognise in a poor manager:

1 Always saying they are overworked, too busy and how could the business run without them!

2 Rarely answers the phone (always too busy), and even though you leave a message on their voicemail (which tells you that they will call back) – they never do.

3 Indecisive. Cannot make a decision and always telling you how this needs to be referred to other people in their department, other managers or a committee of no-bodies. They leave issues unanswered and seem to go around in circles.

4 No forward thinking. They are too busy moving from one problem to the next, rather than fixing the cause of the problems (often themselves).

5 Always trying to impress their boss rather than worrying about their staff or the people whose lives they affect with their decisions. Usually thinking more about their next promotion than their current position.


As I am getting older, I am becoming more concerned by these trends which I see are partly due to technology improvements, and possibly staff reductions in many organisations. I feel organisations do not invest in training of managers, partly due to people changing jobs on a regular basis. I feel we see this in the quality of many managers who are probably over promoted due to their technical ability, and not because of their management skills.

There are good managers and poor managers, and naturally they all think they are doing a great job, irrespective of how others see them. Maybe more 360 degree feedback analysis and other similar tools may give them a dose of reality.