Do You Have a Waffle House Strategy?

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: How bad is Hurricane Michael? (A category 4 storm with sustained 150+ mph winds). Waffle House reportedly closed down 30 restaurants in the storm’s path for the foreseeable future. That’s a WOW! Why? Waffle House, the 24/7 comfort-food chain, is notable for keeping the doors open when hurricanes and other natural disasters strike.

With a couple thousand locations across the United States, one of the biggest risks that the Waffle House faces regarding its culture and business model is the unpredictability mother nature. And whether during a major hurricane like Katrina, or a crazy ice storm such as Snowmageddon 2014, Waffle House will go to great lengths to keep as many locations up and running (even when the power is out, roads are impassable, and all other restaurants are shut down). The Federal Emergency Management Agency even measures the severity of a storm’s damage by something called the “Waffle House Index.” When a Waffle House restaurant shuts down, it’s really bad.

Key Point: Waffle House is a great example of making culture REAL, and not just a hollow, public relations or marketing slogan. The restaurant’s “Always Open” philosophy across its 2,100 plus locations in 25 states, is a strategic and very intentional initiative. They stay open and/or rapidly re-open during disasters because they seriously and deeply plan for it. From the CEO down, they live it! Most organizations would benefit from reviewing the Waffle House Storm Playbook. Check out the following as a brief sample:

“Before the disaster: Waffle House mitigation and planning best practices:
… Every executive in the organization is trained on how to run a restaurant on the front lines so they can be dispatched to help when disaster strikes. The company has a carefully-scripted disaster recovery playbook they dutifully follow or adapt…

During a disaster: How Waffle House responds to disaster:
… When a storm is inbound, an all-hands-on-deck alert goes out, disaster response ‘jump teams’ organize, and important resources and manpower are staged so they can be dispatched quickly when needed….

…Waffle House ships generators and gas supplies to affected locations to power the stores, to keep food from spoiling and systems running…

Revise and improve:
… The organization analyzes what worked and what didn’t, then further refines the disaster recovery playbook so they can better respond the next time around…”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Do you know your organization’s disaster playbook? What would you be required to do in an emergency? Is it written down? You may want to visit Waffle House’s plan as an inspiration.
  2. What is your personal family’s disaster playbook? What would you and loved ones do if suddenly there was no internet, power, mobile phones, food/water disruption? Any of the above?
  3. The following is a takeaway comment regarding Waffle House: “When disaster strikes, you’ll feel the heat during the crisis, your brain might get scattered, and you’ll likely feel smothered by the pressure. But having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place in advance will have your organization covered, allowing you to better respond to whatever life throws at you.”

No waffling in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: That takeaway from Waffle House is especially clever. For those unfamiliar with the restaurant, “scattered,” “smothered,” and “covered” are just a few of the popular ways people can order their hashbrowns. Not unlike its food, a well-lit Waffle House offers comfort for thousands of customers in hurricane prone regions, and the company clearly gets it. I don’t know about you, but for my company’s safety, I rushed through a 5-part required online seminar that I passed in about 15 minutes. It’s likely a lot of us can improve our own disaster playbooks. If at all possible, hash one out at your local Waffle House.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Avoiding Generosity Burnout

Abundance Accountability Respect

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Story: It’s Canadian Thanksgiving and the themes of gratitude and generosity are abound. As I listen closely to the undertone of many casual conversations between family and friends, I am interested in how many people see themselves as “givers,” yet are quietly disappointed and sometimes even hurt that they haven’t been acknowledged adequately for their generosity. For example, “we have them over for dinner often but they rarely ask us in return…” “I used to change her diapers when she was little all the time, and now she doesn’t have time to call me.”  “I send him a birthday card, and he doesn’t even know when my birthday is.” Etc.

Key Point: Perhaps many of us are actually more “matchers” than “givers.” Wharton Prof. Adam Grant, who has written and done extensive research on the differences between giving, taking and matching, notes: “Many of us operate by the principle of matching. If you’re a Matcher by default, your instinct is to try to maintain an even balance of give-and-take in your interactions. You try to keep fairness and a sense of quid pro-quo in your dealings with others. If you do someone a favor, you expect an equal one in return.”

My view is that if one lives primarily as a “matcher,” they will exhaust themselves from trying to keep the ledger balanced, and may spend a lot of time being disappointed. Matchers put so much of their relationship happiness in the hands of others. Too often the “match” is interpreted as insufficient. It is way more gratifying to just give and do it because you want to, rather than what you expect in return. However, I would like to present a caveat to “just giving.”

Grant’s research, popularized in his breakthrough book Give and Take, highlighted with qualification, that Givers (rather than Takers or Matchers) were most successful in the long run. Yet, the blind application of giving, regardless of how well intended is not sustainable. Being in service and unbridled giving does not need to translate into painful servitude. We need to be more discerning or we can find ourselves in what Grant and Rebele outline in a great HBR article as, “Generosity Burnout.”

“Our research shows that across industries the people who make the most sustainable contributions to organizations — those who offer the most direct support, take the most initiative, and make the best suggestions — protect their time so that they can work on their own goals too.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Please consider the following framework, what Grant and Rebele define as “7 Habits of Highly Productive Giving,” to guide our application of generosity:
  • “Prioritize the help requests that come your way — say yes when it matters most, and no when you need to.
  • Give in ways that play to your interests and strengths to preserve your energy and provide greater value.
  • Distribute the giving more evenly — refer requests to others when you don’t have the time or skills, and be careful not to reinforce gender biases about who helps and how.
  • Secure your oxygen mask first — you’ll help others more effectively if you don’t neglect your own needs.
  • Amplify your impact by looking for ways to help multiple people with a single act of generosity.
  • Chunk your giving into dedicated days or blocks of time rather than sprinkling it throughout the week. You’ll be more effective — and more focused.
  • Learn to spot takers, and steer clear of them. They’re a drain on your energy, not to mention a performance hazard.”

