8 Franchise CEOs and Presidents Tell What Inspired Their Leadership Styles
In each issue of Franchise Update magazine, we profile franchise CEOs and presidents, asking each the same set of questions. Their responses say a lot about who they are, their culture, their values, and where they're taking their companies. We focus the Q&A on four areas: Leadership, Management, Personal, and the Bottom Line.
Throughout the year, we'll be selecting one of those questions - and providing answers from the previous year's profiles. If you'd like to learn more about these franchise leaders and what they have to say on other topics, just click the link to read to their full profile.
This week the 8 CEOs tell what has inspired their leadership style.
Carl T. Howard, President and CEO, Fazoli's
Wow! I have had some great mentors but I am most like Ken Cole. Ken was the CEO of Damon's when I was growing up and working my way up in the Damon's system. Ken taught me to be a leader, a great operator, and really explained the sacrifices I would have to make to become truly great. I also know that I would not have grown my career as fast had it not been for my father-in-law Angelo Ron Salvi, who owned several Italian restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, and who had a true zero defect standard. He taught me to be passionate about excellence: Every Dish, Every Table, and Every Day. Nothing less was acceptable. There are so many others, like Mike Tortoise, Will Liphart, John Votino, and several more who were influential in my career. Read full profile here.
Rob Price, CEO and President, School of Rock
I have inventoried effective and ineffective leadership skills of teammates over the years. More importantly, I have also invited feedback, even when brutal. I have been blessed with colleagues who have cared enough to point out my deficiencies. I embrace criticism and it always inspired me to try to improve. Read full profile here.
Tammy Whitworth, Chair and CEO, Window World
Being part of Window World from day one has inspired me to love this family. Seeing members of our company grow and progress through the ranks is inspiring. And it is their unyielding drive and commitment to bettering themselves and their communities that inspires my own leadership style. We have a great system of people within this company, and I need only look among them for inspiration in my own life. Read full profile here.
Larry Oberly, President and CEO, SpeedPro Imaging
First, it was my time at Baskin-Robbins as a franchisee in the St. Louis area in 1992. I learned very quickly that I wasn't going to be able to pay my employees more than the McDonald's down the street, but if I didn't have happy employees they would leave me to earn even a nickel an hour more. I had to build camaraderie, culture, and an environment where my best employees would refer their friends to the company. Second was Disney. I loved the way they engaged their employees. I quickly shifted from calling my team "employees" and changed to "cast members" in my stores. This especially resonated with the teenagers on my team, and they "performed" every day for our customers. Finally, Simon Sinek. I've seen him speak at two conventions, and I think he's spot-on. "Start with why" and "Leaders eat last" are two good rules to lead by. I firmly believe in the "why" behind everything we do. Read full profile here.
David Lopez, CEO, Dental Fix Rx
I appreciate that each individual brings something different to the table. Some people bring strategy and others are the ones who execute it. I've learned that my value is knowing my next three chess moves. I've found that once you put the plan on paper it exists, and everyone hears how it's going to get done. The game plan is set and everything is recorded. The plan distinguishes any excuses my team might bring to me because everyone is accountable for the number set out for them. It requires them to take ownership for any successes or missed targets. Read full profile here.
Michael Poates, President and COO, Mr. Gatti's Pizza
Cutting through the minutiae. People appreciate the truth and direct talk, so I like to land the plane quickly and spend time on making a tough job fun. Read full profile here.
Shannon Hudson, CEO and Co-Founder, 9Round Franchising
My father is a veteran and an entrepreneur, so growing up I saw that he delivered each and every week for the family. He had to hustle or we didn't eat. I learned a lot from that example. And being a martial artist practically since birth has taught me to set goals and strive to be great as well. Read full profile here.
Nicole Ossenfort, CEO and President, Liberty Tax
The founder and chairman of Liberty Tax, John Hewitt, is a mentor. I was impressed as a franchisee to know that my opinions counted - that the CEO had an open-door policy and that he listened to those closest to the customer. He was honest with me about my strengths and weaknesses, and he didn't hesitate to let me know when I was headed down a wrong path. That mattered to my success. I know that matters to current franchisees, too. Read full profile here.
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