Dare to Serve Reflection: How do you think about the people you lead? Last night I enjoyed a dinner conversation with a Popeyes leader who oversees more than a dozen restaurants. In our chat, we were reflecting on how grateful we both were for the momentum in our business – and how blessed we felt to be a part of this company. I was so impressed with this person’s genuine love of the restaurant business. It led me to ask him to share a bit about his family history.

He told me about his grandparents. He had spent summers with them – working the land. Learning what hard work looks like. Learning what it means to serve others – the workers on the farm. Learning how to prepare food from the barn and the garden. A hard life in many ways, but a place to learn how to love others, do productive work, and treasure the simple things. He then said – “I think this is where I learned my love for the restaurant business.”

And then I understood so much about the man – his values, his perspective, and his attitude. His mindset was – “I can find joy in serving others, in working hard, and in treasuring life shared with the people in our restaurants.” Wow. I want to work for him. Wouldn’t you?

When I joined Popeyes in 2007, we were suffering from a lot of things. Discouragement, disappointment, skepticism, frustration, and more. Our employees had watched multiple leaders come and go without a turnaround of the business. Our franchise owners were exasperated at the poor performance. Our board wanted to know what was wrong. Our shareholders wanted their investment to provide a return.

We needed new results to be sure. But to get there, we also needed a new attitude. We needed to think freshly about our work. Why it is valuable? Why do we want to work hard to solve the problems? Why we want to serve the Popeyes family well? Without a fresh mindset about the work, we would have been doomed to repeating history.

Is your attitude determining your altitude?

What emotions do you have about your workplace today? How will your mindset affect your work today? What could you do to approach the work freshly and positively?

Serving Performs.

Changing the Landscape

Recently driving to our family vacation in Colorado I was struck by a virtual sea of wind turbines that dotted the horizon for miles along the panhandle highways of Texas. Having grown up in Texas it occurred to me how much these three armed giants have changed our landscape! Traveling these highways as a boy we saw an occasion tumbleweed, some grazing cattle and a lot of nothing! What struck me as I marveled at the spinning rotors was the thought, isn’t that what we are called to do as Christian Leaders and that is to change the landscape? What was even more remarkable was that a cost of over $1,000,000 each, how many of them stood idol, not really doing what they were made for.

As Christian leaders we understand the ultimate price that Christ paid on the cross and that cannot be measured in dollars. Our calling is to make a difference in the market place, to make a difference….and change the landscape! Are you up to the call? How do you measure up?

As the parallels continued I thought about what these turbines are designed for and that is providing power to millions of households and business throughout the land. As Christian Leaders we are called to not only share the saving power of Jesus but be transformed!

Romans 12:2 NIV says….Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is ---his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So the question is, how are you changing the landscape? Are you empowered by the Holy Spirit and how is that power impacting your leadership? Here are 10 simple reminders:

  1. Share your vision
  2. Live your values
  3. Lead with compassion
  4. Do what right for your people
  5. Serve others
  6. Lead by example
  7. Develop others
  8. Invest in yourself
  9. Be Salt & Light
  10. Pray daily for your team

Keep in mind on a wind turbine that the rotors spin to produce the power. In your life your three sources of power are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. May you lead in that power every day!

Are You Building a Championship Team?

As the NBA begins the 2014-15 season, one of the big questions is whether the San Antonio Spurs will be able to repeat as champions and win their sixth title since 1999. There has been much fanfare about the core of the team remaining together for many years. Rightly so in an age of free agents who change teams every couple of years in pursuit of ever increasing salaries. In fact, San Antonio’s big three (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker) could have all gone to other teams and made more money at different points in their careers, but they chose to stay together in San Antonio and play with coach Gregg Popovich. Why? In your leadership role, the answer to this “why” question is important. Every day, you have talented people (staff and volunteers) who will make a choice. They will choose whether to continue to work for your organization or take their abilities somewhere else. They will choose whether to give 110% or something less. Their decision will not be motivated primarily by compensation. It will be driven far more by an organizational culture where it is fun to work, a sense that the organization is making a difference in the world, and a knowledge that their personal contribution matters.

It is important that you spend time charting the organization’s direction and that you make wise leadership decisions. But it is more important that you invest in people in order to build a championship team. One of Patrick Lencioni’s Three Signs of a Miserable Job is anonymity. Lencioni says, “All human beings need to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority.” When this happens, you begin to see championship results.

Building this kind of team doesn’t mean that its members aren’t held accountable. One of the turning points in the 2014 championship series was when Popovich had a heart-to-heart with Kawhi Leonard after Game 2. Leonard responded with breakthrough performances in the remaining three games and was chosen as the tournament MVP.

One final thought on building this team – if you have someone who is more interested in his or her own advancement than in the team, find a way to “trade” them quickly. They may be a “star” performer and may achieve short-term results, but their attitude will poison the chemistry that is needed for a long-term championship. What kind of team are you building?

Moving from Working IN the Business to ON the Business

Where do you invest your time? Unless the entrepreneur changes his thinking and carves out the time to work ON the business, he’ll never have the time and life balance he seeks; the business will never be as successful as he desires; and he’ll never be able to attract and retain a first-rate team.

The paradigms we hold can be a blessing or a curse. One false belief often held by an entrepreneur is that he doesn’t have enough time to work ON the business. Instead, he spends countless hours working IN the urgent, and becomes the bottleneck. Deep down, he realizes he must work ON the business if it’s to be as successful as he wants, but with current duties, the velocity of problems that keep coming and the emotional satisfaction he gets from not having to change, that seems more like a dream than reality.

If the entrepreneur gets past this stage, the business won’t be limited by his personal capacity, and new horizons will open up. If he doesn’t, he’s sentencing himself to a life that looks more like a dog chasing its tail—lots of activity, but not the progress he desires.

How are you doing at bringing vision, faith and courage to coordinated effort at your business? If you aren’t investing time to work ON the business to ensure long-term success, who will?

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, NIV).