Why do stressed franchisees often look so stupid, so “frozen”?

Like a “deer caught in a car’s headlights”?

Waking the Tiger

Dr. Peter A. Levine in his 1997 book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, suggests that under threat, franchisees are behaving perfectly naturally:

Chapter 1: Shadows From a Forgotten Past

 Nature’s Plan

A herd of impala grazes peacefully in a lush wadi [valley]. Suddenly, the wind shifts, carrying with it a new, but familiar scent. The impala senses danger in the air and become instantly tensed to a hair trigger of alertness. They sniff, look, and listen carefully for a few moments, but when no threat appears, the animals return to their grazing, relaxed yet vigilant.

Seizing he moment, a stalking cheetah leaps from its cover of dense shrubbery. As if it were one organism, the herd springs quickly toward a protective thicket at the wadi’s edge. One young impala trips for a split second, then recovers. but it is too late. In a blur, the cheetah lunges toward its intended victim, and the chase is on at a blazing sixty to seventy miles an hour.

At the moment of contact (or just before), the young impala falls to the ground, surrendering to its impending death. Yet, it may be uninjured. The stone-still animal is not pretending to be dead. It has instinctively entered an altered state of consciousness shared by all mammals when death appears imminent. many indigenous peoples view this phenomenon as a surrender of the spirit of the prey to the predator, which, in a manner of speaking, it is.

Physiologists call this altered state the “immobility” or “freezing” response. It is one of the three primary responses available to reptiles and mammals when faced with an overwhelming threat. The other two, fight and flight, are much more familiar to most of  us. Less is known about the immobility response…

Tim Hortons franchisees know enough not to race to any brand lawyer to solve their problem.

  • They know that the franchise bar serves only franchisor interests: just like the lapdog franchisee advisory groups.

They stick with the few peers they trust and watch.

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