Joe Hart of Dale Carnegie Training

Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training shares what makes the iconic brand tick, how its franchisees unite to support each other, and his vision for the brand.

Listen to the full interview here or download the mp3 version.


Did you know? Joe Hart is one of Franchise Business Review's Top Franchise Leaders of 2017!

Learn more about the Dale Carnegie franchise opportunity at or call 212-836-0764.

What services does Dale Carnegie provide?

We’re a 105-year-old company that was founded by Dale Carnegie and a leader in the professional and personal development space. We provide training to organizations and individuals all over the world, we have 200 operations in more than 80 countries, and train in over 30 languages. A lot of people are familiar with the Dale Carnegie course, our flagship program, which is really around interpersonal skills, communication, leadership, and human relationships. We, however, offer many more programs. We also offer a high impact presentation course, leadership programs, sales programs, and competency-based programs such as negotiations, dealing with difficult people and so forth. We really we are right in the center of interpersonal skills, presentation, and communication.

What is the benefit of having so many service offerings to your franchisees?

The variety of products and services we provide puts our franchisees in a really good situation. They can be consultative with their clients by really understanding what their clients objectives are and putting together the right solution for them.

What is the marketplace for Dale Carnegie’s services?

I see a lot of opportunity. The millennial generation really values training and wants personal improvement as well as professional development. People are trying to accelerate their own growth and their careers. We see companies increasing their training budgets as they look for competitive advantages through their people. So, with a brand like Dale Carnegie, which is really an iconic brand and with a global platform, we can go to companies of various sizes, whether they’re smaller or large global companies with a footprint in many countries. We’ve got a network of products to really support them.

In addition to the array of services Dale Carnegie offers, how does it differentiate itself when it comes to competitors?

In a training space there’s a fairly low barrier to entry rate. Anyone can open up, hang their shingle out and say I’m a trainer. I’m going to do leadership training, coaching or whatever it is. So what differentiates one versus another? Dale Carnegie is an enduring and recognized brand. We’re 105- years-old and we’re known throughout the world. When you think about this entire space, it really started with Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie was the father of the professional and personal development movement and so we carry that legacy moving forward. What we have is something that is proven, some of the greatest leaders in the world have used it. This combined with the iconic brand and global network results in a unique combination that we feel other companies can’t match.

What kind of support do you provide to your franchisees?

We often talk about being in business for yourself but not being in business by yourself. A new franchisee for example, is on boarded via our franchise academy process, which is 10 days of intensive training. The work with all of the disciplines of our business: sales, training, marketing, product, finance, etc. We are working with that franchisee to develop a business plan for their market that’s supported by a field team. Really, we’re looking at a two year period of time of on boarding the franchisee to the point where we feel they can really operate and grow on their own. So within that period of time, there are a lot of things that are happening from a field support stand point, a planning stand point, etc. I would also say one thing that I’m really proud of is that we have a tremendous Franchise Association with whom we closely partner. We talk about One Carnegie being our franchise network, our franchisees and franchisor working together. The international Dale Carnegie Franchise Association also assists in the on boarding of franchisees. There are different types of mentorship programs and benchmarking groups that exist and that franchisees can avail themselves of, there are training programs that come also from the Franchise Association. I just came back last week from a Franchise Summit in Vienna. Some of our franchisees shared best practices with other franchisees we support. There are a lot of things that we are doing to support our franchisees, independently and also cooperatively with the Franchise Association.

Can you elaborate a little bit on how your franchisees work together?

They do so in a variety of ways. For example, one of our franchise operators in Connecticut started gathering other franchisees in Connecticut together for monthly meetings. They talk about all aspects of the business and best practices and how they can improve things, where they should be, and so forth. These types of collaborative efforts happen within our organization in different parts of the world. We  also have Franchise Summits like the one I just mentioned, which one of our most successful franchise operators put together. The purpose of them is to provide a forum for franchisees to share best practices and things that they’ve done. I know that many franchisees help each other.  in fact, if you look at our Franchise Business Review franchisee satisfaction survey, the franchise community was very highly marked as was satisfaction in the business. We have franchisees that work together to go after global business because together they can support a client that has offices in two to 10 or whatever number of countries.

