Are 'Values' Valued?
I just completed my second year as president of Alliance Franchise Brands Marketing and Print Division. Previously, I was part of the AlphaGraphics Network as a franchisee and then CEO. Both have been rich and fulfilling experiences.
When I viewed Alliance Franchise Brands from the outside, I was impressed by how out-front the organization was about what it stood for. At that time, its mission statement was “Enhancing the Value of the Businesses We Serve.”
Now that I’m an insider, I find it’s even more impressive and continues to strengthen! Through a series of intense work sessions, we recently revised our core values; something organizations do from time to time. Our facilitator was a task master and treated every syllable of every word with great precision and frugality. Seven words were “too many,” five were “better” and two were “perfect.”
It was a great exercise, and while we state them a little differently, they are very similar to the words the organization has been using for years.
Our Core Focus is:
Our Core Values Are:
Ethical and Trustworthy
Passion for Being Great
Here’s how they come to life in our company:
- Prospective Team Members and Franchise Members are exposed to these up front. We use our values to assess their fit with us.
- At our monthly Team meetings, our newest Team Member presents the Core Focus and Values to the rest. Some can be pretty animated!
- At these same meetings, Team Members share stories that demonstrate our Core Values in action.
- They also play an important part of our review conversations.
More importantly, when we reach those times with more to do than time allows, we use the Values and our Focus — Empowering Success Through High Impact Programs and Support — as the filter. We ask ourselves, “Will this program support success? Is it HIGH impact?”
Communicating our values and living them out was front and center in an important transaction four months ago when we acquired the franchise network, KKP of Canada. KKP is a leading network, owned by the same family for 37 years. With this transaction, the network became part of Alliance Franchise Brands, a much larger and American-based company. The transaction was a bit of a surprise for KKP Franchise Members and certainly an “out of the comfort zone” experience.
The selling owner spent quite a bit of time with us because finding a new owner that valued its Members was very important. Seeing how we manifested our values mattered.
From initial communications to our newest Members through our Discovery Day where all were invited to our home office in Plymouth, Mich., and in communications and interactions since then, we consistently walk the talk. And we are very appreciative of the opportunity to support the impressive work and the quality of owners in our KKP network.
We worked hard to define our values and are dedicated to using them to drive our daily work.
I hope sharing our story can help your organization stay focused on what is important to you, your employees and your customers as you pursue new opportunities, including acquisitions or mergers.
I’d like to learn how your organization uses its values to drive major decisions and day-to-day operations. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Cushing leads the Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, KKP, Speedy Printing and Zippy Prints brands as president of Alliance Franchise Brands' Marketing and Print Division.
Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign and Graphics Operations LLC, is a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in North America and the United Kingdom. The Marketing and Print Division is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Franchise owners in this division offer one-stop marketing and print communications services. Its Sign and Graphics Division, headquartered in Middle River, Maryland, includes Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign, graphics and visual communications providers.
Cushing has owned and operated award-winning franchise locations, was inducted into Epicomm's Soderstrom Society, and was named Print CEO of the Year in 2011 when he served as CEO of AlphaGraphics Inc.