A Bold Ambition to Serve
Do you love the people you’ve decided to serve?
It has been my privilege and passion to speak about servant leadership in forums all over the world. My free e-book on Leading With Others In Mind has been downloaded thousands of times around the world.
Not too long ago, I read a compelling new book on the topic, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others. The author is not just an author, but the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., a multibillion-dollar global chain. Prior to Popeyes, she held leadership positions at Yum! Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, the Gillette Company, and P&G.
Back to the opening question: Do you love the people you’ve decided to serve?
Cheryl asks that tough question in this book and goes on to explain why the answer is key to delivering superior results.
“Most of us…have jobs that are too small for our spirits.” –Studs Terkel
Fired! How a Humbling Event Changed Everything
Cheryl, your book, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others, starts out with a humble account of you getting fired. That seems to have been a turning point for you personally and professionally. How did this contribute to your beliefs?
Thankfully there have been several humbling events in my life – events that reminded me that I am not in control, I am not God. I have found the trials in my life, like facing breast cancer or getting fired from KFC, were the events that led me to new insights and personal growth. They have made me a better person and a better leader.
Losing my job made me question my leadership and business capability. This crisis of confidence led me to a ruthless review of my wiring, my strengths, my values and my experiences. In that process, I gained conviction about who I was and importantly, what kind of leader I wanted to be. When I came to the Popeyes opportunity, I was refreshed and ready to lead out of these convictions.
The Benefits of Daring to Serve
Would you share some of the benefits leaders receive if they adopt the Dare to Serve leadership model?
The benefits are many. Leading this way has been the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience of my career. And I think the Leadership Team at Popeyes would say the same thing.
It has been incredibly challenging to transform the culture, the business, and the leaders simultaneously. Chasing the bold goals sets the bar high – which leads us to be more innovative – which leads us go assemble amazing people – which leads us to be tenacious and determined to get to the daring destination. We are better leaders because we are stretching and learning continuously.
The decision to serve our franchise owners well has focused us on a process of building alignment – to define the problem together and to solve together – and has built strong, productive relationships with our most important partners. Sometimes this feels slow or inefficient, but once aligned, it has enabled incredible speed to market.
And finally, the rewarding experience of bringing together a capable team – then nurturing and developing their leadership qualities. This is essential to performance in a fast growing company, but it is also important, purposeful work that can leave a legacy of future leaders.
“Personal purpose accelerates employee engagement and organizational performance.” -@CABachelder