Giving wisely in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: There’s no denying the good feeling that giving delivers. Is that partially because we may consciously or subconsciously know that a generous act may yield something positive in return? I’m not sure. That said, could you imagine how much more empty you’d feel if you decided to always withhold instead of giving without expecting reciprocation? The gift of giving is pretty great in itself, and completely in your control.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Are You a ‘WHO?’

Abundance Accountability Respect

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Story: In his latest blog, Peter Diamandis sparked my interest with a simple, although not simplistic premise:

“When most entrepreneurs (including me) face a challenge, our first reaction is to ask: ‘how do I solve this problem?’ My coach, Dan Sullivan (CEO of Strategic Coach), taught me a powerful management shortcut for success. Don’t ask ‘how.’ Instead, ask ‘who?’… Dan Sullivan explained, ‘Our education system plays a major role in why we ask HOW and not WHO from the get-go. With the exception of a few exceptional schools, the education system is designed to prepare people for a life of ‘HOW.’ Kids in traditional classrooms around the world are graded on HOW they solve particular problems on their own. When you leave school, you need to collaborate and delegate to thrive. But in school, they don’t call it collaborating and delegating — they call it cheating.’ The education system engrains asking HOW and discourages asking WHO.’”

Key Point: I agree with Diamandis and Sullivan. I have been most successful when I have delegated the right “WHO” versus over-managing the “HOW.” In my view, assigning the best possible “WHO” will figure out the way to execute the “HOW.” Often, people have accused me of trying to do too much in parallel. Reflecting on Diamandis and Sullivan’s observations, I think that’s because they were overwhelmed with concentrating on the “HOW,” while my confidence increased with my support and commitment to the “WHO.” And as Diamandis concludes: At the end of the day, while it’s really important for you as a leader to be smart, driven, ethical and visionary, the only way for you to scale your impact is to build an incredible team of WHOs behind you.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Ask yourself where you have been chosen to be THE WHO. I’m not talking about your job description. Where are you THE person responsible for the outcome?
  2. Become and deliver on as many HOWs by being assigned as the WHO. That will define contribution and build confidence! Find a way!
  3. If you’re in a position to delegate, then be sure to pay attention to clarifying the WHO as a priority. This will likely result with a much better outcome on the HOW. 

Becoming the WHO in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: It’s likely we’ve heard the adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” More recently, I’ve also heard that evolve to, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” Sometimes it’s a lot more challenging to become the WHO than complete the HOW. But I’d like to think lots of us are willing to be WHO attempts to figure out that path.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

The Gift of Becoming a Teacher

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect

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Story: Can you see in your mind’s eye the visual of a person who is phenomenal at their craft? It may be the carpenter, baker, or proverbial candlestick maker. Each area of work is populated by a few of these folks. In most cases these people were not prodigies. They just worked with relentless purpose and intentionality, often struggling to get better before eventually becoming masterful. And somehow over time, those around them come to appreciate the exceptional nature of their work and acknowledge accordingly. The purposeful craftsperson consciously or unconsciously becomes the teacher. They show the way and others become willing students.

The picture connected to this blog is of a beautiful painting given to me by a group of former teammates. It represents a “call to action” that impacted these folks, and the company in a very positive way. For me, it is way more than a gift. It is a symbol of living with purpose, imperfectly honing a craft and the generous recognition thereof. Throughout my working life, I have devoted my craft towards advancing people through leadership and culture. I have a deep belief in the value of creating conditions for people to thrive. And over my career I have had ups and downs in successfully doing so. I have miles of self-improvement still in front of me. Yet, whether as a teacher, VP of Sales, CEO or CPO, it’s been my mantra in every role and industry. The purpose and process to establish a craft that is for the advancement of others has always been the light that has guided me, and given me much more in return. I am now, after 40 years, slowly being invited to teach. I am so grateful for that honor.

Key Point: Most of us will have many different jobs and even careers. However, while the medium may change, we can continue to apply purpose, values, craft and process that eventually leads to personal payoff in the best sense of the word. Over time, the community realizes our value and like a journeyman in any field, we earn the privilege to teach and give. The biggest gift we receive in return is the interest of others learning from us. And sometimes, when we’re exceptionally fortunate, they may even send us something to commemorate that we were together and made an indelible mark.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Think of your purpose on Earth as a craft to contribute to others. Continue to consciously work on it, be clear and consistent on your values, and one day you will be given the gift of people wanting to learn from you.
  2. Think of this as a marathon. Most times it takes years of practice to hone a craft to the point of others wanting our insight.
  3. Enjoy the ride. There is a literal or metaphorical painting for you down the road. It celebrates the journey and everyone who participated with you along the way.

Celebration of a craft in personal leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: How cool is that painting? You can tell the level of talent, creativity and hard work that seeped into that canvas. While I know I’ll never be able to paint like that, I hope I can figure out my own craft in something that’ll leave a lasting impression. While not everyone’s craft will physically be displayed somewhere special, it can still be a goal to make your teachings hang in the minds of future students.

– Garrett

P.S. if you have the chance, please check out our latest Rubis And Friends podcast on Five Star Performance.  Let us know how we can improve for our next episode which will be recorded on Sunday, Oct. 7. 

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis