The Lounge Branch Handbook
To be used by owners, and employees within the Lounge Branch of the AJI for information about promoting, ownership, duties, and expectations
First and foremost welcome to the Average Joe’s Initiative, The Lounge Branch! You are one among many who have chosen this branch of the AJI to be their career! You will find many opportunities to grow as a professional, a manager, and as a person within this particular branch. Not only will the ability to mentor and grow be available but the lucrative nature of this business also has some fantastic financial potential as well! Some of the highest echelons of leadership within the Lounge branch of the AJI make a phenomenal income at 2.5% of total income from their Area of Responsibility (AOR)!
However this isn’t just about money and becoming wealthy, that’s already understood that you will be adequately compensated and that if you have what it takes you will be a very successful entrepreneur within our organization! The primary focus of any branch within the AJI but especially the Lounge is to empower others, and mentor the next generation of leaders no matter what walk of life they might stem from! Every employee within the AJI Lounge branch is a manger in training. The primary focus of this branch is to groom owners so that they can open their own lounge in either an area of their own choosing or where one is needed!
Furthermore we want to encourage as much community involvement and impact as possible because the Lounge is one of the most direct courses to the local community to which it is located in. With that being said all of the charitable donations or information will always be relevant to the location at hand and thus the impact will be on the local community directly, not some ambiguous mega charity that serves a broad purpose! This brings the personability to the fore and shows everyone within the community, both local and AJI, that together we can and we will make difference in our world!
However we will get into those finer details in a moment, for now I would like to welcome you once again into the AJI family and hope that you enjoy your new career within the Initiative!
So what is expected of you whether you are an entry level employee or an owner? Every employee within a lounge is expected to pull their own weight and administer to the day to day tasks equally, with delegation occurring on an as needed basis. What this means is nobody is above taking out the trash or cleaning the restrooms, however duty assignments can be assigned on a merit basis as well! The point of specifying this outright is to deter any sort of favoritism, or “I’m the boss so you have to do as I say” mentality. That is not what we are about within the AJI and we will not condone such wanton arrogance within the company.
So why should I even bother being a manager if I’m still stuck doing the dirty jobs? Nobody says you have to do anything, merely that you are willing to do your part and aren’t constantly delegating out work that you could yourself do, but choose not to do. Too often does this occur in a business or organization where the higher ups look down upon their subordinates because they are in a higher position of authority. We are all Average Joe’s and we all have had to work for what we have today and we emphasize that in every tier of leadership, that we started at the bottom and we aren’t above breaking a sweat and working shoulder to shoulder with those subordinate to us!
That’s the mentality we strive to achieve within the AJI but specifically within the Lounge branch simply because it takes a team effort to accomplish the things we do within the Lounge! With that being said what is the actual job description?
- Will conduct transactions with customers.\
- Will maintain a professional appearance, and demeanor at all times.
- Will emphasize a high standard of customer service atall times, and within reason.
- Will mediate any disputes within the facility between customers or staff.
- Will monitor the various premium areas to ensure proper use and conduct within.
- Will ensure a high level of integrity and professional environment so that all patrons can enjoy themselves.
- Will ensure there is no drug usage, or traffic within the facility, or any other illicit activities.
- Will answer questions and concerns of staff and customers.
- Will direct patrons to the various information kiosks so that they can attain the information they seek.
- Will participate in general housekeeping practices as needed.
- Will maintain a personal log book of accomplishments to be submitted to their immediate supervisor for annual reviews.
- Will accomplish any other tasks or duties as assigned or as needed within reason.
As you can see entry level within the lounge is just like any other job but with the small addition of “within reason”. If you feel for any reason you are being harassed or constantly given “crap duty” or “busy work”, escalate that up the chain of command. There is a difference between doing menial work that needs to get done and constantly being given the short end of the stick and we do not tolerate that kind of leadership within the AJI.
You are also being paid significantly higher than minimum wage and therefore deserve to be treated as the professional manager in training that you are, with the expectations that you are being fairly and adequately compensated for any and all work tasked. This is part of the reason why within reason is specifically mentioned and why it is consistently emphasized that everyone does their fair share of work. Those that stand out will always tend to stand out from their peers, that’s the whole point!
