- Aoife O'Tarpaigh
- 6min read
- Published: August 13, 2020
- Views: 67
The Art of On-boarding
I’m about to turn 36 in a month and for the time I’ve been doing what I’m currently doing, I may say, my work with people from diverse, multicultural backgrounds has been and will always be my vocation.
I was invited to share my thoughts about how I on-board new franchise partners.
Some people call it art hence the title of the article.
I call it “vocation”.
Few of you know that my background is in cognitive sciences – a choice I made when I was 14 – when I suffered a severe car accident and I was given a second chance to start doing something meaningful in my life.
I always knew what I wanted to do in and with my life and I’m happy to declare in front of all of you that I am doing it.
When I was working on my Masters’ research project on lie and deception detection, my Supervisor taught me first to find the etymology of the words I use.
I’ll do the same here.
Art is related to the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination whereas on-boarding is the action or process of integrating someone new into an enterprise for example.
To me, the art of on-boarding is nothing but a desire to help people who wish to be helped; to help them grow, mature, help them adopt the right for their business journey mindset and habits that will guide them throughout that journey.
I know that all this might sound a bit too philosophical, however, behind every art (and mine too) there’s a certain dose of philosophy. However, in comparison with philosophy that is grounded on hypotheses that eventually becomes a theory I strongly rely on empirical evidence as well.
Empirical evidence is derived from experience, case studies, and as many success stories as stories about failure.
Seldom do people talk about failure and I’m definitely not one of them.
I do talk and share all the benefits and drawbacks that a new business partner may eventually face.
I strongly believe that my people (I dare call them mine) deserve to know that not everything will be the way they have imagined it. And it shouldn’t be. Imagine how deadly boring it will be if we knew what’s going to happen next.
Where does the thrill go?
Where does the curiosity go if the unknown doesn’t trigger our motivation to find out the answers to “what’s next?” “What’s in it for me?”.
As in any art there are rules to follow, in on-boarding there are such as well.
Every time I meet a new business partner the first thing I need to understand is what expectations they had before they met me because, let’s admit it, as representatives of the human race we cannot possibly live without expectations, dreams about something better, imagine our life and so on.
And there’s nothing wrong in this. Yet it can be quite challenging when someone’s expectations exceed their own capabilities and crash in reality.
This is the most crucial part of my work – align their current expectations with their current reality so we achieve a healthy perception.
Do you remember that saying when perception meets reality, reality comes second best?
Well, this is an absolute truth in business and in life in general.
Apart from building the right for them perception another key point is establishing healthy decision-making practices.
Oftentimes in business we need to make a decision right here, right now and bear the consequences as they come.
Entrepreneurship involves taking risks and to take risks you need to be ready to decide to either succeed or fail.
My personal and professional experience have taught me that the longer we postpone a decision the worse we start to feel about not doing something different from what we are currently doing. This is a choice, a decision that we have made – to decide not to do something different.
Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t necessarily imply that a business owner knows how to make healthy decisions. It doesn’t mean that an ordinary clerk cannot be an excellent decision-maker either.
It’s a personality trait that needs to be nurtured and maintained or sometimes even unlocked.
My job (although I don’t like using the word “job”) is to help people who have the potential to do something more and meaningful in their life.
On the other hand, my job is also to mentor those who are going astray due to misinterpreted words, situations or simply because they have the “know-it-all” attitude.
The latter is the hardest to achieve as there is simply no trust between them and me. And without trusting each other we cannot achieve anything.
Sometimes I have to step back and leave people to do whatever they have in mind, fall down, get up and ask me “what do we do now”?
And it’s alright, however, in business as well as in life, this costs time.
There’s a reason why I’m not mentioning money here.
We can earn money but we cannot turn back time and do things differently, right?
The biggest challenge of all is to accept situations as they come.
During the first meeting with new business partners, I engage them in a conversation about everything that you have just read.
They deserve the space and time to openly speak about where they currently are, where they want to be, what they are willing to do about it, what help they need.
And I deserve to hear all that they have and want to say.
In my work so far with hundreds of business partners across Australia and the UK, the message and energy I’ve always aimed to transmit is “Welcome home, you’re in good hands. It’s OK to not know everything, that’s why I’m here. There are some rules to follow though, and you need to trust the process because it will not only change your professional life. It will change your whole life for something better. Are you ready to hop on board with me?”
I wish I could say that my success rate with on-boarding business partners is 100% but it’ll be a blatant lie.
The moment I start working with people (in this case business owners) I enter in a relationship. Sometimes such relationships are positive, successful, full of joy and happiness. Other times they are as if you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know they’re in a relationship with you.
It’s funny, isn’t it?
And all this has taught me how flexible I need to be at times, what promises I dare to make, how I need to stand my ground, to what extent I shall expect commitment from them and how much they genuinely want to grow and develop by exiting their comfort zone.
To me, the journey is worth it because if it is not for the sake of helping other people what’s the point in living at all.
Posted in Personal Development
Aoife O'TarpaighAoife is our on-boarding guru. She makes sure all new Master and Area Development Franchisees feel at home here. Her personal approach to each franchisee is how she ensures the professional growth and self-development everyone needs to reach their true potential. Her personal mantra is to improve yourself first, then impact the people around you. Follow her on LinkedIn.