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Women in top-tier management roles are better for business

 

I was not surprised to read the other day that more women at the top in business is better for business. I came across a news item from the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency (albeit dated June 2020) which showed that:

  • Profitability, performance, and productivity increase under female leadership
  • Female top-tier managers add 6.6. per cent to market value of ASX companies
  • Female leadership will help business thrive in a post-COVID world (they have)

 

This 2020’s research is supported by a later Forbes article posted in March 2022 listing five reasons women make great CEOs.

  • They are great at collaboration which is absolutely essential in today’s business environment. The most successful businesses today rely on building great teams.
  • They are capital efficient – that’s right guys, women at the C level typically have better profits than men – some thinking this is because women are more mindful of risk and are better at time management, so they take better care of the money as well of everything else.
  • They are multidimensional meaning they can use both sides of their brains at the same time to consider issues both logically in a linear way and creatively at the same time – apparently men can’t do this so well.
  • They care – women are more empathetic and understand and take on board their team’s concerns.

 

Apparently, this mix has shown to be a much stronger mix for business leaders in today’s business environment, especially if you are looking to keep the business profitable in the long term.

 

I have to say findings like these match the changes I have seen over my time in the franchise sector in both the way franchising works in general and in the quality of the businesses coming to me to look at franchising to grow their businesses.

 

Ten years ago, businesses in our franchise training rooms were predominantly managed by men with a high drive personality. Franchisees were often considered to be subordinate, and support was usually restricted to technical issues around delivering a product to the customer. Over the past ten years we have seen many more women in the room today, initially as equal partners in the business, leading to some very successful and creative women business owners.

 

This has changed the way our workshops perform and increased the success of the businesses we train. Not every business goes on to franchise – part of the journey for some is that they do need to structure their business like a franchise and operate it as one but the best way to scale their business is actually through a company business model. It is nearly always the female partner who makes this decision – some business sectors can build better teams in the more directly managed company business structures.

 

So, I am not surprised when I look at the franchise sector today to see that so many of the big franchise groups have strong women at the helm. This is a relatively new progression and shows that the franchise sector is growing up.

 

Franchising is a people business.

 

It requires leaders who understand the need to combine collaboration with efficient capital management, by people who have multidimensional brains which can simultaneously be logical, creative, and above all caring.

 

This especially applies today. Franchising is not easy and over the past few years managing a franchise group has become even trickier. Social expectations have changed in business, especially around the way business leaders perform. The old rules of ‘what I say goes’ is rightly, often no longer acceptable. Today’s leaders are expected to hear and be more understanding of people’s opinions and feelings. And it has become more difficult to find staff and franchisees who are willing to put up with conditions they don’t agree with and when things go wrong, the business climate in any entity can disintegrate fast.

 

In response to these social changes and previous significant unrest in the franchise sector, franchise legislation has changed, the Code of Conduct mostly right now gives franchisees more leverage in the relationship.

 

Today, to succeed, a franchise group must be based on a solid team being built between the franchisor supplying support, and franchisees bringing in the money through delivery and/or sales. Successful franchisor support recognises franchisee angst and the trials and tribulations of building great franchised outlets. Support is based on empathy, team building and the need for training to cover both technical skills and build business acumen. Support must also have the strength to make sure group brand rules are the foundation of the way business is done so there are consequences when necessary. Above all it is based on care for both business and people – a tricky balance.

 

It’s no accident that John O’Brien, in his very successful international group Poolwerx, refers to his franchisees as his franchise partners. And it is no accident that his support section is not only the best technically for pool maintenance but is also the best in helping his franchisees grow in their business careers.

 

This balance is why today, franchise groups are being led more and more by women.

 

We all know about Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice who now is involved in leading multiple franchise groups.

 

But did you know that there are so many others leading big groups today. Here are just some I have come across recently.

  • Diana Williams CEO of Ferntree Fitness
  • Sonia Shwabsky CEO of Kwik Kopy
  • Karen Bozic CEO of Craveable Brands (Chicken Treat, Red Rooster, Oporto, etc)
  • Selina Bridge of CEO KX Pilates
  • Amber Manning CEO of Just Cuts
  • Rhiannon Simcock CEO of James’ Home Services
  • Elaine Jobson CEO of Jetts Fitness

This is a remarkable change in just a few years with women leading these groups into the future, some through very tricky situations. That CEO role must balance all sides of business to be successful.

 

Women are also entering the franchise coaching area with great success. Notably, Belinda Fyffe the CEO of the Proven Group (providing training & HR to the franchise sector), Jan Timms who coaches franchise leaders on what it takes to build a successful franchise group (empathy, support and great training) and Tracey Leak who focuses more on coaching franchise partners.

 

 

 

Brian Keen has been involved in the franchise industry for more than 30 years and Prue has been involved with systems and business for as long. Together they founded Franchise Simply, Systems2Grow and Microloan Foundation Australia. Brian’s on-the-ground business experience as a multi-unit franchisee, franchisor and consultant helping many of the big names create their own franchise systems and growth over the years combined with Prue’s structured approach has been fed into Franchise Simply, helping today’s SMEs and Franchisors grow their business by franchising.

www.franchisesimply.com.au | www.systems2grow.com