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100 District Managers Trained and 10 Lessons We’ve Learned from Them

district manager leadership multi-unit franchising Mar 13, 2023
100 district managers

In the spring of 2021, we launched our best-in-class Multi-Unit Leadership Certification program, and 100 participants have completed the program so far. 

  • Although we are the ones delivering this amazing program to aspiring, existing, and even tenured district managers and multi-unit leaders, we’ve also become apprentices in the last two years.

That’s why in this blog post, I’ll share the top 10 learnings we have had. These things have been eye-opening and some have helped us adjust our program to make it even better. 

If you are a district manager, a business owner, or a multi-unit franchisee, and you have one or more district managers, this program is for you! Click here to learn more about it!


Lesson 1: most multi-unit leaders are what we call “super GMs” because they do not understand what is their role as a multi-unit leader and district manager. That role is completely different from the one of a general manager but, because of the lack of training, guidance, processes, and procedures, they don't know how to properly perform their role. 

What happens is that they default to what they know best, which is being a great general manager of one unit, and try to multiply that across the units they're responsible for.

Must read: Forget super GMs! Your multi-unit franchise needs a district manager


Lesson 2: the biggest challenge that district managers have is time management. Unit managers follow their day-to-day schedule according to the operations and needs of their single unit. However, the district manager’s agenda is dictated by the district and all the units' needs. 

That’s why it is critical they know how to manage their time in order to focus on the right things, in the right units, and at the right time. 

Teaching the district managers that have gone through our program how to manage their time better has been a true game-changer for them!

Don’t miss: This is the ideal number of units a district manager should oversee


Lesson 3: most district managers are struggling with staffing. And, since do not have general managers or unit leaders in place, they end up becoming super GMs, which is also their comfort zone.

The problem is that the district is not being managed how it needs to, which can cause a lot of issues and stress the leaders because they have a very poor quality of life. I will tell you that many of them are even on the verge of burnout, which can lead them to resign.

This is why district managers fail and how to prevent it!


Lesson 4: the biggest “aha” district managers get through the program is that people and their leadership are critical to achieving the district’s goals. 

In the program, they learn how they're not supposed to be executing, but inspiring the people to execute the right way. Also, how to be aware of who they are as leaders and how to develop others to be great leaders. But most importantly, how they can be better leaders and motivate their team because that's the main role of a district manager.

As they go through the material, classroom discussions, and assignments, they realize what they are doing wrong and how to change that. This transforms the organization when it comes to leadership.


Lesson 5: the direct supervisor's involvement, before, after, and specifically during the program, is critical for the success of this multi-unit leader. I know that the direct supervisor is usually too busy, but their participation, collaboration, and cooperation are critical for the district manager’s success and experience in their job. 

Because of this fifth lesson, we’ve evolved our program to involve these direct supervisors more and more. Now we have three calls with these direct supervisors to guide and teach them, answer their questions, and ensure they absorb all the information and participate in the program. What happens afterward is incredible.

A quick tip: if you have a district manager that reports directly to you, make sure you have a touchpoint with them every week. That’ll make a difference in the results and their experience. 


Lesson 6: if you have a large organization, it is much better to have a group of your district managers go through the program at the same time than send one person at a time.

We have had both scenarios and the impact is tremendous because when you have a group take the program together, they collaborate in designing the systems for their organization as well as in applying what we're teaching. 

They can also adjust the templates we provide in your organization's new tools. They build better relationships with their fellow district managers and help define the culture in your enterprise. 

What a powerful thing when your district managers have these new processes and procedures, and new business learning to create an exciting new culture and organization! That is possible when a group of people from the same organization, go together through this program.

Learn here: What is your employer's brand and how to improve it


Lesson 7: immediate implementation of what the participants are learning is key. The program is designed so they do exactly that. Every module has several action items to make them execute what we teach every week.

Some learnings are just pencil writing exercises, but others imply putting systems in the district and units right away. Those bring the most value because the leaders are obtaining the skills and the practice of the routines and tasks that they have to do in this particular role. This is key to maximizing the opportunity and the experience of this learning. 


Lesson 8: early management of the participant’s activity is critical so that they do not get behind. Managers are very busy and have a lot of things on their hands, especially when they have not had any training or guidance on how to do their job. 

Must read: The Key Parts of the District Manager's Job Description

If they don't follow all the weekly content and assignments is easy to get behind. And, if they get too behind, there’s a 50/50 chance of completing the program because this is an intense, 10-week development program for district managers

If they complete the assignments just to meet the expectations, they won’t get the maximum value out of the program. That’s why we developed an early management process to help participants keep up with the program in terms of learning, participation, and implementation. That way, they can get the full value of what they're learning in these intense ten weeks.


Lesson 9: district managers want to do a good job. The ones that we get in our program either want to develop themselves into better district managers or their direct supervisor, franchise owner or boss wants to develop them into better district managers

The challenge is that they don't really sometimes not know how to perform better. And so as they're getting the know-how of everything they need to do, the excitement, happiness, joy, self-satisfaction, and pride they acquire it’s absolutely amazing. 

We love that we get to have a part in this change and evolution of these amazing leaders! They already come with the excitement, determination, and commitment to do a great job, and now we give them the tools so they can make that happen.


Lesson 10: after doing some research we realized that there was no real multi-unit training in the market, until now. Yes, there are some leadership and theoretical courses, some are online and you can watch them on your own and at your own pace. 

That’s good but they lack the tactical and practical activities, routines, and actions that the district managers need to do every day to produce results in their district.

That is what our Multi-Unit Leadership Certification Program does. 


I hope this gives you a couple of ideas of what we have learned training over 100 district managers and how we’ve built our program based on the feedback of the participants and their direct supervisors to make it better. 

  • As you can imagine, after two years, our program is even better than it was before!

If you have a district manager or you are a district manager yourself and you would like to learn more about this amazing opportunity, join us on our next webinar where we’ll provide information on this program and share what we teach, how we deliver it, and the outcome you should expect from it. 

Go to and register for free!

I look forward to seeing you there and giving you all this knowledge and opportunities so that you and your organization can be successful.

Don’t forget to follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get information that will help you be more successful in your business.


  • Have you given proper training to your district managers?
  • Are your district managers close to burnout? How are you helping them feel more relaxed?
  • How are your district managers inspiring their teams?
  • How are you maximizing your district manager’s opportunities for success?