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Call it motivating, not coddling


Today we helped 19-year-old son Sam move into his first apartment, near the campus of the college where he will commence his sophomore year. Twenty-something son Ben, who had volunteered to help with the move (once his father insisted he volunteer), was appalled at my “help” once inside Sam’s apartment.

While husband Doug and the boys were moving the heavy things, I was unpacking. What Ben regarded disdainfully was my apparent unheralded need to make Sam’s bed and hang up his clothes. “Geeeez, Mom. He can do that himself,” Ben said.

“I want it to be nice,” I answered, weakly trying to justify my actions.

“Mom. Mom,” said Ben, trying to reason with a crazy person, “It’s going to be messy in here in a matter of hours.” (I’ll have you know that Ben’s also the guy who subscribes to the theory of “Why should I make my bed? I’m only going to get in it again tonight.”)

I want to reassure you, readers, I haven’t coddled Sam all his life. Yes, I did some of his wash while he was home for the summer (OK, much of it), and I said I wouldn’t. But he also worked 40 hours a week during the summer, sometimes split shifts, and sometimes overnight. Sam hasn’t been afraid of hard work, is what I’m trying to say. And so, if I did a load of his wash now and then, that wouldn’t be coddling him, would it? It would just be doing something nice for someone I love. (Right?)

I guess I could say I was following Dov Seidman’s advice: There are ways to get things done: by coercion, motivation or inspiration. Seidman, CEO of the consultancy LRN and the keynote speaker at this summer’s Women in Foodservice Forum’s Executive Summit, told the audience of senior executives that “to inspire people to work better together, or creatively, we need to do it through values and how we act.” (Rather than coerce Sam into clean rooms and neatness, I would assert I was trying to motivate and inspire Sam to that behavior.)

In Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner’s account of the Summit, you’ll find information on how to motivate and inspire employees. Yes, I know, we’ve heard it all before, but I think you’ll find some of the advice more compelling and actually usable. And, particularly noteworthy is one speaker’s advice on how to build a team that can survive and thrive in a world that moves at lightening speed. One word: hybrid.

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

Also in this month’s issue, we include an expanded franchise finance and real estate section that gives you an overview of the current state of both areas. And, as a bonus, we’ve featured a directory of the finance and real estate sources that are targeting the franchise sector. These are the folks who have aligned their businesses with franchising, and understand it and the challenges our readers face—both franchisees and franchisors.

And don’t forget to read our cover story about long-time Wendy’s franchisees who’ve picked up another concept, and it isn’t a restaurant. But their deal was sweet, or so they say. I won’t reveal anymore. You’ll have to read it to get all the delicious details.

One more note: Our Managing Editor Beth Ewen has been drafted as the new author of our long-standing column Continental Franchise Review, formerly authored by Janet Sparks who owned the rights to CFR before selling them to Franchise Times. After Janet moved on to new opportunities, we’ve been on the hunt for a strong voice to cover the legal machinations in the sector.

After seeing what Beth could do with a legal story (all good), we decided she would be a perfect fit to give her voice to it. A professional journalist of more than 25 years, she brings a balanced and well-written approach to the subjects she covers. You’ll have to catch her debut column this month. It’s a legal game of Twister.

I close now, as I am heading home to where more laundry lies in wait. Only this time, the pile just got a little smaller. I’m not sure I’m entirely happy about that.

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