A Peak Behind the Curtain

I thought I would take an opportunity to share a bit about my past and my journey as it relates to my series on the three main attributes of hungry, humble and smart and how they have shaped my life and career path.  Everyone has a story and I believe in our lives there are a few key moments that define our future that we don’t even realize until we look back at how it all unfolds. 

  • The biggest strength of the three that I have had ever since I was young was hunger.  Even as a little boy when I was young my father was pulling me out of bed by my big toe bright and early every morning.  If it wasn’t for school, it was to help him do yard work or even worse, shoveling snow from our 1/2 mile long driveway by hand.  He taught me from an early age that if I wanted something I had to work and earn it.  My parents were also very humble people so I learned this quality as well from a young age. 
  • After high school I went to culinary school and became a chef.  With hunger driving me, I ended up becoming a chef at the highest rated restaurant in Wisconsin by the time I was 25.  The downside to becoming a chef was the lifestyle.  All of my humbleness and smarts went out the window.  As a chef, I was taught that it was all about the food and the people didn’t matter.  For people that think Hell’s Kitchen is fake, I can say that it is quite normal.  I actually laugh some days when I watch that show and think how easy the people have it on the show.  Kicking, yelling, swearing, throwing plates was a normal night during my training. 
  • Fast forward to my first business opportunity.  My hunger and drive was able to get me an opportunity to be a partner in my first restaurant in Alabama in 2000.  I worked crazy hours, seven days a week to get the store off the ground.  It started off as a huge success and we even opened a second location.  The problem was all I was operating on was hunger and having two locations made it impossible for me to run both at the same time.  I didn’t care at all about the people.  I put zero importance on humble and smart.  Needless to say I had high turnover and terrible guest service.  Even though we had amazing food, the sales eventually dropped and we had to close our doors.  
  • I ended up opening a wholesale Italian Ice business with a partner that had a lot of humble and a lot of smart attributes.  As we would go to trade shows, I learned that every sale that we made may have started with tasting the product but it wasn’t closed until we had built the relationship.  Some sales took over a year to close and that only came by building the relationship with the customer like learning about their children and favorite hobbies. 
  • The next step in my journey was having children.  If you ever want to find a sure way to humble yourself, have children.  I quickly learned that I needed to use my humble and smart qualities to even stand a chance at being a parent.  Parenting, like leadership, is about influence more than it is about the power of your position.  If you have influence your children will do what is right because it is right, not just because you said so.  Having a family and mouths to feed increased my hunger once again so I decided to take a leap back into the restaurant business. 
  • Then I got involved with Culver’s.  As I went through my training process, I was impressed with a very unique feel that every Culver’s has right when you walk in.  I couldn’t really put my finger on it at first but the more I would talk to people within Culver’s, it was clear that the focus was on the people.  As I learned the hard way in Alabama you cannot lead people with hunger alone.  I watched Craig Culver and was amazed how he seemed to know everyone and treat everyone like they were family.  From a day one team member all the way up to a vice president in the company, to him they were all equally important.  This led me to learn as much as I could about servant leadership.  I joined an audio book club and started to listen to as many leadership books as I could when I was in the car.  I credit this time in my life as how I was able to really round out all three of these qualities. 
  • I then formed a great partnership with Brian who was an experienced Culver’s operator and together we opened my first Culver’s in Chandler, AZ.  I made a promise to myself when I opened the doors that I was going to do everything I could to put the people first.  Treat both the guests and the team members alike.  I was committed to a top line approach to business where I would make my decisions based on how they would impact our sales and guest retention.  We even started a policy in our store where it takes two people to say no to a guest but only one to say yes.  The small cost that some decisions carry can have a 10X impact on long term sales and eventual profitability.  The easiest way to increase the bottom line is to increase the top line. 
  • To sum it all up, I would say that my hunger can get me an opportunity and drive me through any obstacles to achieve the desired outcome.  My smarts help put me in a position where I was able to meet the right people and form the right partnership to help me succeed in the Culver’s model.  Over the past year I have really focused on improving my humble qualities and I can say that I have never been happier.  I feel that as I have been able to shape and improve all three of the qualities my success has blossomed.  I am not by any means close to perfect but every day I wake up with the goal to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday.  I have learned to only compare myself to myself. 
  • After reading this series of posts, ask yourself what area is holding you back from achieving your goals and dreams.  When someone really focuses on all three of these qualities, they become unstoppable. 

