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Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others
     

Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others

5.0 2
by Cheryl Bachelder
 

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Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well.

When Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, and the company stock price had dropped from $34

Overview

Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well.

When Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, and the company stock price had dropped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.

By 2014, average restaurant sales were up 25 percent, and profits were up 40 percent. Popeyes' market share had grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, and the stock price was over $40. The franchisees were so pleased with the turnaround that they began reinvesting in the brand, rapidly remodeling restaurants, and building new units around the world.

The difference maker, Bachelder says, was a conscious decision to lead in a new way. She and her team created a workplace where people were treated with respect and dignity yet challenged to perform at the highest level. Silos and self were set aside in favor of collaboration and team play. And the results were measured with rigor and discipline. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book shows that it's actually challenging and tough minded—a daring path. Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how a leader at any level can become a Dare-to-Serve leader.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/30/2015
Bachelder, CEO of the Popeyes restaurant chain, provides a slim, unsatisfying guide to leading for the good of your employees. After being fired from KFC, Bachelder found herself at a crisis point; soon thereafter, she was offered the position at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. But the job came with its own difficulties, as she immediately faced leadership distrust, employee unhappiness, and a company-wide need for an attitude adjustment. Bachelder proposed a radically new approach: servant leadership, meaning that the company would shift focus from her to the people she was leading. According to the book, this kind of selfless service might be most associated with non-profit and charity work, but it can and should be applied to businesses as well. As Bachelder explains, it did indeed lead to the turnaround of the Popeyes chain; Bachelder goes on to describe the possible benefits for other executives, which include finding a renewed sense of meaning in one's work, clarity of purpose, and improved teamwork. She also makes the case for avoiding the spotlight in favor of letting rank-and-file employees do noteworthy work. All of this is to the good, but ultimately the material feels stretched thin; readers will have to skim and glean the lessons for which they're searching. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“With high-level experience at companies such as KFC and Domino's Pizza, coupled with stellar stock prices and profit margins at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Bachelder has the credentials for writing about leadership. Characterized in a Restaurant News article as a “modest buttoned up data wonk” who turned out to be a transformative leader, the author speaks at length in the first half of the book about the four pillars guiding Popeyes's turnaround and long-term strategy. Much of her subsequent advice about empowering employees, building consensus, setting ambitious goals, and tying daily work to a higher purpose echoes that of other recent management books. What sets hers apart is an emphasis on “servant leadership,” meaning focusing on others instead of self and achieving solid results by being humble, accountable, and modeling personal values at work. Specific tools for assessing accountability, articulating one's “personal purpose,” and identifying individual talents in self and subordinates are listed. VERDICT While the chatty storytelling style can be off-putting, quotes from thinkers as various as Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller are interspersed throughout with some 40 reflections meant to move the reader from understanding this management philosophy to implementing it. Recommended for those wishing to explore servant leadership in corporate America.”
—Elizabeth Wood, Bowling Green State

“Extraordinary! Dare to Serve describes the kind of leadership so desperately needed in the 21st century. A powerful blend of courage and humility, Cheryl Bachelder's engaging story offers a clear path for leaders to follow, and what makes her message so compelling is the tremendous results she's produced. I highly recommend this book.”
—Stephen M. R. Covey, #1 bestselling author of The Speed of Trust and coauthor of Smart Trust

“Dare to Serve is a crisp narrative of Cheryl's profound leadership journey as a corporate executive. Through balancing people, purpose, and principles, Cheryl produces outstanding results. Don't miss this opportunity to learn how it's done!”
—Denise Ramos, CEO and President, ITT Corporation

“When I speak with leaders, it is hard for them to grasp that servant leadership drives both great performance and great human satisfaction. Cheryl Bachelder provides an inspiring manual on how to be a Dare-to-Serve leader who drives superior results.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level

“It has been a long time since I have read a book from beginning to end in one sitting, but that is exactly what I did with Dare to Serve, and I had to force myself not to read it again right then and there! It is truly a masterpiece and I will be sharing it with many friends, including those whom I am mentoring, just as soon as it is on the bookstands.”
—Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus, Southwest Airlines, and coauthor of Lead with LUV

“Anyone who leads anything will learn from the crisp and engaging stories in Dare to Serve. It is one of the best leadership books I have read and is a must-read for any leader who cares.”
—Joel Manby, CEO, Herschend Family Entertainment, and author of Love Works