Above all though we want to ensure you are enjoying both your work and your coworkers because chances are they or you will be in charge one day and we don’t want any hard feelings one way or the other. That is not conducive to good business nor leadership! We are a very laid back company, we don’t do background checks, drug tests, we don’t even ask for gender, religion, or ethnicity! We don’t expect you to wear a suit and tie, we don’t expect you to take out your piercings or cover up any tattoos, we are a company of regular Joe’s and we embrace that fact! Don’t take life to serious, but put forth your best efforts in all the things you do and you will see that hard work pay off!
Tier 1 Management:
So you’ve decided to embark on the rocky and often times perilous journey of business ownership, congratulations, your journey has just begun! By agreeing to be a franchisee you have begun your first day of a wonderful career that will last you and your loved ones for generations to come. Furthermore your positon as a manger will automatically positively impact the lives of every member within your community who come to your Lounge! Take pride in the positive impact that you are creating each and every day, and let it humble you to know that you did it with your own fortitude and dedication!
What do we at the AJI the Lounge Branch expect of our mangers you might be asking?
Tier 1 Managers Will:
- Maintain the highest levels of professionalism and integrity at all times on and off the clock
- Enable and mentor entry levels employees to become future managers
- Answer any questions that have been brought to your level of leadership
- Make overtures to positively impact the local community by either sponsoring or organizing events that will have a meaningful impact on the local area
- Ensure that the daily revenue numbers are being tracked and handled correctly
- Ensure that all transactions are happening accordingly
- Ensure that blacklisted customers either don’t access the facilities or are working towards removing their blacklisted status
- Open and or close the facilities each day of operation
- Delegate tasks to include financials, or security as needed without rancor or favoritism
- Offer suggestions up the chain of command to improve facilities, the business, transactions or other aspects of the Lounge that would positively impact the company, the employees, or the communities
- Maintain a record of entry level employees’ progression, and performance and offer endorsements or promotion as needed
- Participate in business wide events as needed
- Vote on promotion eligibility and status of entry level employees during yearly promotion dates
- Continue to grow their organization, met quotas, and work their way up through the next level of leadership
- Can either establish their own Lounges with permissive requests from HQ and run them themselves or higher entry Level employees into the position and begin growth of the organization
- Ensure payroll is accurate
- Ensure vacation, sick days, and other leaves of absence are handled accordingly and without negative impact to day to day functions
- Conduct interviews as needed, and as warranted for either Tier 1 or Entry level positions
- Train subordinates in all functions of a manager to ensure competency and to allow personal growth of individuals
- Ensure that all costs are handled within the local org and not from the greater AJI organization
- If financial hardship becomes an issue initiate proper requests for funds. Depending on disparity of management AJI HQ can and will replace Tier 1 managers with other employees to revitalize their locale
- General management procedures or requirements as needed or as specific to the location
Obviously running a business even one as simple as lounge has a lot to it and isn’t simple for just anyone to dive into! Therefore we have training programs and encourage the best business owners to conduct training so that we are maintaining a high level of proficiency and professionalism that is reproducible across all locations! Furthermore as an owner you are in charge of not only making a profitable enterprise but to take care of your people, their families, your patrons, and their communities!
Never lose sight of why you are an owner; if you just want to become wealthy by running a lounge, this is not the company for you! We at the AJI want to make a positive impact in our country and our world, we don’t care about wealth and becoming one of the 1%. We are every single one of us regular Joe’s who have started with nothing, and worked for everything we have today, and want to make that struggle just a little bit less for the next generation! We want to make a meaningful impact in the lives of our patrons and their communities and it is that drives that makes us as an organization successful and respected! Remember our mission statement in all things; together we can and we will make a difference!
Climbing to the top, Tier 2:
So you have been a successful manager for a while now and have started growing your organization and have anywhere from a few to a dozen stores, and are ready to move on up to the next level of leadership! How do you do that, what’s the process, what are the requirements? Well the good news is we do have quotas that can be met, and as with everything in our company they are always merit based! For instance if 90% of Tier 1 owners have met the minimums then the top 10-15% will be eligible for promotion to Tier 2!
