What Great Leaders Know and Do

March 29, 2011 6:26 pm 0 comments

Mark Miller, Vice President, Training and Development, Chik-fil-A,  gave a keynote speech today at the CLO SYMPOSIUM. He reminds us of knowledge from his book, “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do” co-authored with Kenneth Blanchard.

To lead is to serve. This seemingly contradictory concept is at the heart of Chick-fil-A’s approach to developing leaders. That approach is delivering phenomenal results. Since the company’s founding in 1967 with a single restaurant in suburban Atlanta, Chick-fil-A has grown to be the second-largest quick service chicken restaurant in the U.S., with more than 1,500 locations and annual sales of almost $4 billion. 

The book describes the story of Debbie, a struggling and a failing leader, who learns the lessons of management from her Boss. Miserable with her poor performance, the character of Ken’s Book, joins the Mentor Program offered by her company and incidentally, Jeff, the president of the company happens to be the trainer. She thoroughly undergoes the training sessions where she realise her mistakes. She is taught to be a ‘Serving Leader’ rathar than a ‘self-serving Leader’. She learns the secrets of success with the five steps :

S-E-R-V-E

  1. Seeing and shaping the future
  2. Engaging and developing others
  3. Reinvent Continuously
  4. Value results and relationships
  5. Embody the values

SEEING AND SHAPING THE FUTURE: Seeing the future does not mean using a crystal ball, but to have a plan and goals as to what the future should be. Have a workable plan and develop the steps to make the plan succeed is how you see the future. The future does not just happen; it is what you do today that makes the future of tomorrow.

ENGAGING AND DEVELOPING OTHERS is a great way to make your future succeed. No man is an island and all tasks go better with assistance. Ask others their opinions and their ideas. Encourage them to get involved in the process towards the new future and help them to succeed in the process.

REINVENTIN CONTINUOUSLY means you must watch for constant opportunities for change and analysis. Just because something was always done a certain way does not mean it is the best way to do it today. Time management, delegation of duties, a shifting of job responsibilities and then new training of team member may be all you need to improve your team and see results.

VALUE PROJECT RESULTS  and building STRONG RELATIONSHIPS may be a new direction for you. Investing in the relationships of those in your team will build trust and understanding between all the team members. When you like the person you are working with, you feel freer to share ideas, discuss failure and find solutions. If your relationships are growing, so will your results. Its easy to value results, we all want to succeed. The harder part of the equation is to build and develop strong, trusting relationships with all team members.

EMBODY THE VALUES in your team members, your relationships and your results for the team. True leadership is built on trust. If you don’t trust the person leading, you will not follow them no matter how great their plan is. To build trust, you must maintain and exhibit values others can relate to and embody. Trust, values and strong relationships are traits of great leaders. Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson all had unyielding values and strong relationship with those they served.
Mark’s speech reminds us well about the idea of servant leadership.

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