Dealing with Guest Issues (H.E.A.R.T)

Over the past few weeks we have had a few guest issues surface so I wanted to take a minute and review the H.E.A.R.T method that we use at Culver’s to make sure that every guest leaves happy.  In dealing with guests we need to remember one main thing, the guest may not always be right but our reaction to the guest MUST be right every time.  Below is the 5 step method that we follow at Culver’s.  Even before we use this method we must have the right attitude and frame of mind.  For our company to be successful we need to have loyal raving fans.  We are lucky, Culver’s is a passion brand.  As a passion brand it is even more imperative that we do everything we can to help make sure that everyone does indeed leave happy. 

  • Hear – The first step is to hear what the guest is saying. Maintain open and relaxed body language and establish good eye contact as the guest is talking. Actively listen to the guest in a way that lets them know you understand their situation by using appropriate facial expressions and head nods. Be attentive without interruption, listen to the facts. Be sure to allow the guest to finish speaking before you respond.  Do not interrupt.   
  • Empathize – After the guest is finished speaking, you have the chance to diffuse the situation by showing you understand their feelings. A good way to do this is to paraphrase what you heard the guest say. For example, “I understand you’re disappointed, your order took longer than expected.” Acknowledging their feelings prevents you from getting drawn into an argument. Don’t fight. Make it right!
  • Apologize – The next step is to apologize. Most guests tend to relax immediately once they’ve received a sincere apology. Becoming defensive, making excuses or blaming another team member for the mistake won’t help. Guests don’t really care whose fault it is, they simply want their concern resolved. The power of a sincere apology can earn their forgiveness.
  • React / Resolve – Think about what you can do to make it right. Take the discussion from negative to positive by asking the guest to identify a possible solution. You could say something like, “We want you to be completely satisfied. What can I do to fix this for you?” Or consider offering a solution you feel would be appropriate. For example, “Let me have this remade for you.” Guests don’t expect us to be perfect. They do, however, expect us to make it right.
  • Thank the Guest – Most guests are truly uncomfortable sharing a concern, which can make their behavior seem defensive or even confrontational. That’s why the last step should always be to sincerely thank the guest for bringing the concern to our attention. It shows we truly care. You could say something like, “Thank you for your patience and allowing me to make it right.”  Remind the guest that our goal is that every guest leaves happy and thank them for the giving us the chance to still make this happen.   
  • We need to take guest comments seriously but not personally.  One tip I have learned when dealing with a very difficult guest is to smile and say to yourself “I like you” if you feel yourself getting frustrated or annoyed.  The simple question of “what can I do to make it right” goes a long way.  We have seen many times in the past where a guest that had an issue can actually become a more loyal guest than others.  How do we make the guest feel when they leave?  If they leave upset or frustrated we have failed in our mission.  I always like to feel like we are one up on the guest when they leave.  I never want the guest to feel that we are even or worse that we still owe them something.  Even after fixing an issue I will often times throw in a little extra like a free desert or a certificate to use on their next visit.  If the guest can leave happy and feeling like we went above and beyond they will be back.  We need to remember that the lifetime value of the guest is worth far more than what it will cost us to make the situation right. 

Time To Look In The Mirror

To follow up on my series about the “right stuff,” I have created a self assessment that focuses on the three major areas that can help you succeed and become a better team member.  Please rate your self as “Usually”, “At Times” or “Rarely” in each of the following areas for your work.