Well that’s not fair I met the minimums…why don’t I get my promotion damn it!? The simple answer is because our founder said so, but the better answer is because there isn’t a need to promote everyone to Tier 2, there are only so many people that need to be in charge of a larger area, just as there are only so many CEO’s in any company! So don’t be discouraged as the company keeps growing the need to promote will increase as well and the % of required promotions will always remain the same proportion: 10%.
Well I’ve been a Tier 1 manager for 10 years, I have met all the minimums and even exceeded some of them; I’m only getting 1% from my organization when by rights I should be at 1.5% or even 2%! Again the answer is merit, if you’ve been a Tier 1 for 10 years and you haven’t managed to get promoted then it isn’t something that the higher ups are doing to spite you, it’s your own mediocrity holding you back. Tenure gets you nowhere, knowing someone higher up than you gets you nowhere, only you have what it takes to rise through the ranks, and your lack or inability to do so is a reflection upon yourself, not the company.
The tools are available to you, the networking at your fingertips, and the means to improve are immense, and ever growing! If you feel like you have plateaued, it’s because you have, seek out others within the organization that have reached those higher tiers of leadership and ask them to mentor you! You have hidden and unlocked potential, but only you can unleash it! Don’t squander it by falling into despair, seek out help, and mentorship, maybe you just have been looking at it from the wrong angle and someone else has the insight you need to skyrocket your career! We want you to succeed and move up the ranks, but you have to be willing to put forth the effort in achieving those goals, we can’t do it for you!
The Dreaded Quotas:
- In order to make it to Tier 2 as a minimum all Tier 1 Lounge Owners must:
- Own between 2-4 lounges
- Make a $40,000 monthly profit from each of those lounges
- Be able to open more lounges and grow their organization without borrowing money
- Meet the standards within the Employee Handbook
- Have promoted between 1-3 owners
It’s not difficult to make it to the next level of leadership but it is however difficult to beat out the top 10-15% of the company for the position! Remember this is merit based and unless everyone in the company is simply meeting the minimums then the standards will always be higher than what is listed and that’s a good thing! It challenges you to improve your own business practices, and encourage growth within your organization and the impact it has on the local community! Realistically we will always promote how many tiers are needed so some years it may be far and above 15% and others it may be only 1% it’s the needs of the company first and foremost, merit second!
Tier 2 Expectations:
Well shucks I made it this far I’m still expected to do stuff? Sadly the answer is yes, you’re not getting a bonus and a percentage of your entire organization just to sit on your Loral’s! So the question is why did you go through all of this effort in the first place? What’s the job description and why even bother? Tune in next week on Dragon ball Z to find out! Just kidding.
As a Tier 2 you will be in charge of a larger organization that can typically span a couple cities and about a score of lounges so with that in mind it’s the AOR that changes, and the expectations of managing that many people adequately that becomes your primary concern. You’ll be expected to answer questions, and answer for higher levels of issues and concerns that affect the region not individual franchises. This can often times mean you won’t be able to do your duties as a Tier 1 owner but by now you shouldn’t be on the ground floor on a day to day basis anyway, it just wouldn’t be practical.
That being said you are still expected to make face to face appearances in your organization especially individual locations that may be struggling and require a bit more mentorship to stay functional! Never fear though these should be far and few between since your status as a tier 2 means you yourself are a competent leader, trainer and mentor and should have instilled those same skillsets in your promoting tier 1’s! But how much trouble can 20 stores really get into that it would merit the necessity of having someone in charge of them?
As a Tier 2 your responsibilities will include:
- General upkeep with your own organization
- Moderating disputes or discrepancies within the organization
- Working with the larger community (county, or even state) and making a larger impact
- Improving the standards or procedures within the Lounge and up channeling them to HQ for consideration Branch wide
- Participate in the yearly selection process for promotions of Tier 1’s to Tier 2
- Continue to mentor and grow your organizations
- Ensure all tools and materials are readily available throughout your organization to ensure successful enterprises
- Creating opportunities for owners, and entry level employees to excel or be rewarded for excellence
- Limit personal extravagance and adhering to the “average Joe” mindset. Enjoy your wealth and positon don’t be an asshole about it.