“Dare to Serve stands out as one of the most practical, useful books on leadership that I have ever read. Full of real-world examples and grounded in the dramatic turnaround of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants, Cheryl shares with us how to serve others with intention, competence, character, courage, and humility. Her practical experience, proven results, and contagious passion to serve others well is an inspiration to all of us who want to make a real difference in the world.”
—Bonnie Wurzbacher, Chief Resource Development Officer, World Vision International, and former Senior Vice President, Global Customer Leadership, The Coca-Cola Company

“Dare to Serve chronicles both the remarkable turnaround story of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., and Cheryl's inspiring personal journey of discovery, which galvanized her commitment to an unconventional approach to corporate leadership that has yielded remarkable results.”
—Andy Stanley, founder, North Point Ministries, Inc.

“Dare to Serve offers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at how a struggling restaurant chain was transformed into a soaring brand success through a simple but revolutionary model of leadership based on serving others. This book is a must-read for leaders of all kinds!”
—Phil Cordell, Global Head, Focused Service and Hampton Brand Management, Hilton Worldwide

“Compelling and inspiring! Bachelder makes the case for her people-focused approach to leadership through her real-life experience at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Developed and honed in an industry where service to others is at the very core of what we do, these lessons are sure to translate not only across industries but to our personal lives as well.”
—Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association

“Cheryl Bachelder's brave and unconventional approach to the turnaround of Popeyes challenges all of us to step up our game. Cheryl stands in the gap for us, calling us to a purpose that will drive better results for our organizations, while putting the needs of our people and customers ahead of our own.”
—Scott MacLellan, CEO, TouchPoint Support Services, a Compass Group company

“By focusing on the purpose-driven success of those she leads, paradoxically, Cheryl Bachelder gets the results we all want from our organizations. Dare to Serve is about the gutsy principles she applied to a business desperately in need of a turnaround and the spectacular results she achieved.”
—Tim Irwin, PhD, bestselling author of Impact

“This book turned my thinking upside-down. Cheryl shares her road-tested wisdom and shows how and why Dare-to-Serve leadership works so brilliantly. This is a game-changing book and should be required reading for all leaders.”
—Art Barter, President and CEO, Datron Holdings, Inc., and founder and CEO, Servant Leadership Institute

“Dare to Serve is a game changer! The principles outlined create exponential results far beyond what the individual ego will allow. Boards today are looking for Dare-to-Serve type leaders to ignite possibilities in their organizations. This is a must-read for leaders everywhere!”
—Jane Edison Stevenson, Vice Chairman, Board & CEO Services, Korn Ferry, and coauthor of Breaking Away

Library Journal
04/01/2015
With high-level experience at companies such as KFC and Domino's Pizza, coupled with stellar stock prices and profit margins at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Bachelder has the credentials for writing about leadership. Characterized in a Restaurant News article as a "modest buttoned up data wonk" who turned out to be a transformative leader, the author speaks at length in the first half of the book about the four pillars guiding Popeyes's turnaround and long-term strategy. Much of her subsequent advice about empowering employees, building consensus, setting ambitious goals, and tying daily work to a higher purpose echoes that of other recent management books. What sets hers apart is an emphasis on "servant leadership," meaning focusing on others instead of self and achieving solid results by being humble, accountable, and modeling personal values at work. Specific tools for assessing accountability, articulating one's "personal purpose," and identifying individual talents in self and subordinates are listed. VERDICT While the chatty storytelling style can be off-putting, quotes from thinkers as various as Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller are interspersed throughout with some 40 reflections meant to move the reader from understanding this management philosophy to implementing it. Recommended for those wishing to explore servant leadership in corporate America.—Elizabeth Wood, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781626562356
Publisher:
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
03/16/2015
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
161,335
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 3.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Dare to Serve

How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others


By Cheryl Bachelder

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Cheryl Bachelder
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62656-235-6



CHAPTER 1

WHOM WILL WE SERVE?

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

ROBERT K. GREENLEAF, THE SERVANT AS LEADER


I AM AN ETERNAL OPTIMIST, a certified member of the positive-thinking club.

When we were growing up, my mother woke my siblings and me by playing loud music on the stereo and saying "Good morning! It's a beautiful day. Rise and shine." There was no opportunity for negativity. It was going to be a good day.

