Who are the most important people you serve – the owner, the boss, the customer, the employees? Which one is your primary focus? When I joined Popeyes in 2007, my first day was the international franchising conference in Orlando, Florida. As you would expect, on my first day I was brimming with excitement and anticipation about this challenging new leadership opportunity. This would be my first chance to meet the Popeyes franchise owners – the people who own virtually all of our restaurants – the entrepreneurs who have made Popeyes their livelihood. Certainly, they would be excited to meet me too?

It didn’t take long to understand that the franchise owners were not excited to meet me. They had met seven CEOs in the prior four years. I was just “CEO Number 8.” They were in year eight of a downturn in the sales and profits of their restaurants. They were tired of the situation – and if they had chosen a slogan, it might have been “Not Going to Take It Anymore.”

In fact, one veteran franchisee put it this way. “You see Cheryl. We are abused children. And you are just another foster parent. Don’t expect us to trust you anytime soon.”

Long pause on my end. In fact, these words still give me pause.

How many people in the workplace feel like abused children? How many of them think their leader is just another foster parent; “don’t expect us to trust you anytime soon.”

I’m afraid the number is much higher than we want to think.

As you think about your leadership, who are the people counting on you to serve them well? What would serving them well look like? How would they know that? How would they measure that?

“It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant As Leader

At Popeyes, we chose our franchisees as our #1 priority and determined we must serve them well. Here is what our franchisees tell us matters to them:

  1. They want to be listened to, demonstrating that we truly value their experience and point of view.
  2. They want us to be honest with them, especially when we make mistakes.
  3. They want to be part of the decision-making process, not the recipient of our decisions.
  4. They want us to be accountable, to actually do the things we say we are going to do.
  5. They want our ideas to deliver positive results to their business.

Is that too much to ask of the leader? Listening. Honesty. Inclusion. Accountability. Results.

Isn’t that what you would like from your leader?

You have an opportunity to serve the people you lead well.

Who matters most in your organization? Will you serve them well?

We are not "just like Vistage"

Describing a Christian CEO peer counsel group to someone can be difficult.  I often hear others default to, “We’re just like Vistage—only Christian.”  Sadly, I admit I’ve done it myself but am now resolved to say, “We’re not like Vistage!” There are many choices in secular CEO peer advisory groups.  They encompass a common model of peer accountability, cross-industry perspective, one-to-one mentoring, speaker workshops, and national networking.  Convene is fundamentally distinctive.

Convene’s core values hold Business, Faith, and Family as equal and parallel priorities in the fiber of our lives. Serving God with significance in all areas of our life, growing exceptional businesses, and shepherding those in our sphere of influence have equal emphasis during our Forum Days and One2Ones. We understand and believe that none of these areas can fully thrive if any one area is deficient.

Convene Teams strive to understand the heart of an issue as we seek to grow our businesses and become better leaders. Every month, our members bring real business opportunities and challenges to the team in order to obtain wise counsel from CEO and business owner peers who have similar values. Often the most obvious solutions to issues can be difficult for members to implement: their fears and preconceptions can be obstacles to clear and definite action. As a team, we seek to understand the issue behind the issue and help members make breakthroughs with encouragement through biblical principles and God’s promises.

Along with the opportunities and challenges of growing exceptional businesses, Convene Chairs work on “Inside-Out” Leadership—knowing that transformation starts from within. What we place on our hearts affects our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, priorities, actions and results, in that order. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Discovering and developing the God-given purpose for our life and business flows directly into our attitudes and actions, impacting our relationships at work and home.

As a Convene Chair, my greatest joy comes in witnessing real transformation—transformation that manifests in business growth, better leadership, and healthier relationships at work, home, and in the community that will have eternal impact.




Living Out Who God Made You to Be

How much of your time do you spend doing things that you both love and excel in? Things that produce outstanding results and rejuvenate your soul—things that others look at and say, “How in the world do you do that?” To which your reply is, “I don’t know, it’s easy.” The majority of people spend their days doing things they’re reasonably good at, but not passionate about. It’s not that they’re incompetent—they’re good—they’re just not “Wow!”  They don’t hate what they do and a lot of it gives them some satisfaction, they just don’t love it—it isn’t a passion for them.

Most people never take time to discover who God made them to be and what He made them to do, so they end up living ordinary lives, devoid of the joy and purpose God has waiting for them. They work hard and have moments where they feel God’s pleasure in their work, but there’s no real passion. For them, work feels more like a hamster wheel than the exciting, abundant adventure that Scripture promises. Does this sound like you or anyone on your team?

If you’re like most people, you spend far too little time working in your God-given gifts, strengths, and passions—yet that’s what you were created to do! That’s what will bring about God’s best for your life. That’s what God will hold you accountable for.

If you’re tired of doing things which don’t seem to fit you, it’s time for a change. Discover the way God wired you—your gifts, passions, strengths and abilities. Then combine them with your life’s experiences to gain a better understanding of who God created you to be and what He wants you to do. The payoff will be amazing!

You do best what you love and were created to do—and so does everyone else!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).