What do you hear Dale Carnegie franchisees saying about their business?

What makes Dale Carnegie different is the powerful experience that we create for people. I have people all the time who will come up to me in different places and tell me how our programs have changed their lives, their companies or whatever the case might be and when our franchisees are a part of that, they’re delivering that experience through our programs. We have a larger mission in the world, we’re not just selling something. We are creating this amazing value and amazing experience.

I’ll just share a story with you, I was in Morocco, North Africa, and I walked in to a hotel and the hotel manager really kind of just came up to me really quickly. He said to me, “I’ve been really looking forward to meeting you. I want to tell you how Dale Carnegie has completely changed things for me and helped me.” He talked about the challenge he was having, he got this huge promotion to be the manager of this major hotel and he was really stressed out. He was taking it out on the other employees and not handling things all that well. His boss had said, “I want you to take a Dale Carnegie course.” He did and what he told me was, “I found something in that program that helped me really just understand my employees better, to be more empathetic, to get more peace for myself.” He started interacting with people in a completely different way, in fact his boss told me that when he went to visit this manager he had taken the door off his office, physically removed the door, because he wanted the employees to know that he was different and had an open door policy.

The entire culture of that hotel’s environment changed because of the manager, one person, going through one of our programs. So when our franchisees are in the business of creating these kinds of experiences, it gives them a very powerful sense of satisfaction through helping others.

What kind of experience do you look for in your franchisees?

Someone with a track record in business who knows how to and is interested in building systems, processes, and people.

Dale Carnegie is quite a diverse organization. Do you do anything to encourage diversity?

We have a globally diverse business comprised of people from every ethnicity, multiple nationalities, languages, colors, faiths, religions, etc. We found that throughout the world, it has created a richness in our business that is really valuable. It’s terrific, it’s dynamic and it provides different perspectives. So in the United States and Canada, certainly we are desirous of having a diverse franchise network, we do offer a discount of our franchise fee to minorities and veterans, 25% off the franchise fee, which is high compared to other franchisors.

Would you share what you typically hear from franchisees regarding their experience with Dale Carnegie?

One thing that I hear consistently hear from our franchisees is the value that they get in being a part of this business. Their attitude is - I can be in business and make a living, I can grow something, and I can feel like what I’m doing is really making a difference in the world. So much of what we focus on in Dale Carnegie is around creating a culture that brings out the best in people.  Being a part of this culture gives our franchisees a sense of meaning, value and purpose. In fact, Dale Carnegie’s self-evaluation score in our Franchise Business Review franchisee satisfaction survey as well as our core value score, franchise community score, and leadership score are all very high, 75-85. A lot of our franchisees really feel like there’s a sense of purpose in what we do and it’s a great way to own a business and grow something.

What your vision is for Dale Carnegie moving forward?

It is a broad one in the sense that we are a 105- year-old company and yet I feel like we are really just starting in the sense that there is a new generation, new technology, and new opportunity. There’s a new chance to impact companies, people and the world in more profound ways. Part of what I see is really being able to leverage those kinds of things to make Dale Carnegie even more relevant to this generation and future generations than it has before. I think of a day where people talk about Dale Carnegie like it’s a verb, like it’s Google. I mean we talk about a Carnegie-way to handle things, a Carnegie-way to interact with people; I’ve had people say they were preparing for a presentation and they totally Dale-d it. Really for me our mantra is around growth, it’s about impact, it’s about foundation. We are laying a strong foundation for the future and really taking Dale Carnegie into the future in a bold way, the way that Dale Carnegie did when he founded this company over 100 years ago.