- Engage in mentorship programs or opportunities to help struggling, or even rising Tier 1 owners to better themselves, and their businesses. Also mentor Entry levels as well as they are the future of this company!
- General duties that could be reasonably expected of a functional area manager
This isn’t rocket science, for the most part each individual lounge should run well on its own if you have adequately trained and mentored your owners, but if there’s something that needs to be addressed organization wide…then you’ll be expected to address it! In other words nothing should ever need to be up channeled past you that began at either the Entry or Tier 1 level, but in case it does you’re the first line of defense of getting the right response!
We want you to be the next leader of our organization and we encourage a humble mindset with a champion’s work ethic! The reason why we specifically mention limiting your extravagance is because quite honestly money and power do corrupt, and we want to mitigate this effect as much as possible by making it a termination viable offense. Again and this will continue to be reiterated, we are Average Joe’s, regular American’s who are trying to make a difference for our countrymen, not just the few. If I had wanted to start a company for the express purpose of making a profit, your benefits, and opportunities to promote wouldn’t be nearly this lucrative, so keep that in mind in all things. We are here to grow, and improve our country!
Enough lecturing, you have made it this far you know what’s expected of you and you know what an achievement it is to make this far! Now get off your ass and make it to the next Tier, we need you!
The Rising Star, Tier 3:
Wow you are truly something else; you have built your organization and are ready to take on the World! Ok maybe not the World but being in charge of a county or dozen worth of lounges is a pretty big step up from just the local community or group of cities! That being said you have put in the hard work and dedication to prove your worth to yourself, your peers, and most importantly your employees that you have their best interests at heart and want to move up to make their lives and the lives of your Organization better for everyone!
In order to even be eligible for this you have already grown your organization to a dozen or score of lounges perhaps even more and are ready to take that next step! More importantly your fellow tier 2 think you have what it takes to lead them, there is nothing quite like the feeling when somebody else wants you to lead them because you are such a badass! So I would personally like to congratulate you on this accomplishment and forward my utmost respect for your truly remarkable accomplishments that have lead you to this stage in your AJI career!
Well I’m going to use the same excuses and complaints I had when I was a tier 1 why am I not simply being given Tier 3?! If you have to ask this question you’re clearly not ready for Tier 3 and you will likely be knocked back down to Tier 1 if not outright fired. So keeping with the theme of promoting the best and brightest while maintaining a regular Joe mindset Tier 3 is no different, you must excel as tier 2 while keeping your head! Everything in our business is merit based and nothing will be given to you, it must be earned, but at least you can surpass that crotchety old man in the back office!
- In order to make it to Tier 3 as a minimum all Tier 2 Lounge Owners must:
- Own between 4-20 lounges
- Make a $40,000 monthly profit from each of those lounges for at least 3 months
- Be able to open more lounges and grow their organization without borrowing money
- Meet the standards within the Employee Handbook
- Have promoted between 10-19 owners
Obviously the quotas are rather dry and it’s the Employee handbook requirements that truly set candidates apart, and bear in mind that making a large enough impact can and will catapult you to the position or higher regardless! The bottom line is we want sound leaders with a good business mindset in charge of areas that can span an entire State! But you also need lots of leadership qualities and personal skills so that you can accommodate the most amount of varied individuals that you will encounter. AS Tier 3 you will also be working at a much higher organizational level and will start putting forth ideas and suggestions at a branch level, not to mention dictating how things in your state will operate!
Tier 3 Expectations:
So now you’ve made it this far and put forth the months or years’ worth of energy to make it, now you finally get the big fancy desk, in the office, with the sexy blonde secretary and the gorgeous view of the city! What now? Well I suppose you could retire after a few years and get that pension, or just invest all of your current earnings live off of that for the rest of your life (it’s pretty damn significant am I right?). or you can do the job you just put forth all that effort to receive!
As a tier 3 you will be in charge of a much larger area, and grouping of Lounges, people, and communities. You will start to have a State wide influence or for very densely populated areas, you’ll be in charge of a region. Regardless you are now shaping the lives of hundreds of employees and thousands of citizens! Your decisions and choices that you make can impact the lives of potentially millions, so bare that in mind when you choose a path forward!
