The executive team behind Tasti D-Lite, Planet Smoothie has been together for decades
The executive team at Tasti D-Lite has a combined 250 years of franchise experience. How do you hang onto a team with that much experience? You invest in them, help them grow and accept that some of them will leave.
One of the primary jobs for any CEO is to set a vision for the company, then find the best people to make it real. I’m fortunate to have worked with some of the best executives in the franchise industry, including Peter Holt, Kurt Ullman and David Neely — Tasti D-Lite executives who have helped me develop other companies, such as ICBIY and Mail Boxes Etc.
How can your organization, big or small, build the kind of team that will allow your company to thrive?
1. Invest in people. I’ve always tried to hire people who know more than I do in their areas of expertise, give them clear objectives — then get out of the way. I don’t believe in micromanaging. It’s awful. Nobody wants to assume a position of responsibility and lack the authority to execute. You should turn people loose to do the job you hired them to do. If they don’t do it, shame on you — you hired the wrong person.
2. Help people grow. Your employees’ skills and perspectives should develop over time. I’m an avid reader, and I encourage everyone around me to do the same. Charlie Jones, a great business leader and speaker, once told me that after five years, a man is simply a product of the people he has met and the books he has read. And he’s absolutely correct about that. We rely on others to free us from the constraints of our own experience. To lead an organization, a CEO or VP needs to constantly grow.
I encourage the Tasti D-Lite team to read, whether it’s Plato or Nietzsche, the Bible or a New York Times best seller. Reading expands your perspective. If I crawl into the mind of John Bunyan in the 17th century as I read Pilgrim’s Progress, I see the whole world differently.
It’s also important to set clear expectations for people you supervise. Nobody should have to wonder whether they are performing up to expectations. The expectations should be precise enough for your people to outperform them or seek help if they need it — and that help should always be there.
3. Accept that some people will leave. Not every business relationship lasts for decades. As a CEO, I think that whenever a valuable employee chooses to leave, the appropriate question to ask is not why they left, but why they didn’t stay. It’s a different view of the question.
I want the people in my organization to grow and become more valuable as long as they are with me. But that sometimes means their value might increase outside the organization. If we’re doing our jobs right, we’re preparing them to advance if they want to do so. I see a lot of companies trying to hang on, sometimes inappropriately, to their best people. If one of your top employees is ready to succeed with another organization, it’s appropriate for them to go. What’s wrong with that?
If you hire well, respect people and help them grow, many of them will stay by your side. Those who leave will speak well of your company and help you find new talent. If you focus on the needs of others on your team, your company will reap the benefits.
Tasti D-Lite chairman and CEO Jim Amos has more than 30 years of experience guiding successful franchise companies such as Mail Boxes Etc. He was inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame in February.