Ed Shanahan, DDIFO Executive Director

Ed Shanahan, DDIFO Executive Director

I spent several days earlier this month at a convention for association professionals in Atlanta, Georgia (a city from which we recently signed up several new members).  Like most industry or professional conventions, this one featured a session on change. We are all accustomed to hearing that “Change is inevitable and we must accept it or it will consume and devour us…”  It’s a familiar message so, in that context, this convention was no different.

What is different this time however, is how the message relates to DDIFO.

First off, the conference was held in the home city of one of America’s most revered change agents, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Yes, just a 15 minute walk from the King National Historic site and the birthplace of the late civil rights icon, we talked as professionals about the need to accept change ­ to do whatever’s necessary to keep our organizations fresh and relevant.  The discussion prompted me to look deeply into the relevance of DDIFO and what is necessary to keep it invigorated.

Fortunately, we’re well positioned to accept change and adapt our organization to deliver value to its members. We have tremendous assets in our membership – dedicated and passionate professionals who know the business and are committed to the best interests of the entire Dunkin’ franchisee community.  We are also fortunate to count among our members – present and future members – many forward thinkers who know that being prepared for a negative turn is necessary in order to get back on the path to more fruitful times.

Many of our members have survived difficult challenges and are familiar with the ebb and flow of the franchisee/franchisor relationship.  Long-time members know only too well the benefits a strong and effective independent franchisee organization can bring to bear when circumstances require. And, they recognize the costs and risks associated with nurturing just such an organization.Today DDIFO is a strong and effective independent organization, yet one that needs to nimbly adapt to an ever-changing economic, regulatory and industry environment – while best serving our members, meeting our mission and staying true to our roots.

So much of what was presented in Atlanta speaks directly to the leaders and members of DDIFO. One particular presentation from a young woman who had reached the pinnacle of the business world rather quickly – and, frankly, via an unorthodox route – centered on how important it is to stay focused on your mission and strategic goals, even while you are looking out for that next viable partnership or new revenue source.

To me, her message said we need to focus inward while keeping our eyes looking outward. To survive and thrive, DDIFO must adapt to a changing environment, without losing sight of why this organization was founded in the first place.

To get there, we must recognize that change is coming. Embrace it, effectuate it, usher it into our organization and, if necessary, refocus our core mission. We must take the necessary steps to create an environment that is conducive to the success of all Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners.  Toward that end, I ask existing members to recommit to the success of DDIFO. To those of you who have not yet joined, or are still considering rejoining, accept the challenge to change the organization for the better from within. Together, we will be our very own agents of change, and our entire system will be better for it.

Ed Shanahan
DDIFO Executive Director