  • Hungry:
    • 1. On time / early for every shift
    • 2. Call out once or less every 6 months
    • 3. Do more than what is asked during your shift
    • 4. Cover others’ shifts, come in early, stay late when needed 
    • 5. Follow policies and procedures
    • 6. Ask to learn more, move up, cross train
    • 7. In position, ready to work at all times
    • 8. Want to work when busy, do not complain about # of hours
    • 9. Do you want to be here?  Passion / Fire inside
    • 10. Willing to work on holidays and special occasions
  • Humble:
    • 1. Compliment and praise others
    • 2. Serve others, jump in and help others out
    • 3. Happy to make it right for someone (with a smile)
    • 4. Admit you are wrong  (be accountable)
    • 5. Share credit with others  (use “we” more than “I”)
    • 6. Treat everyone the same (team members and guests)
      • (People above and below you in the company)
    • 7. Never say “It’s not my job”
    • 8. Grateful, not hateful (never complain)
    • 9. Kind, positive and nice to others
    • 10. Put others success before your own
  • Smart:
    • 1. Able to get along with everyone
    • 2. Do not get annoyed by others
    • 3. Change leadership style in certain situations
    • 4. Empathetic to others and their situation
    • 5. Get to know others on a personal level
    • 6. Good listener, ask follow up questions
    • 7. Do not quit or walk away when upset
    • 8. Listens to other points of view and discuss
    • 9. Defuse tense situations, do not escalate
    • 10. Do not gossip / spread rumors
  • Scoring:  Go ahead and score each area separately.  Give yourself 2 points for every “Usually”, 1 point for every “At Times” and 0 points for any “Rarely” answers.  Look at which area is your lowest and focus on those habits first.  If you really want to improve ask someone that you know to rate you as well in these areas.  Sometimes we are blind to what some of our own opportunities are because we live with them every day.  The key to this assessment is not to compare yourself to others but to use it to simply impact your own situation.  Pick one area to focus on and in 6 months take the assessment again and see how you did.  The only person to compare yourself to is yourself! 

The Right Stuff (part 3) “Smart”

This is part 3 of my current series where I am taking a closer look at each of the attributes outlined three weeks ago that make up an ideal team player: humble, hungry and smart.  Last week we took a deeper dive into “hungry” and how to spot that quality in our company.   

  • The third virtue or quality to discuss is smart.  Smart does not refer to book smart; it refers to people smart.  In business this is also known as someone’s EQ or emotional intelligence.  Smart refers to how well people get along with others.  Does this person have conflict with others or can they work in any situation?  You don’t have to get along with everyone that you work with, but you must be able to unite for the common goal / mission to get the job done.  Smart people are able to get the best out of other team members.  Smart people learn not to take comments that others make personally.  They can adapt to others and spin most interactions into a positive interaction. 
  • One habit that creates enormous impact is to have a genuine interest in others.  People don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care.  Leadership is about influence, not about position.  If you can build real relationships with those around you, your influence elevates.  This is true both for our guests as well as our team members.  If you build a relationship with a guest, they will give you the benefit of the doubt if something is amiss during a visit.  With no relationship, they will most likely take it personally and never return.  The same is true with a team member.  If all you have is power or position over a team member, they will not listen to what you say once you leave the room.  If you have influence, they will follow your directions even when you are not in the building.  I feel that one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a manager is if you do not treat your team members as good as your guests. 
  • Along these lines is the idea of empathy.  A smart person can demonstrate empathy by understanding how and why someone is feeling a certain way.  They can talk to that person and show that they really care about that person.  They can alter their leadership style at certain times based on the temperature of the people in the room.  A manager that can only lead one way cannot connect with everyone.  A smart person understands how to really communicate with everyone.  People that lack empathy get annoyed by others and don’t try to take the time to understand and learn why someone is acting a certain way.    
  • One of the best ways to improve your empathy skills is to become a better listener.  One of the best ways to become a better listener is to ask follow up questions that dig a little deeper into the subject.  This helps others feel that you really do care and that you are interested in what they have to say.  People’s favorite subject is themselves.  Try not to cut people off when they are talking.  Don’t spend all of your time figuring out what you are going to say next.  Don’t try to one up them by talking about your life.  One of the easiest ways to do this is simply say “tell me more” about ____.     
  • Smart people are also very good communicators.  Along the line of communication comes coaching and giving feedback.  Smart people can coach and give feedback in a way that is not resentful.  Having influence and making sure that others know that you care about them helps feedback become helpful to others, not hurtful.  I wanted to touch on the 5 to 1 rule one more time.  I think that this is key to keeping any relationship in positive territory.  For every one time you need to coach or give negative feedback, you need to make sure that you praise or give positive feedback at least 5 times to that person.  Over the past few months since I have learned about this technique I find myself looking for positives on a regular basis.  Think about relationships in your life.  Which ones make you feel good about yourself?  The ones with positive interactions always make me feel like a better person. 
  • The final tip to help spot a smart person is to ask yourself the question.  Would you want to work for this person?  Most smart people come across to others as a type of person that they like and that they would want to work for someday.  This is a new question that we have added to our 2nd interview process.  This is a question that I ask myself when I look at our general managers and potential mentor candidates.   
  • I hope that it has been worth your time reading about these three qualities over the past few weeks.  As hiring, training and retaining is one of our key priorities I felt it was important to dig a little deeper on this subject.  I think that there is some real magic to this formula as it relates to building a better team.  