I continued this tradition with my children. The mantra of their childhood was, "Your attitude is your altitude." They still grimace when I say it, but the message is etched in their minds. Decide how you will approach this day—and that will determine your day.

The same is true in leadership—your attitude is your altitude.

When I joined Popeyes, the place needed an attitude adjustment. The problem? The people we were responsible for leading were viewed as "a pain in the neck."

The franchise owners were "difficult." The restaurant teams were "poor performers." The guests were "impossible to please." The board members were "challenging." The investors were "not on our side."

The first step in turning around your organization's performance? Think positively about the people you lead. Your attitude will determine the altitude of your performance results.


THE BUSINESS SITUATION

Popeyes' performance in 2007 couldn't have been much worse. Every data point that we measured was going the wrong way. Sales were declining. Guest satisfaction was worst-in-class. Restaurant profits were down in absolute dollars and margin. Morale at the company was negative. Franchise owners were mad and "sick and tired" of bad results. Investors were disappointed in the stock performance and wanted answers. The board was tired of hearing promises that did not materialize.

In the following year, economic conditions would deteriorate as well. Lehman Brothers would disappear. The stock market would fall precipitously. The United States would head into a steep recession that contributed to the slowdown of the global economy. Times were not good.

The odds were stacked against a successful Popeyes turnaround.

What leadership approach would lead to success?


NOT LIKE THEM

Picture eight members of the Popeyes Leadership Team stuffed in a small conference room at an Atlanta facility called the Buckhead Club. Our job for the day? To make a conscious decision on how we would lead Popeyes to sustained success.

We started by making lists of the traits we admired in the best leaders of our careers. Interestingly, the conversation quickly turned to the traits that we wanted to avoid, traits that characterized the worst leaders we had met.

On the flip chart, we listed words like self-absorbed, arrogant, and condescending.

Before we knew it, we were telling stories to one another about the difficult people we had worked for. It became a "can you top this?" contest.

That was a turning point in our leadership of Popeyes.

Our first decision—we did not want to lead like "them."

We started talking about our favorite leadership philosophies. One person mentioned a book that had been influential in his life, Leadership Is an Art by Max De Pree. Published in 1989 by the then-CEO of Herman Miller, the book put forth a novel idea—that leaders are stewards of the people and the organizations they lead. When leaders create environments where followers thrive, the business performs well.

Others brought up books that they liked—authored by Patrick Lencioni, Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, and more—and a theme emerged in the conversation. We wanted to be leaders who served well the people, brand, and organization we had been given. We didn't want to fall prey to the self-focused leadership style we had observed in others. Our belief was that serving people well would generate better business results.

One member of the team said, "I think there is a name for this kind of leadership. Give me a minute to do a web search." He was the only one with an iPhone at the time and he quickly came up with the answer. A man named Robert Greenleaf had written about a leadership approach called servant leadership. It was about serving the people well—above self-interest.

That's it!

Serving others over self.

We quickly agreed that this servant leadership notion would guide us going forward.

But there was one more thing. We believed that servant leadership would deliver superior results. The performance of the enterprise would be the evidence that we had served others well.

Before leaving the conference room that day, we had a draft of the Popeyes purpose and principles that would guide our leadership for years to come.

Our purpose: To inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results.

Our principles: Six behaviors we saw as essential to serving the people well and delivering superior performance—passion, listening, planning, coaching, accountability, and humility.

We made a decision that day: we decided to serve.

Dare-to-Serve Leaders begin by intentionally deciding on their attitude and leadership approach.

• Decide to think positively about the people you lead.

• Decide to be a leader who serves others over self-interest.


It is both courageous and humbling to remove yourself from the spotlight and shift your focus and energy toward serving others well. This is how you create an environment for superior results.


THE MANY CHOICES

If we were going to serve people well at Popeyes—whom would we serve?

We listed all the possibilities on the conference room flip chart: the guests; the shareholders; the franchise owners; the team members; the board of directors; the regulators; the accountants. Had we missed anyone?

Someone said, "Don't we have to serve all of those people?"

Hmmm. Could be true. Let's go through each possibility.

In restaurants, the ultimate goal is to serve your restaurant guest well. After all, guests buy the food—without them, there is no business. If they are not served well, they don't come back.

We are a public company. Shareholders have invested in this business and expect a reasonable, preferably good, return on that investment. We are hired as their "stewards." Without their investment, we will not be funded for growth. If they are not well served, they exit our stock—and the stock price falls—reducing our access to capital and the value of the enterprise.

