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Managing an Organization with Multiple Locations

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” – Ronald Reagan

There’s no longer any room for the old top-down leadership paradigm in today’s workplace; that approach is counterproductive and impractical in our fast-paced multifaceted business culture. With access to so much information at our fingertips and the necessity of retaining employees with a variety of specialized skills, the old “one-man” show is unnecessary because it’s impossible to maintain.

A new generation in today’s workforce is fiercely independent, and many are quite capable of making good decisions without having to run everything passed a supervisor. With more companies working from separate locations, whether working from home or commercial space in another state, the modern, multifaceted workplace employs a faster, more independent better-skilled workforce, which demands the presence of innovative leaders.

Sometimes Simplicity is Genius

You can learn a lot from a franchise. Chick-fil-A has been at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranking of “limited-service restaurants” (fast food) several times. The simplicity of their five core values keeps their locations on the same page which states; “Relationships with our fellow team members and our customers, being consistently cheerful, is one behavioral characteristic that contributes towards having a Positive Influence.

Five Core Values

1. Customer First

2. Personal Excellence

3. Continuous Improvement

4. Working Together

5. Stewardship

Five Considerations for Managing an Organization with Multiple Locations

Think franchise and research how the best ones operate, you can learn a lot from them since they’ve already solved many of the problems you’ll face managing one company with several locations.

1. Establish and Standardize Rules and Guidelines

Map out and define each step for all procedures and employee responsibilities. Be sure everyone is familiar with your operations manual, code of ethics, and employee handbook. Provide employees in all locations with the same simplified systems and a positive work environment. Tom Peters remarks, “Almost all quality improvements come via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, process, and procedures,” Chick Fil A has a good handle on this.

2. Maintain Cohesiveness

For leaders to remain hands-on and influential in organizations conducting business from multiple locations, they must be highly intentional in developing a team culture that keeps everyone informed up to date and on the same page. If your sites are dealing directly with your customers/clients, each site will naturally develop a culture in keeping with the needs of your clientele in those locations. Just as a franchise reproduces its systems in each location, your operation must remain seamless in every site even if some employees are working from home.

3. Conduct Regularly Scheduled Meetings

A well-formatted weekly meeting keeps managers at multiple locations connected and on the same page. Strategy and management consultant Ryan Ayers says, “getting the team “together” on a regular basis is one of the things that makes remote work actually succeed. Even just a 15-minute weekly check-in is all most teams need to make sure everyone is on track and working toward the same goals.”

4. Train and Empower Your People to Handle Operations

Peter Drucker says, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” It takes some courage, skill, and restraint to release people to make important decisions. Keeping your leaders informed and being hands-on does not include looking over everyone’s shoulder in every location.

Delegation is an art, and you must have confidence in your leaders especially if you’re thinking expansion. As your company grows your leadership team of necessity must grow as well.

5. Establish Clear Lines of Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw

Conducting business in several locations requires diligence in maintaining clear lines of communication. There is always a danger of assuming effective communication with employees at other sites has taken place when none has. Unless you are intentional about connecting with your people at other sites no rapport will be established.

  • Connecting with your people is more skill than talent.

  • Developing good working relationships can always be improved.

  • Connections must be mutual for meaningful communication to continue.

Make time for meaningful connecting with your leaders and visiting your other sites for some purposeful Q & A. You will be saving both time and money in the long run.

"Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people." - John Rockefeller

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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