The Right Stuff (part 2) “Hungry”

This is part 2 of my current series where I am taking a closer look at each of the attributes outlined two weeks ago that make up an ideal team player: humble, hungry and smart.  Last week we took a deeper dive into “humble” and how to spot that quality in our company.   

  • The second virtue or quality to discuss is hungry.  Hungry tends to be one of the easier qualities to spot in our current team members.  Do they show up on time or a little early for their shift?  Are they dependable and hardy ever call out?  When you call them in to cover a shift or ask them to stay late, do they say yes?  When they are working are they always in their station or are they wandering in the back, getting a drink or hanging out in the office?  Do they help others and jump in before someone else asks them to do so?  Have they gone through our certification process and are always pushing to learn more? 
  • One quality I see in people that are hungry that may not be obvious is that they are willing to do the little things needed every shift to succeed.  They follow procedures and do things how they are supposed to be done, they don’t take shortcuts or say that something is good enough.  Doing it the right way actually drives this type of person to keep doing more. 
  • Can you feel and see the passion or vision in someone?  If someone is hungry, they will have a fire and passion that you can feel and hear when you talk to them.  Tony Robbins credited the poem “The Will To Win,” in shaping his hunger and drive at an early age.  The one interesting thing I have come to learn about hungry is that it seems almost impossible to teach.  It seems that the hunger gene is learned in each of us at a very young age.  One of my biggest disappointments as a leader is when I see unlimited potential in someone but knowing that without the hunger, they may never be able to reach their potential. 
  • As mentioned before, a person needs to have all three of these qualities to really succeed long term.  Someone who is only hungry without being humble or smart is simply a bull in a china shop.  People that only have hunger often lack a vision or long term purpose that keeps them charging in the right direction.  The book Rhinoceros Success is one of the few books out there than can potentially help bring out the hunger in someone. 
  • Being hungry means that a person is willing to make a sacrifice to achieve something.  When interviewing try to spot a time of real, yet joyful sacrifice.  They shouldn’t be resentful for what they had to do to achieve it, they should be proud and grateful for the experience.  One of the words that bothers me in an interview is when someone starts talking about balance.  To me the work life balance myth was created by people that were left unfulfilled with their career choice.  I look at my life and realize that there are seasons of your life when more energy goes into certain areas.  What you are working to achieve should be part of your life and part of who you are.  Back to the Tony Robbins poem, having a real hunger consumes you. 
  • At Culver’s we have a process called the mentor program where a manager can work their way all the up to becoming a part owner of a restaurant.  I am consistently amazed how few of our team members will even ask me about the path or the process.  Many current Culver’s owners have gone from team member to manager to mentee to partner and then even onto being a mentor themselves.  For someone with all three of these qualities Culver’s is living proof that the American Dream is alive and well. 

The Right Stuff? (part 1)

I wanted to take the outline from last week and go a little deeper.  I am planning a three part series to take a closer look at each of the attributes outlined last week that make up an ideal team player: humble, hungry and smart.  As outlined last week we should be on the look out for people that have all three of these qualities when it comes to new hires as well as those we are considering for promotions.  My goal is to look at these qualities in the lens of our stores and our daily activities. 

