Archive for March, 2013

MEET KAREN FORRESTER

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Well into the process of writing my book, I recieved a phone call. The caller introduced herself as the Managing Director of Friday’s UK. She wanted to meet me and learn more about Friday’s founding principles. We first met in San Francisco. Prior to her arrival I did my homework and learned of her phenomenal success. Our discussions then and since have revealed a deep connection and mutual conviction of principle. The amazing thing for this ‘old dog’ is I have learned from her! We continue to have regular contact and enjoy a great friendship. The purpose of my book was to teach the founding principles of  Friday’s and show their timeless relevance. Her performance has proven the point and given the book a happy endding! Thank you, Karen

WHY – CONTINUED

imageimageimageimageimageimageUniversally among those successful icons I have studied, money has not been their WHY. In fact they felt money as a WHY was undesirable. In life and business if your WHY is your passion you will never tire of it and the money will come. Another common denominator, among them, is the standard of excellence. Steve jobs went beyond excellence, if that is possible. If he had been a cabinet maker, he said, the back facing wall would have been finished to the same standard as that facing out. I cannot over state the benefits of excellence as a standard. First, it eliminates most of the competition but most importantly it fuels, excites and drives the entire organization. The pursuit of excellence is hard work but FUN! Make excellence the standard of your WHY!

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WHY?

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Karen Forrester, Managing Director of Friday’s UK and member of the executive committee of Carlson Restaurants, posed and interesting question during one of our recent discussions. Our discussions are always stimulating and I always leave having learned something new. The question: WHY? Most of us personally and in our businesses know WHAT we are doing and HOW we are doing it. In the broadest and deepest sense however do we know WHY? There is an interesting book by Simon Sinek, START WITH WHY on this topic you might find of interest. I have found it a very helpful question to address and I agree with the author about the importance of its answer as an important part of our foundations both personally and in business. I add some additional caveats and give my Friday’s answer in my book but while you (anxiously) wait try answering the question. The exercise is quite revealing!

 

EXCELLENCE ADDICT

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I admit it, I am an EXCELLENCE addict. I admire it in all it’s forms: sports, business and products of every kind. I could spend hours explaining all the reasons why I admire the various forms of excellence  but for the moment, I will stick to the world of business. I found EXCELLENCE in business was just plain more FUN!  Striving for it generates an energy and excitement that  fuels the organization and carries a contagion that infects customer and employees alike. It creates an unparalleled level of success.  Pride in product and performance to a standard of excellence is more than worth the effort.

Today, as I reconnect with former associates, who shared the experience of EXCELLENCE in Friday’s early days, I see it in their eyes when they tell me how it changed their lives. In addition to interviewing former associates, I am collecting customer quotes and get the same passion when they talk about what we shared.

Leadership is about setting the core values, standards and goals for an organization. I have done extensive research while writing my book. I have conducted  numerous interviews.  I have had years of  business experience. However, it’s hard to express my astonishment at one CEO’s comment to a consultant he had hired. He looked at the  product being developed and said, “DOES IT REALLY HAVE TO BE THAT GOOD?”

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VISION – Looking past the small stuff,

imageimageimageimageimageLook at the road not the bugs on your windshield. I love this metaphor, its so graphic. We have all focused on the bugs on a dirty windshield  and lost sight of the road. The same is true in life. When we are consumed with the small stuff of day to day  living we lose our vision of the  Future.

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PRINCIPLES & PERFORMANCE

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I love flying, sailing and business. I know business seems out of place with the first two but done right it is as exciting. The common denominator is, each has a proven set of principles and requires results. The difference is in the first two you must  understand the principles and perform to them to survive. Upside down performing a stunt or in the middle of an ocean in a storm, explaining WHY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN  is pretty useless! In business however a polished explanation of  ‘WHY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN’  can allow survival and even personal success!

We have all watched politicians and CEO’s have prosperous careers, never producing the needed results but skillfully explaining ‘WHY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!’ I address this in my book. While you excitedly wait for it, measure the leaders effecting your life by their results not their words.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ADVERTISING?

