Our company, Blanchard Training and Development, is doing some exciting joint projects with Franklin Quest. Hyrum Smith, founder of Franklin Quest, has become a dear friend. He shared the platform with Don Shula and me while we were touring for our book, Everyone's a Coach.
Hyrum started Franklin Quest in his garage a little more than a decade ago, and today he is the leader in the life-planning business. The company's mission statement is: To help people get better control of their lives. Recently, Franklin Quest merged with Covey Leadership Center, founded by Stephen R. Covey, author of the best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.
At a recent Franklin Quest users' conference, I shared the platform with Hyrum. In his talk, Hyrum shared the eight ingredients that have made Franklin Quest so successful in such a short period of time. I was so struck by how simple, but powerful, these eight ingredients are, that I wanted to share them with you.
A product that works.
Franklin Quest has always given an unconditional guarantee with their planner. To me, a high-quality product is an entry fee to get into a competitive market. In the old days, you could get away with a product that wasn't the best because your customers couldn't go anywhere else. Today, your competition is waiting at your door to take your unsatisfied customers away.
Franklin Quest has always gone out and recruited the best possible people for every position. No matter how Wall Street downplays it, the most important resource any company has is its people. Technology will continue to make us more efficient, but without people to drive the technology and create raving fan service for your customers, you will not be able to sustain a competitive edge.
Passion for what you do.
A clear mission statement can help generate passion, but you need to continually create a motivating, empowering work environment that will keep that passion going. All the people I have met at Franklin Quest are passionate about what they do.
A sense of urgency in everything you do.
Your customers want what they want, where they want it, when they want it. They don't care about your problems; they are focused on their needs. When it comes to customers, you must be ready to move. Without a sense of urgency, Franklin Quest could never have grown the way they have.
Outstanding customer service.
Today you can't just satisfy your customers, you must create raving fans. In our book, Raving Fans, Sheldon Bowles and I define these special customers as people who are so excited about what you do that they want to brag about you. In some ways, they become part of your sales force. No company could grow like Franklin Quest without outstanding customer service.
Faith in self.
Effectiveness starts on the inside. We have to believe and have faith in ourselves. As Spencer Johnson and I stated in The One Minute Manager, "People who feel good about themselves produce good results." To grow a company, you must have people working with you who have solid self-esteem.
Money must be a product of some other success.
Hyrum Smith stresses that, although Franklin Quest is a public company, it is not in the business to make money. Money is the second consideration. The best definition of profit I know is: Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating, empowering environment for your people. The only reason to work to create an excellent, profitable company is to do more good work and create more opportunities to develop people. I feel that kind of commitment from Hyrum Smith and his folks at Franklin Quest.
Faith in God.
Hyrum Smith is not afraid to state the importance of the spiritual side of his organizations. I am convinced that the more organizations are grounded in some spiritual foundation, the more good things will come their way. Today, with change moving at an incredible pace, you could get lost if you don't have spiritual grounding. Heading down the wrong road can sometimes lead to the belief that business is only about profitability. That would be a shame.
I think these eight ingredients are sound and could help your organization -- regardless of its nature -- grow and prosper. Thanks, Hyrum, for the good advice.
About the author
Ken Blanchard is chairman of Blanchard Training and Development Inc. in San Diego and author, with Michael O'Connor, of Managing by Values (Berrett-Koehler, 1996).
© 1997 Blanchard Management Report, Blanchard Training and Development Inc. Telephone (800) 728-6000, ext. 5201, fax (619) 743-5030 or e-mail kblanchard @qualitydigest.com.