  • The first virtue or quality I want to look at is humble.  What does humble look like at Culver’s?
  • Our number one core value at the scoops group is to Serve.  The two key points to this are to create loyal, raving fans and to put others first.  As I have mentioned in the past, a loyal, raving fan should include our team members as well.  Humble people serve others.  Humble people put the results of others and the common good before themselves.  One of our scoops beliefs is that our guest is anyone who is not me.  How do you treat the people that are below you in the company?  The people that are humble treat everyone the same.  The people you need to watch out for in an organization are those the “kiss up” to those above them and then “kick down” to those beneath them in the company.  The saying “It’s not my job,” should never be spoken at Culver’s.  If we have a team member that says that, we need to call them out immediately.  As managers and leaders we also need to remember that there are times where we will need to work “shoulder to shoulder” with our team and perform any task that is required.  One thing that sets the great companies apart from the good ones are the details.  Humble people consistently do the little things needed to make that difference.     
  • Humble people are givers, not takers.  Humble people are grateful, not hateful.  Humble people share the credit for a job well done and praise others.  Humble people are also accountable and most of the time even take more than their fair share of the blame.  Humble people act this way because they are confident.  Don’t mistake humble for weak.  Humble is anything but weak.  True strength in humbleness is knowing a strength that you have and not flexing it.  People that are weak will often times pretend to be strong and try to flex a strength that they don’t really possess.   Along these lines is the thought that humble people are kind.  The real power of kindness is hard to measure and in certain situations unstoppable.  Humble people may not always feel kindness in their heart but they act kind anyways.  How times during any given day can we choose to be kind instead of an alternative reaction. 
  • How to identify humble?
  • 1. Compliment or praise others on the team. 
  • 2. They readily can admit their mistakes and be accountable.
  • 3. They share the credit for a job well done.
  • 4. They can acknowledge their weaknesses. 
  • 5. They help others and take on lower jobs at times.
  • 6. They “know” others on the team, they know about the person and treat everyone the same. 
  • 7. They use “we” more than “I” when they talk.
  • 8. They are interested in the success of others on the team.  They are a cheerleader.
  • 9. They are positive and kind even when they may not feel it. 
  • 10. They put others before themselves. 
  • Challenge for the week.  Rate those people on you team based on the above 10 items as to how humble each on is.  Next week we will explore “hungry” in greater detail. 

The Perfect Team Member

I thought I would start out today’s post with a flawed title right from the start.  Everyone always wants to hire, train and retain the perfect team member.  Over the past month I have started to shift my focus from perfection to optimal.  I think that always expecting perfection is one of my down falls as a leader.  It is good to have high standards and look for all of our systems and procedures to be followed but expecting it to be perfect all of the time only leads to frustration.  Given the situation I have been refocusing to look at what is the optimal outcome.  Given the team member and the situation what could the best result be?  Keeping in mind that, we also need to teach and coach team members how to reach the next stage of “optimal” along the way.  The same situation will have different outcomes based on which team member is involved.  We should know what ideal is and then see how close optimal can get us. 

  • The first step in having great team members is to hire better.  The one simple hiring tip that has helped me tremendously over the past year has been learning about confirmation bias.  If we go into an interview hoping to hire someone or hoping they will be a good fit, our mind will pick out any little comment and tell us that would make them a good fit for our team.  You have to go into each interview with the mindset that you do not want to hire someone.  This will train your mind to pick up on subtle clues that will put up a red flag and give you a reason why not to hire someone.  As always, if it isn’t a hell yes, then it should be a no. 
  • Be it the interview process or even current team members looking to move forward in our company, there are 3 keys qualities that are outlined in the book “The Ideal Team Player” written by Patrick Lencioni that I think are key to creating a great team culture.
  • #1: Hungry.  Hungry is a quality that cannot be taught.  People either have it or they don’t.  When you talk to someone, you should be able to see the fire in their eyes and their desire to achieve something.  How many times have we said that someone could be a great team member if they could only have the drive to achieve at a high level every day.  We keep waiting for them to “grow up” or “take it seriously” but they never do.  I know that I have spent a lot time and effort over the years hoping that something would click in certain people but over and over again, it just doesn’t.  Hungry people can act without being asked. 
  • #2: Humble.  Humble is more about putting others first.  When they work are they helping others out and always looking for a way to jump in and help.  Humble people are not above doing the little things needed to get the job done.  Humble people never say, “it isn’t my job.”  Humble does not mean weak; humble people are still confident and direct.  Humble people can coach others without causing a feeling of resentment or an “I told you so” attitude.  A humble people is willing to be accountable and ask others for feedback to get better.   
  • #3: Smart.  Smart does not refer to book smart, it refers to people smart.  In business this is also known as someone’s EQ or emotional intelligence.  Smart refers to how well they get along with others.  Does this person have conflict with others or can they work in any situation?  You don’t have to get along with everyone that you work with, but you must be able to unite for the common goal / mission to get the job done.  Smart people are able to get the best out of other team members. 
  • The author talks about how the Ideal Team Player should have all 3 of these qualities.  His belief is that the only one that we can teach or develop is humble.  If you find someone with the other two qualities, you can usually help them become more humble with one on one coaching in certain situations.  For myself this has been an area of focus over the past year.  One of my big weaknesses is that I have a tendency to cut others off and not let them finish their thoughts.  I have tried to become more conscious of this and taking even 1 step further I have been trying to make a point of asking a follow up question to help validate the other person’s statement as well. 
  • As I was listening to an interview with Dave Ramsey the other day, he said that you shouldn’t have anyone working on your team that you wouldn’t hire again.  He said that the first time he heard this quote he went and let someone go the very next day.  He didn’t even have an exact reason but he knew that he wouldn’t rehire that team member.  Not saying that we should all go and let our team members go tomorrow but we should be on the look out for people that we know are not a good fit.  We need to spend some extra time coaching these team members and making our expectations clear.  If we can repeatedly make our expectations clear eventually someone will either get better or leave as they get tired of being told the same thing over and over again. 
  • This is another good opportunity for a life raft exercise.  List every team member and manager and rate them in the above three areas: hungry, humble and smart.  Where do they land?  Have you identified someone that we need to coach up or have we found a diamond in the rough that has a ton of potential?  This is a very interesting lens through which we can view both our team and ourselves.   