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What do you do with advertising, you can’t eat it put in your tank or wear it. Regardless of what it claims, it dosen’t make products better but it tries to make us think so. It costs a TON of money. Occassionally it informs but most of the time it’s hype or an offer of a lower price for a product that isn’t even worth the discounted price.

I chose to invest 100% of the advertising budget in a better product and the people and systems it took to make it. WORD OF MOUTH took care of the rest. Have I mentioned we were the ‘HIGHEST VOLUME PER UNIT’ restaurant chain in the world. With zero advertising!

It is harder to run a business to a standard of excellence but it is worth it! Pride, morale and energy are manufactured by performing to such a standard. All the things management tries to artificially create are a natural by-products. The big deal is it’s more FUN! 

We talk about the ‘how’  in my book……coming soon!

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MULTI-UNIT EXCELLENCE?

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Why does ‘chain anything’ have a bad connotation or at least represent mediocrity?  I believe the measure of anything is the RESULT. When confronted with the ‘RESULT’  many chain executives choose to compromise quality and reduce the degree of difficulity rather than confront the management required to maintain EXCELLENCE. 

Sorry, but marketing does not change or even mask the RESULT. The RESULT of this ‘CHAIN’ of events is mediocrity. I address this in my upcoming book. Friday’s was an institution not a chain by using management tools aimed at an UNCOMPROMISING standard of EXCELLENCE! Another shameless BOOK plug!

Trying to compromise EXCELLENCE is like trying to let a little air out of a balloon with at hat pin!”  – Daniel. R. Scoggin

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Come on give it a TRY! MAKE A RIPPLE!

imageimageimageimageMAKE A RIPPLE TODAY!  YESTERDAY I WAS GETTING A BLOOD TEST FOR MY ANNUAL PHYSICAL. WHILE WAITING I WATCHED AN ELDERLY MAN MAKE A RIPPLE. HE WAS USING A CANE AND WELL KNOWN TO THE PHLEBOTOMIST BECAUSE OF HIS HEALTH PROBLEMS. STILL HE WAS A HAPPY MAN. HE TALKED TO EVERYONE IN THE WAITING AREA. HE RECOGNIZED A MAN HE HAD NOT SEEN IN TWENTY YEARS. DURING THEIR CONVERSATION I LEARNED THEY HAD BOTH BEEN TEACHERS AND RETIRED FROM THE SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT. THE CONVERSATION ALSO REVEALED THE HAPPY MAN’S WIFE,  A RETIRED TEACHER WAS SUFFERING FROM BONE CANCER. THE BOTTOM LINE MR. HAPPY, PROVIDED INSPIRATION AND A SMILE FOR EVERYONE IN THE WAITING AREA INCLUDING ME. HE OBSERVED HE HAD, HAD A GOOD RETIREMENT. HE IS 80 AND HIS FELLOW TEACHER WAS 84……I WAS THE KID IN THE ROOM! WHAT A GREAT RIPPLE HE LEFT!

I left determined to make a RIPPLE myself! My next stop was to get a haircut. I had a very fun conversation with the young lady cutting my hair. I put a smile on her face. When I paid I gave her a rather large tip and said that was prepayment for putting a smile on each of her customers face before they left. I explained it would make her happy, surely get her more tips but most importantly, those customers would leave and put a smile on the face of others. THE RIPPLE EFFECT! GIVE IT A TRY!

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SMILE – MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

 

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I just had my physical with Dr. Gini, my new GP, well I say ‘new’ it’s our second date ( a male joke). He is always happy and shows it! I finally asked him why? He told a story, similar to ones we have all heard many times of having a bad day and letting a lot of little things make it a grumpy day. Then he saw a mother and quite young daughter laughing and having the greatest of times. What was different about this picture was the little girl had lost both legs just below the knees and was confined to a wheel chair. He decided to change his attitude and did!

While this is a story like many others you have heard the difference is Dr. Gini changed because he realized the triviality of his grump. Now even though you could put this blog in your mental trash and say I have heard stuff like this before….boring!  Do yourself a favor and quit sweating the small stuff….be thankful…be happy… pass it on….smile and watch the ripple effect. It will make a different!

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