by Jane Anderson, Featured Contributor
DO YOU REMEMBER from the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that one of the habits was “Begin with the end in mind”? Well, I’ve always wanted to begin writing with an ending, so this is how I will begin. This is what I learned from this book and why I want to share it with you. Stick with me here because my reason for presenting the final chapter as my entrance paragraph is tactical.
Call to Action
In the end, why is it that you want to up your game as a leader? In fact, what is your game? Why do you lead? As a leader you have an audience and an influence in some capacity. In her book, Cheryl Bachelder calculates the degree of influence based on number of employees, hours in the workweek, and comes up with a statistical estimation of influence. Numbers are OK, I guess, but what really speaks to the heart of leaders is that when you lead, you influence the lives of people who follow you, and indirectly people who follow them. In fact leaders are stewards of people, organizations, and communities, present day and into the future.
This is why I chose to begin this book review with a summary of the final chapter. The chapters of Dare-To-Serve were written with the intent to present readers with enough guidance that they would want to act on what they just learned.
How to drive superior results
If it were as easy as a three step process, all that could be said about how to drive superior results could be written in one book with no need for another. Driving superior results is not so much a process as it is a combination of being humble and ambitious. To be successful as a Dare-To-Serve Leader, you must take yourself out of the spotlight and adopt a philosophy and values of servant leadership. Cheryl describes it as, “Serve others well by pursuing a bold ambition for the enterprise.”
Is it true that attitudes can be imprinted on the hearts of individuals through the attitudes and actions of another? Bachelder tells an appealing story of how her positive attitude was shaped by her mom. As an eternal optimist, she tells leaders, “Your attitude is your altitude.” Popeyes was the inverse of optimism when she joined the organization. To change that, the leadership team had to decide what attitudes, values, and philosophies they would adopt. Just as importantly, they chose what they would not allow to be manifested in their leadership styles.
Cheryl Bachelder makes the brave assessment that successes will come from inspired servant leaders who practice six principles: passion, listening, planning, coaching, accountability and humility. The leadership team recognizes that to be Dare-To-Serve Leaders they have to be intentional about their attitudes and leadership approach.
What is the daring destination?
In the beginning there was Popeyes – dedicated, hard-working, and committed; they were also discouraged, struggling, and exasperated. This is what happens when your franchise owners unite for success but without a destination and no direction. Popeyes Leadership Team studied the landscape, took a deed dive into how they could serve their franchisees and they came up with solutions that would provide a daring aspirational plan that would fix real problems and yield results. Among other tactics, the leadership team committed resources, provided training and coaching for teamwork, teaching them to set goals and measure progress. In her book, Bachelder gives examples of actions that worked to secure a productive and profitable future for Popeyes shareholders, franchise owners, and employees. A daring destination is incentive, it’s exciting, it’s focused, and it benefits everyone.
Why do we do this work?
In the end, it’s work. But that doesn’t create a sustaining revenue channel or satisfied workforce. When it’s the leader’s responsibility to bring purpose and meaning to the work of the organization, they better know why. People want to know their efforts have purpose, meaning, and make a difference. This chapter includes exercises to help team members as well as leaders to invest some time in designing their roles so they come to recognize why their work has meaning and purpose.
How will we work together?
A few years ago, I read a book titled Working With You Is Killing Me. As I started reading this chapter I remembered that book and wondered if anyone under the Popeyes umbrella read that book. This chapter was my favorite because of all the working environments I gravitate most toward, it’s those where team work is promoted. In this chapter Cheryl reveals the truth about what happened when the Popeyes Leadership Team and the Franchise Owners handled a potential conflict over a plan to remodel their restaurants. I think you will be impressed on how the experience was handled. Working together requires a solid purpose. At the end of this review please note Popeyes Purpose as published.
How to become a Dare-to-Serve Leader?
I love this quote from Cheryl Bachelder that sets the expectation for becoming a Dare-To-Serve Leader. “The leader must have the courage to take people to a daring destination and the humility to selflessly serve others on the journey. This dynamic tension between daring and serving creates the condition for superior performance.” And that’s how it’s done.
Choose to Serve
You will appreciate this chapter if you’ve ever wondered about that blurred line between Servant and Leader. Where the two words merge together is the place where Servant Leadership has its foundation. On the one side is Leader – self-focused, ‘it’s all about me’. On the other side is Servant – others focused, ‘it’s all about the people’. In reality it’s a balance between the two where neither servant nor leader are 100% of the equation. Bachelder has an interesting way of drawing out the ways to apply both Leader and Service to assure the combination of traits produces superior results.
Be bold and brave
The daring leader helps the people see a future state that is greater than their own imagination and worthy of pursuit. By pursuing a bold aspiration, the people grow in capability and experience-stretching to accomplish things they never dreamed of.”
Can you imagine the success rate of an organization if the leaders and the people lived in that pursuit? This is the effects of clear vision, articulated so well that it becomes worthy of pursuit. The author asks, “What prevents you from pursuing a daring aspiration for the organization?”
Have clarity of purpose
As a leader, you need to find your own purpose before you can help others find theirs. I agree with this in theory but it doesn’t preclude providing some direction through introspective dialog even if the leader doesn’t have it all figured out. In fact, Cheryl offers some insightful exercises for anyone in search of their purpose. The stories of your life present a pretty solid case for at least some parts of your purpose. Here are some others: Values, Gifts, Strengths, and Relationships – They all work together with other elements of your life to help clarify your purpose.
Avoid the spotlight
It wasn’t until the end of this chapter that I found the reason for the title of this chapter. I was immersed in the questions Cheryl asked in the beginning. “What beliefs do you care about so deeply that they shape your leadership actions?” In her analysis she credits Dare-To-Serve Leaders with protecting human dignity, valuing and living out personal responsibility, not blaming or faulting others, and living within the realm of authentic humility. This is where the author presents the crack in the armor. Humility does not come naturally to anyone and if we don’t guard against it, we will get stuck in the spotlight and that is counter to servant leadership where human dignity, personal responsibility, and humility are at work.
If you’ve read this far, you’re done. At the beginning of this review I shared Cheryl Bachelder’s Call to Action. Ready? Let’s get out there, leaders!