When you walk into any McDonald’s across the country, almost everything is the same. This is intentional – the well run franchise focuses on replicating a carefully designed experience in all of its locations as this is part of what makes the franchise a less risky business model. This isn’t the case with independent companies that seek to set themselves apart from their competition by creating a different overall experience.
So what can companies outside of the franchise learn from these companies? The main thing we can learn is how knowledge transfer can help us move through corporate transitions. You may not be a franchise, but they know their way through the knowledge transfer process. Here’s two key ways franchises manage the process so successfully.
Consistency Above All
Although you may want to set yourself apart from the competition, there are certain aspects of your business you’ll want to keep consistent through a series of transitions. This is what franchises specialize in: providing a consistent experience. In part these companies manage such great degrees of consistency by strictly enforcing things from greetings to sign font, but they manage this by putting it all on paper. Clear policies breed consistency.
Your company may also want to create a thorough handbook describing how different situations are handled, but you also should model the appropriate methods. Try instituting shadow experiences for those trying to climb the corporate ladder. They’ll be able to see how an executive handles a new client and later will have that model to draw on. You might then move them from a shadow to an apprentice position where they gain greater independence.
Keeping Contacts Open
Another way that franchises have streamlined the knowledge transfer process is through creating ongoing supports. This can be difficult when someone suddenly leaves your company, which is why it’s important to work on this process with a long view of business security. In that way, the hope is that all necessary knowledge transfer has been completed before totally independent leadership is needed.
If you can’t provide internal supports for someone in a new position, consider finding another company to consult with, such as an independent market expert or non-profit. This can supply the knowledge transfer support that can otherwise be missing and help your company keep its practices consistent.
Next time you’re wondering how you can enhance your knowledge transfer process, consider taking a page out of the franchise book. You might even create a hypothetical franchise situation – one in which you have to write down all the information a franchise of your company would need. Then consider what the best ways to transmit that information. When you can identify all the key components to replicating your business, you’ll be better prepared for internal knowledge transfer situations.