You are in one of the best positions within the organization and your capacity to grow and mentor others is higher than ever! Now it’s time to put that to use:
Tier 3’s will be expected to:
- Mentor and train other Tier 2’s within and without their organization
- Organize AOR wide events, or impactful charitable donations to benefit some tangible part of the community
- Maintain a humble mindset and lifestyle, but enjoying the perks of the job as well
- Put forth charitable contributions into orgs, or programs that will make lasting impressions. This means rather than donating to the flavor of the month medical charity, sponsor building roadways, solar initiatives, scholarships, financing hospitals that aren’t already owned/operated by the AJI
- Solve issues relevant to your level and within your AOR
- offer opportunities for your Tier 1’s, 2’s and Entry levels to excel and be recognized at your level
- Make face to face visits within your AOR especially to locations that are falling behind
- Offer services to sister branches within the company for mentorship, or leadership
- Switch to other branches in order to fill positions of leadership or to weigh in on votes, disputes, or discussions about the company at large
- Attend AJI conferences, meetings, or other events that are relevant to the AJI or your branch
- Any other reasonably associated duty for a regional manager position
There are a few expectations that may be a little eyebrow raising to the Tier 3 but rest assured there’s method to the madness. For instance if you get moved laterally to another branch, say the medical branch, you’re not giving up your stake in your organization, nor are you leaving them out to dry. A promising Tier 2 that you select will take over your duties and you will assist the Medical Branch AOR with whatever it is they needed. Since you aren’t likely going to be on the ground floor anyway, your position and status is that of a leader, and a good leader can successfully navigate any reins handed them.
You will also have Tier 2’s within that new org as well as fellow Tier 3’s to help you out during your interim as new guy! The position can also be temporary or permanent depending on the needs of the company and your own preferences. The other good part of being a Tier 3 is that you can willingly move to a different branch at any time so long as theirs a position open and yours can be filled. Again no one is better than the other, and everyone is capable of getting their hands dirty, but a Tier 3’s primary focus is leading a large body of people; you can do that no matter what the actual flavor of the organization is.
The conferences and meetings go without saying; you are now at the big picture level of the company and as such will have valuable insight to share with the rest of your peers and superiors. Even if you don’t have anything to add to the discussion you will receive valuable insight and knowledge about the company or your branch to trickle down to your team! It is encouraged to share as much relevant information with as much of your AOR as possible to maintain consistency within the organization and is part of the purpose of the meetings in the first place! One of the neat things you can do for merit based rewards is bring your top performers in on these conferences so that they can see the big picture!
All in all being a Tier 3 is meant to be a lofty position, with lots of responsibility and impact; because of this the criteria to achieve this promotion are so lofty. However the rewards and the opportunity to truly shape this organization, your AOR, the men and women within that AOR, and the communities you are located in are limited to your own willingness to see it happen! You are the best this company has to offer, and among the greatest leaders in the United States of America! We expect great things from you and will ask great things of you. We also encourage involvement in politics or social movements as well at this level of your career because you are doing the work, and impacting the lives that a state representative, senator, or even Governor would be doing!
We are grooming leaders, period, that isn’t limited to this company but is encouraged at all walks of life. You are a pioneer, and among the best and brightest minds we have nurtured and grown. If your passion is to run for Congress, Senate, Mayor, Governor, or even the President of the United States of America…DO IT! This is your time to shine, you have the financial security to engage in these types of actions, you have the skillset, knowledge, and successful track record to back it up, and most importantly you have maintained you humility, stayed true to your roots, and never really lost what it meant to be an Average Joe. You are the best of us, you are an example to be aspired to by equals, and an inspiration to those following in your wake! Go forth and conquer the world!
