When US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt swept to power in the Great Depression, he promised an ambitious range of social programs to mark his first 100 days. When Peter Sinodinos moved into the CEO role at Snap Franchising, he used a similar time frame to hit the ground running, aspiring to personally meet with every Australian franchisee in his initial 90 days.

“I stupidly thought I could go out to 147 franchises,” Peter laughs. “Everybody thinks about their first 90 days when they start a new role. I came from a slightly different industry, so I wanted to understand what was going on in that business.” He soon found that a single franchise visit could easily take a day, and he ended up visiting 83 outlets.

The insights Peter gleaned from this face-to-face contact were invaluable. “It was an opportunity to look at things we wanted to focus on, like supply chain,” he recalls. “It was also a boost to some of the franchises that hadn’t met with the CEO for four or five years. Spending time with the franchisees at the grassroots level meant we built a strong rapport.”

Snap Franchising has a proud, Australian history

Having previously worked in executive management at retailer The Good Guys, Peter was headhunted for the role by an employment agency that presented the opportunity to him without mentioning the company name.

“They described the business and its franchisee base and asked me if I liked to work with groups.” When the name Snap Franchising was mentioned, Peter instantly recognised it as a leader in print, design and websites, and became even more intrigued.

Peter Sinodinos CEO of Snap Franchising

We like to encourage staff to think about how they’re going to write themselves into the Snap success story.

“What attracted me to Snap was that the individual franchisees are empowered to deliver their own results. I like working with small and medium-sized enterprises and family-style businesses. To do that at a company with a heritage of 117 years in the Australian landscape was very appealing. Snap has a proud history in the country because it employs a lot of Australians, especially new Australians who are looking to make a name for themselves and change their fortunes.”

For his relationships with franchisees, and business relationships in general, Peter subscribes to the idea that successful commercial connections can usefully be thought of as a triangle. “At the top is the customer or client. They are number one,” he says. “Everything that we need to promote our business is at the top. At the corners at the bottom of the triangle, you have Snap franchises and then the brand itself. All three corners of that triangle need to work together.”

Peter Sinodinos believes in enjoying your work

Peter finds it useful to present strategy ideas in visual terms this way. “Whenever I have a meeting with the senior management team, the whiteboard is always close by and all of us have a turn at articulating concepts on the board. If you work here at Snap, you have to be handy with the whiteboard, I guess.”

One of Peter’s guiding philosophies is that work should be enjoyable. He says a workplace can be both convivial and highly productive. “We do try and make it fun, though we still have objectives we’ve got to achieve. Having fun is important, but it doesn’t mean that we’re running around having a great time and nothing gets done.”

He points to initiatives such as ‘town hall meetings’ that add variety and enjoyment to the working week, as well as helping break down communication silos. “We have get-togethers where one department will talk about their particular aspect of the business and they’ll present it to everybody. We also mix up all the team members into communities where they can talk to each other. These meetings are really open and transparent forums about the business and how we want to improve it.”

Peter says Snap is also implementing a range of wellness initiatives to encourage happier, healthier staff. “We’ve invested in some stand-up desks so the staff can get a bit of exercise. We also encourage ‘walking meetings’. If two staff are going to meet, I recommend they go for a walk in the sunshine together. It’s refreshing; it means you’re not stuck under neon lights in the office all day.”

The ultimate Snap success story

Beyond these innovations, Peter says, the key to people finding their work enjoyable and meaningful is to connect their individual output to the bigger picture. “I want them to feel like they’re part of something great. It’s important that staff can have an opinion and know nobody is going to discount what they’re saying.

“We want to provide an environment where our people can be very effective. We like to encourage staff to think about how they’re going to write themselves into the Snap success story. We ask: What are you going to do to be more successful tomorrow than you are today? What do we need to do to help you with that?”

To Peter, the ultimate Snap success story would involve Snap growing its business by growing the clients’ businesses. “We want to be successful by giving customers the right support and client satisfaction. If we have a fresh team that’s engaged, positive and given the right processes and the right systems and information to make decisions, that will give us the best results.”

Peter is an advocate for all staff being able to achieve work–life balance and having outside interests. He is a believer in the value of sport, particularly team sports which, he says, help foster a sense of community.

Above all, he says, family keeps him grounded. He has three children, aged nine, 12 and 14. “They tell you how it is. There is no use trying any management stuff on them; they’ll bring you down to earth.”