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Values count in the end (zone)


Ah, vacation. Sitting in an airport, relaxing with husband, Doug, glass of wine in hand, anticipating the anniversary trip to Europe. Can you picture us in your mind? Smiling, clinking glasses, toasting our 10 days of upcoming adventure.

Not exactly, because the picture in reality looked a bit different: I was on my cell, lecturing, no, make that ordering, 19-year-old son Sam to take down a post on Facebook. If you watch football at all, you’ll remember the game earlier this season where “replacement” referees (the professionals were on strike) made such a bad call, the Green Bay Packers lost a game over it.

Clearly, the refs were mistaken when they made the call, and even the commentators on TV predicted they would overturn it when they watched the replay. The refs did review the play; however, they didn’t overturn the call. The stadium went nuts, the commentators were stunned and Packer fans everywhere, including those in my house, were yelling at their TV. The call was so horrendous, it was probably the catalyst for the NFL and the referee union sitting down and coming to terms to get the professional refs on the football fields later that week.

But back to the Facebook post. Sam’s first sentence composed in his college dorm room was: “Mom, you shouldn’t read this,” then let the world have it with a rant on his Facebook page, which I read the night before we were to leave on our trip. It was the language he used that had me in a lather. Even his dad, who is more lax than I am on things of this nature, agreed it should come down.

It did, after a heated exchange over the phone. The kid was acting like I was censoring the great work of a classic author. How dare I?

My point to him was this: You don’t know who is going to see that someday. A future boss, a friend, whomever, and you will be embarrassed. It’s one of the lessons I’ve tried to instill in the boys for years: Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in front of Grandma. And for the most part, that lesson has worked, with a small digression here or there.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo can be reached at 612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com

And I’m not too old to learn some lessons, either. I just read Franchise Times Managing Editor Beth Ewen’s “change agents”—an article about three franchisors making large changes at their brands. Change is good, for the most part, but franchisors have to convince franchisees it is in their best interest to come along for the ride. What I liked about their lessons learned was they were concrete, actionable items franchisors reading the article can apply to their brands.

Also in this issue, Franchise Times Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner reported on the most recent Franchise Times/IFA/U.S. Commercial Service Trade Mission to South America. In fact, it’s our cover story this month, and you won’t want to miss the lessons garnered on their adventure. Sure there was great food, wine and stimulating people and conversations. But there were also long days of conversations with prospects and hauling luggage to the airport to get on yet another plane. But with hard work comes reward, as some franchisors have already signed international partners due to introductions and presentations made on the trip. You’ll want to read how it all came about.

One of my favorite lessons learned in this issue is a reminder to all of us to be authentic—to be true to ourselves and our own values. What’s impressive about Right at Home franchisee Paul Blom is that he does it in a way that’s not intrusive or strident. He just tells his story. And you root for him. You’ll want to read Beth’s Q&A with him, and why this story tells me that, as a population, we’ve come a long way.

And that’s the other lesson I’ll pass on to Sam: Know what’s important and what  matters in life, and find a way to take those values into your end zone. And for Grandma’s sake, enough with the Facebook. Study.

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