On February 10th, thousands of franchise-industry professionals will gather in Phoenix, Arizona for the 58th annual International Franchise Association convention. This year’s convention will include exhibits from hundreds of suppliers, over 50 educational sessions and seminars, an emerging-franchise boot camp and ten celebrity keynote speakers. One of those speakers is Rory Vaden, the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting and New York Times best-selling author of Take the Stairs and Procrastinate on Purpose.
This year’s convention will see Vaden’s first appearance in front of the IFA, but the professional speaker is well prepared for the role. Vaden burst into the public-speaking world in 2007, when he was named first runner-up in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, an international competition with more than 25,000 contestants. Since then, Vaden has become a sought-after keynote speaker. Vaden delivers more than 50 talks each year for many of the largest companies and business organizations in the world, including AFLAC, Bank of America, Cargill, Proctor & Gamble, Mass Mutual, Wells Fargo, True Value and Merck among others.
Vaden’s consulting company, Southwestern Consulting, provides sales and leadership coaching, corporate sales consulting, and keynote speaking for companies in more than 40 countries. Southwestern Consulting’s team of researchers and analysts study the most effective sales practices to help clients increase their revenue and the reputation of their sales staffs.
Vaden’s world-renowned public speaking skills make him a must-see performance at the convention, and attendees from any corner of the industry will benefit from his consulting expertise, but it’s the program of Vaden’s seminar, which draws heavily from his most recent book, Procrastinate on Purpose, that will provide the most crucial value to both franchisors and franchisees.
Borrowing from his book, Vaden’s IFA 2018 seminar is titled “Procrastinate on Purpose: The 5 Permissions You Need to Say No.” The seminar will help attendees reframe some of the more common challenges in the business world so that they can take control of their schedules, increase production and decrease stress. According to Vaden, the crux of many of those challenges comes down to what he calls “priority dilution.” Drawing from research conducted by Southwestern Consulting, Vaden posits that most problems with efficiency and overworked employees come down to mismanaged priorities on the part of a company or department’s leadership. Vaden’s program provides an actionable strategy for leaders to rethink priorities and optimize workflows.
Much of Vaden’s time-management philosophy is founded on the principles laid out in his first book, Take the Stairs, which encourages leaders to “take the stairs,” that is, do things the old-fashioned way, with hard work, discipline and focus. In the modern workplace, there are endless tools and resources that purport to boost productivity, but the selection and application of these resources can be distracting and overwhelming. Vaden asks leaders to have faith in their own ability to get things done. Take the Stairs and Procrastinate on Purpose have both been widely embraced for their frank and actionable call to return to a kind of elbow-grease-oriented approach to business.
Vaden’s message is likely to have a particularly strong resonance at this year’s IFA convention, where franchisors and franchisees will be looking for solutions to a laundry list of challenges facing the industry this year, including rising minimum-wage requirements, tax reform—the effects of which remain mysterious to many in the industry—and rapidly changing consumer habits. Given that whirlwind of industry changes, convention-goers may find solace and inspiration in Vaden’s level-headed prescription of careful prioritization, focus and hard work.
Vaden’s appearance promises to be a highlight in a convention that features seminars from a number of heavy-hitters, including Walter Bond, Stephen M. R. Covey, and Daymond John. IFA 2018 will be held February 10–13 at the Phoenix Convention Center and Sheraton Grand Phoenix, in Phoenix, Arizona.