Popeyes licenses the rights to use the brand and the operating system to franchise owners. These owners borrow money and invest it in building Popeyes restaurants, hiring and training restaurant crews, and building relationships with the communities and guests we serve. Without franchisees, we do not have a global restaurant chain—they drive our expansion. If they are not well served, they exit the brand—selling or closing restaurants—and reduce our ability to serve guests our famous Louisiana recipes.

It takes about 60,000 team members to run our more than 2,200 restaurants around the globe. These team members get up every day, come to work, prepare the food, serve the guests, clean up the place, and close the doors. These team members feed and serve our guests. If we do not serve the team members well, they go to work somewhere else. Without them, we are not open for business.

In our business, we have many choices of people to serve; they are all important. Would we serve them equally, or would we pick one as our primary focus?


THE CHOICE WE MADE

At Popeyes, we chose to serve the franchise owners well as our first priority.

In franchising, we make money in two basic ways: we collect royalties on restaurant sales and we collect franchise fees when a new restaurant is built. Those monies fund the infrastructure of the company so we can carry out the service obligations of our franchise contract: brand marketing, new product innovation, operating systems, quality assurance, and more.

We have long-term contracts with our franchise owners—typically twenty-year agreements with options to renew. Thus, we have long-term relationships with the owners who borrowed the money to build our restaurants and hire the people who serve our guests. Franchise owners do the heavy lifting.

As we looked at our options for whom we would serve, we thought the franchise owners merited our immediate attention. They had made sizable investments and were committed by contract to operate our brand. If they did not prosper, there was no chance Popeyes sales would go up (royalties) or franchise fees would increase (new openings). Either franchise owners would succeed or Popeyes would fail.

This decision is not typical in our industry. Franchisors and franchisees are constantly in conflict—arguing about the contract, the business strategy, the restaurant design, the promotion pricing, or the cost of the food. If the conflict gets particularly bad, threats of lawsuits quickly surface.

When I joined Domino's Pizza in 1995, Domino's franchisees sued the company in a class-action lawsuit. When I joined KFC in February 2001, I learned of the long history of conflict between KFC franchisees and the franchisor, with a negotiated settlement in 1996. In my restaurant career, the media has reported on troubled franchisee/franchisor relationships at well-known brands such as Burger King and Quiznos, among others.

Interestingly, unresolved conflict with franchise owners never leads to operational excellence or superior sales and profit performance. Instead, franchise systems with high internal conflict have negative business results. It is predictable. Nonetheless, franchisees and franchisors typically don't get along.

So we asked ourselves a few questions.

What if we dared to be different from our peers? What if we dared to serve the franchise owners well?

What would that look like?

We would have to work closely with the franchisees to choose the vital few initiatives that would improve performance. Once we were aligned on the right plan, the franchise owners would implement that plan in the restaurants. When the plan was executed well by the restaurants, performance results would improve. When sales and profits improved, franchisees would build more restaurants. New restaurant growth would create value for the shareholders.

This could work.

Our success would begin and end with the success of the Popeyes franchise owners.


LOVING THOSE YOU LEAD

Here's a tough question. Do you love the people you've decided to serve?

It helps.

One Popeyes leader says it this way: "If you are in the franchising business, you should love the franchisees."

To love franchisees, you have to love entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are passionate. They take risks. They invest for the future. They are ambitious. They are definitely not corporate bureaucrats. They do not have much patience with people holding MBA degrees or offering up expensive harebrained ideas. What if the most important people in your business are entrepreneurs? You must decide to love them.

As a side note, I can't imagine why someone wouldn't love franchise owners. I'm biased by my worldview. I believe that democratic capitalism creates conditions for entrepreneurs to invest and grow small businesses. The entrepreneurs are pursuing a dream, and owning a small business is their path to that dream. In the United States, we call this the "American Dream." People come to this country just for the chance to build their own business.

These are the people we are honored to serve at Popeyes. The Popeyes franchise owners decided to take the risk and invest sweat-equity and financial capital into building and operating Popeyes restaurants. They are amazing people with equally amazing life stories.

Here are just a few examples of the many franchise owners in our system whom I love.