The Myth, the Legend, Tier 4:
It’s not quite a joke to say that you becoming, or being eligible to become a Tier 4 is mythical, or legendary. This is the 1% of the 1%, there are none better, you have achieved feats within and without the accompany that have impacted the lives of millions and will leave lasting impressions generations ahead! You’re not a CEO, you’re not some guy in a nice office in a lofty office building in New York, you are the embodiment of the American Dream. You emulate the best qualities this company searches for and nurtures. You have the humility and confidence required to lead others, by leading from the front. Your impacts can not be quantified so simply as to write it in this greeting paragraph. In short, thank you for being exactly whom and what I had hoped you would become when I started this ludicrous endeavor in Lancaster Ohio.
To be perfectly contrite this idea, that to be powerful and influential while maintaining a charitable mindset was a ludicrous notion. This is coming from a time where 90% of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of the top .1% of all earners in America. This is coming from an era when the rich got richer, and the poor got dead. Where suffering and poverty was spreading while opulence was growing out of control and nothing was being done to mitigate it nor to reassert authority within the hands of the people. You are proof that I was right about the American people, about humanity, about the big picture. You are the future I had envisioned for this great nation and I am humbled by your success and ability to make it this far!
There aren’t any financial quotas to meet for this position within the Lounge Branch of the AJI, for the simple reason that you are obviously successful, and keep the best intentions of your people and your communities in mind. I could arbitrarily assert some numerical values to achieve, but this isn’t about how much money you can make the company, it’s about how much of a difference you can make in the lives of your company, and your country!
Typically if you are at this level in your career to where you can even consider rising to this Tier, you’ll have a few score lounges, with an equal amount of promoted owners. The monthly income of each Lounge will be self-sustaining and empowering Tier 1’s to grow their own base. You will have made overtures within and without your AOR that encourages competition, growth, and comradery. Your contributions and agendas within the local communities will have made meaningful and lasting impacts for years to come. In short you’ve done everything that I would expect of a future leader, and to reiterate these things as a “quota” would be an insult to you, your achievements, and this Organization.
Suffice to say this position is 100% merit based, and will be throughout the other branches within the AJI. No amount of business competence, or philanthropy will weigh more than the other, that is a default aspect of anyone eligible for this position, the question is who would lead this country better? Who would I personally want to work with shoulder to shoulder when I walk up to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or to the President of the United States of America in the Oval Office, and tell them exactly what the Average Joe’s Initiative expects of its nations leaders?
We aren’t a business for the sake of making a product or providing a service at a profit. We are an organization of Average, Ordinary, Regular men and women who have decided to say no to the status quo, and took our destiny into our own hands. That is precisely who I want to be on my Tier 4 leadership team. Those are the individuals who will rise to the top, and it is those select few who will change the fate of a nation, of a civilization, of a culture!
Tier 4 Expectations:
I’m pretty sure they have been enumerated by this point but essentially you will be the architects of the company, the giver of tasks, the doer of important things, and you will make a mark in history. This is a multi-billion dollar company that will achieve multi trillion dollar status and beyond, respect that fact, and respect your position of such a vast organization. You will be leading the potential of nations; you will wield the economic might that dwarfs the capabilities of 90% of the world’s economies, you will hold the sword that defends the weak and defenseless and smites the greedy, and the corrupt.
I’m using biblical and astronomical references for a reason, this company has never been about being rich or powerful, it has always been about making a difference and that is the primary concern of everyone within the company but especially at the highest levels of leadership. Success in business is just a small part of leading a nation, or influencing millions of lives, all that running a business proves is that you can maintain a balanced budget at a grand scale; it’s what you do with that wealth that matters!
Becoming, or being a Tier 4 is a step into politics, or philanthropy of the highest order. I fully expect you to become a Senator, a Congressman, a Governor, or the President of the United States of America, perhaps even a Supreme Court Justice. That is what this company is about, nurturing the right kind of leaders and giving them the tools necessary to positively impact their fellow countrymen! Never lose sight of that and you will go further than you could ever dream possible! You have seen this in action your entire career. You have seen people’s lives be changed simply by our pay scale and benefits program, you have seen communities flourish because of our direct contributions, you have seen thousands, millions, or even billions of dollars eliminate poverty, elevate members of the community to a position of authority, and improve the quality of life for cities, counties, and states!
Your existence, your integrity, and unwavering excellence have already left such an enormous impact on the World now it’s time to reach for the stars!