Leadership Qualities That I Value

As we are talking about leadership over the past few weeks, I thought I should share what I feel are my top 10 leadership qualities that I look for in people as they move up in our organization.

  • 1.  You are always learning or teaching, every day!  One of the most important duties of every leader in the building is to always be learning or teaching.  It is a good habit if you journal to write down 1 thing that you either learned or taught someone today. 
  • 2.  Building others up.  The goal for you to move up is to build your replacement.  Whenever someone asks me how they move up in our organization, the first thing we tell them is to build their replacement.  Take the time and help someone else achieve their goals at the same time.
  • 3.  Not making excuses and blaming everyone else, be accountable.  I like to tell everyone that our company coat of arms should NOT point at each other.  One leadership trait that sets great leaders apart is that they take responsibility for failure to achieve the desired results.  The other part to this is when you point out a problem make sure you offer a solution.     
  • 4.  Working up, not down.  This is one of the things that frustrates me the most, when I see our top leaders working down during the day.  It is great to work side by side with the team but we need to make sure that we are not enabling others to work less.  Whenever I consider someone for a promotion I ask myself if I find myself and others working down in their company or if they are working up towards us in their current position.  We have to avoid letting other people set our agenda, we need to be intentional with our time.  We need to teach others how to treat us.  We have set clear expectations at every level.  If you feel like you have to be superman or superwoman every time you are at work you are not delegating well enough. 
  • 5.  Be grateful, not hateful.  Say “Get To” not “Have To”.  These are 2 statements that I have talked about in previous blogs but I feel are one of the keys to success.  Every morning when I wake up I write in my journal one thing that I am grateful for in my life.  It helps you get your mind right.  At the end of the night I write down in my journal the people that I praised or thanked throughout the day. 
  • 6.  Don’t have a self limiting mindset.  What we feed our mind is what we tend to believe.  What we start to believe leads towards the actions that we take.  Never let others tell you what is possible or not.  Have a vision and develop a path to get there. 
  • 7.  Pay attention to the details, have a 360 degree view.  Achieving results are a large part of your success in our organization.  The details and having a 360 degree view is the best way to meet our financial benchmarks.  Paying attention to the little things every day is what turns a good company into a great company. 
  • 8.  If you see it, say it.  This is along the same lines as coaching everyday but this goes one step further to include feedback as well.  It is important for us say what we see many times during the day.  This goes for the good as well as the opportunities.  If you want a behavior repeated, the best way is to mention that behavior out loud.  When coaching something that is incorrect, coach it and tell the person how it should be done, not what they did wrong. 
  • 9.  Serve others and build relationships.  Being a part of Culver’s means that you will need to be able to connect with others.  Take every chance you get to interact with either a guest or a team member and work on building that relationship and creating loyal, raving fans.  Take any extra time you may have and start a conversation with someone.  
  • 10.  OTED.  Choose “One Thing Every Day” to do you move yourself forward both personally and professionally.  The best person to compare yourself to is yourself yesterday.  If you are better today than you were yesterday, you win.  I write down one item every day that I will do no matter what to be better in both of those areas of my life. 
  • I feel that following these 10 steps of leadership will help us reach our goal that everyone who chooses Culver’s leaves happy!  I believe that the above 10 items help us walk the thin line between leader and manager to produce leadership.  One last bonus tip, if you can give 100% when it doesn’t matter, you will automatically give 100% when it does. 
  • Please share a leadership attribute that you feel is key to success. 