Lal Sultanzada is a Popeyes franchisee in New York City. Lal immigrated to this country from Afghanistan. His first job was working in a chicken restaurant in Harlem. Eventually he saved enough money to buy that restaurant and he became a Popeyes franchise owner. Today, Lal has dozens of restaurants operating to the highest of standards. His restaurant leaders win many Popeyes awards. I love that Lal is now sending his children to college to follow in his footsteps and run this highly successful family restaurant business.

Mack Wilbourn operates three Popeyes restaurants at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Two of them have the largest sales volume in our system. Mack hires people who take fabulous care of the guests. You will often hear the restaurant manager, Edith, say, "Honey, you are looking good today—what can I get you for dinner?" I love the warmth and positive energy that Mack's teams bring to our guests. They set the standard for service excellence.

John Broderson is a Popeyes franchisee who owns urban restaurants in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, and Puerto Rico. His career began working in a troubled Popeyes restaurant in Chicago that his father had purchased. Over time, John developed a talented team of restaurant leaders who routinely win awards in our system. Recently John went back to Chicago to seek out that first Popeyes restaurant he worked in—and he bought it. I love the fact that John invests in urban neighborhoods, providing career opportunities to many.

Harry Stafford invested in the restaurant business after a successful career in law and Texas oil. Today his organization owns and operates more than a dozen Popeyes restaurants with excellence. At the age of seventy-five, Harry remains one of our most forward-looking entrepreneurs, buying property and expanding his Popeyes network in the Houston area. I love that Harry leads with integrity and has invested his time serving as a leader in the Popeyes system, chairing a new committee each year.

Amin Dhanani is the sixth son of a family that immigrated to the United States to be entrepreneurs. Today his family is one of the largest operators of Burger King restaurants as well as Popeyes. This owner is one of the boldest and fastest-expanding operators in our system, owning and operating Popeyes in multiple states. I love Amin's daring aspiration for expanding Popeyes across the nation as fast as possible.

Guillermo Perales owns Popeyes restaurants in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. Beyond Popeyes, he is the largest Hispanic franchisee in America, owning multiple retail businesses. When Guillermo saw the turnaround of Popeyes performance results, he decided to become one of our fastest-growing developers. I love that he is willing to invest in Popeyes' future.

Danny Gililland operates Popeyes in Little Rock, Arkansas. Danny loves restaurant operating systems and his wife, Lynda, loves training restaurant teams. The Gilillands volunteer to test just about every piece of restaurant equipment or new training process that our team comes up with. I love that Danny and Lynda never get tired of debugging these inventions, and their enthusiastic efforts have helped us make better decisions for our system.

Nareg Amirian is a second-generation Popeyes franchisee, following his successful father, Bobken Amirian, an Armenian who emigrated from Iran. Nareg combines his experience in the family business with an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and runs restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I love that Nareg has courageously stepped forward to run the family business for the next generation.

Now I have to pause and apologize to every Popeyes franchisee whom I did not mention. Please know that I love you, too!


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Dare to Serve by Cheryl Bachelder. Copyright © 2015 Cheryl Bachelder. Excerpted by permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Cheryl Bachelder is CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.. In 2012, she was recognized as Leader of the Year by the Women’s Foodservice Forum and received the highest industry award, the Silver Plate, for the quick service restaurant sector, presented by the International Food Manufacturer’s Association. She has more than 30 years of experience in brand building, operations and public-company management at companies like Yum Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, The Gillette Company and The Procter and Gamble Company.

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Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
StrategicLearner More than 1 year ago
Cheryl Bachelder is apparently a force of nature. She is honest, focused, and knows how to grow and improve a business. If you are looking for a book about how to come back from the depths, inspire people in the best way, and practice real servant leadership with both brains and compassion, here you go ... and it is easy to read about and absorb, to boot:). I always pay attention to who an author is paying attention to and was delighted by the names popping up in Dare To Serve, such as Robert K. Greenleaf, Robert Townsend, Max Dupree, John Maxwell, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, Donald O. Clifton, and Rick Warren … all solid and daring leaders in sometimes very different arenas. Greenleaf, Townsend, and Dupree in particular have been around for “a while”, as they say, and their work is still influencing the best leaders. Reading this book teaches us some things about the food industry perspective, some things about Cheryl Bachelder and what drives her success, and a fair amount about why servant leadership is also good business. All are valuable learning, no matter what your current or anticipated situation might be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago