Dina's Blog

  • Systems and Values

    An interesting thing happened when Rob White pursued a career in franchising. He found more than just systems for running a business.

    “I like franchising,” Rob says. And he has enough experience today to know why. You see, Rob was a franchisee with Rainbow International for six years. And he was quite good at it too.

    He grew his franchise to include 25 employees and $2 million in sales. His experience was a wealth of help to other franchisees in the system as well. And he eventually became president for the entire Rainbow International network – a role he held for another four years.

    In that time, he also developed a strong dedication to the company’s Code of Values as a foundation to run his business – both at the grassroots level of his franchise and at the corporate level supporting all locations. But he’ll be the first to tell you that it didn’t happen overnight.

    Values only hung on the wall at first

    The way he tells it today, his wife gets the credit for putting values in front of him. It just took him some time to notice.

    When Rob started his Rainbow franchise, he was so busy in the beginning just learning the ropes of the business.

    “I came home from franchise training. And you learn all of this stuff that you cannot possibly retain it all. And I just brushed off the values,” Rob said. “And my wife who came to training, she stuck them up over by the water fountain. Still, I never really looked at them.

    “Then six months into the business, here I am – this corporate guy. And I’m getting frustrated with some of my employees. Things are not going the way I wanted. And I’m drinking at the water fountain, when I look up and say, ‘Wow. We have a rule for that. Wow, that’s another good rule. And so on and so on.”

    Rob pulled the Code of Values off the wall, and the next meeting at his Rainbow franchise, he asked someone in the room, “How does this apply to what you’re doing today?”

    Every week after that, Rob started seeing change. His business started running the way he wanted it to run. And over time, he said the Code of Values had a really big impact.

    When he was recruited to corporate, he saw the Code of Values living and breathing across the culture and the team at the HQ level too. And, in return, it was wonderful watching Rob live and lead with values when I worked alongside him at Dwyer Group headquarters. But I equally understood when he made the decision to move back to Virginia to be closer to family.

    What impressed me the most was the lasting impression that our Code of Values made long after he left Dwyer Group.

    When he got homesick he took his values with him

    I was strolling through Twitter when I found the most wonderful Tweet from Rob that showed his successful business and the Code of Values that he had put together to help guide that organization forward. You see, Rob still loves franchising. And he still loves living and leading with values too.

    Today, Rob is a multi-unit franchisee with FASTSIGNS. He operates four locations in Richmond, Va., one location in Fredericksburg, Va., and a large production center that services all of them.

    He said he didn’t want to get involved in a startup. And it just so happened that someone he has known for more than 20 years was ready to exit the FASTSIGNS business. Rob found it the perfect fit for his own interests.

    “It kind of fit my mold, a business to business franchise,” he said. “It had an existing team. It was about the same size of my Rainbow franchise. And it fit part of my personal ongoing mission to be a servant leader to my team and our customers.”

    Being that servant leader meant coming up with a Code of Values that would help the business and its people too. It was one of the first things he did. And he had 3 meetings so each employee could attend while working different schedules.

    Today, they follow guiding principles of Truth, Excellence and Love (TR / EX / LO) with a strong customer focus. And being FASTSIGNS, they have some awesome signs to show off their values too!

    Richmond/Fred's Production Manager Jason Dunn helping to introduce Guiding Principles

    But the most important thing is that they don’t just hang on the wall. Rob said he has told every one of his employees at FASTSIGNS his story about the Code of Values hanging above the water fountain at his Rainbow franchise.

    And today, he lives and leads with his values at FASTSIGNS by making them a regular conversation. They have regular meetings, and they make a point to recognize values in action as well as what they can do to improve.

    Congratulations to Rob, his team, their Code of Values and their continued success!