Do You Bleed Blue?

  • At our monthly manager roundtable this month we talked about living our core values every day in our business.  When people are really committed to Culver’s, we have the saying that we bleed blue.  To others, they sometimes sarcastically say that we are drinking the Kool-Aid.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone at work had the mindset of bleeding blue?  The real question is how do we get others to bleed blue?   
  • We need to live our Culver’s values every shift.  Every decision we make should come back to whether or not it aligns with our core values.  If we know what we stand for, all of our decisions should be easy to make.  When we make a decision at work we should run it through the filter of our values. 
  • In our stores we have what are called “Scoop Cards” and they represent our 5 core company values.  Each card represents a specific value.  When someone catches someone else demonstrating a core value they can hand the person a personalized scoop card.  It is a great way to reinforce our values and tie them directly back to a specific action.  Below I will recap our five main SERVE core values. 
  • Serve:
    • #1 Reason we are here is to serve each other.
    • Our goal is to create loyal, raving fans of Culver’s.
    • Create a “WOW” experience, exceed their expectations.
  • Empowerment:
    • Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
    • It takes two people to say “no”, but only one person to say “yes” to a guest.
    • Choose a positive attitude every day.
  • Renowned Cleanliness:
    • Our company should set the standard for all Culver’s. 
    • Eating is one of the most personal things we do.
    • It is our responsibility to keep everyone safe.
  • 360 Degree View:
    • Past – Learn from each others’ mistakes.
    • Present – Be present and engaged every day!
    • Future – How will this action affect our future?
    • Remember that everyone is a leader, someone is always watching.
  • Earn
    • Respect & Dignity.
    • Feeling of teamwork, helping each other succeed.
    • Job security and advancement in our company. 
  • As we look at all of our actions and our decisions, ask ourselves if they fit into one of these above core values.  The more we can live by these values every shift, the more team members and guests we can get to “bleed blue”.   Use your pre shift meetings to review our core values and challenge team members to live out a certain one during the shift. 

Mothers and Fathers

The other day was mother’s day and as I was doing my three minutes of gratitude in the morning I was reminded how lucky I was to have a loving childhood with both a mother and father that were a great role model to me.  As I now have children of my own, I find myself trying to live up to their great examples.  I try to be a real model everyday and live out my life how I want my children to live out their lives as they grow older and have children.   

  • As we work with so many young people in the restaurant we need to remember that all of our team members and fellow managers come from a unique background and childhood.  We talk about creating a relationship with our guests and team members and sometimes we may forget that this may be the most stable relationship that some of them may have.  We spend more waking hours with our coworkers at times than we do with our families.  This is why it is so important that we treat each other as a family and that we are there to help and listen to each other when problems arise.  Here are some simple tactics that can help us become better role models / real models as authority figures for our team members.
  • 1.  See the personal side.  We need to treat team members as people and remember that they all have a personal side.  Get to know little things about each other.  One of the best ways to learn something about someone is the ask the 2nd question.  After you ask the initial question and hear the answer, ask a second question that digs a little deeper. 
  • 2.  Listen.  It is often said the listening is one of the greatest strengths that leaders need to possess.   Asking that second question is also a great way to let others know that you are listening.  Listening is also a way we can comfort team members if they are having a tough time outside of work.  Sometimes it helps just having someone listen.
  • 3.  Constant Feedback.  Feedback both positive and constructive is important so team members know how they are doing and what you are looking for.  Try to remember the 5/1 ratio.  For every 1 time we coach someone or give constructive feedback we need to give that person positive feedback 5 times to maintain a healthy balance. 
  • 4.  Brag in front of others.  One of the best ways to build a great relationship with others is to give them positive feedback and brag on them a bit in front of others.  It not only make the team member feel good, it lets others know what excellent performance looks like. 
  • 5.  Accept each others differences.  Don’t judge others.  Just because someone may be different doesn’t give any of us the right to judge others or put them down.  At the end of the day people may forget what you do and forget what you say but they always remember how you make them feel.   
  • One last thing to remember about managing others is that it really boils down to influence more so than governing.  We can govern when it may come to policies and rules but when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of our team members it comes back to influence.