If your company isn’t growing like you think it should, Anand Gala believes you may not be giving your stars a chance to reach their full potential.
“Without clear leadership and communication, they’ll be stuck in mediocrity,” says Gala, founder, president and CEO at Gala Corp. “They’ll perform to the best of their ability. But if they are not clear about what they should be doing, you’ll only get average results out of them at best.”
You need to lead, and you need to give your people a chance to do the same.
“If you’re not able to get out in front of your team and effectively and clearly communicate the goals and the mission of the organization, they will suffer in confusion,” Gala says.
By staying in front of his people, Gala has helped the restaurant operator grow, topping $77 million in 2008 revenue with 3,200 employees.
Smart Business spoke with Gala about how to find leaders and get the most out of them.
Define leadership. Develop a strong team that shares your vision and your goals. That team becomes an extension of your leadership and is there to ensure that standards, practices and procedures are being executed as they should be.
If you don’t believe that your senior team is strong enough, you have to define, first and foremost, what does leadership look like?
I really want to see somebody who has a passion. They are passionate about the brand that they are interviewing for. They see something in that brand that they believe they can effectively exploit to turn into something even bigger and even better.
If they see it as only a job, this is the wrong place for them. There is a line a mile long for people who just want a job or are just willing to take a job. I want somebody who is passionate.
There is a series of questions you can ask that can help root out what their passions are in life. It’s going to be different for every industry. In the food service industry, we’re looking for people that are passionate about customer service and passionate about making people happy.
Reinforce your image. We are constantly being interviewed by our candidates, as well. We want to make sure we are presenting a picture of an extraordinary place to work and an extraordinary place where they themselves will be developed.
We believe we are a place that provides that. We provide a challenge and an opportunity for personal and professional development, and we provide tremendous opportunity. We do it by articulating and demonstrating what our historical growth has been because talk is talk.
If you can present them with a history of meeting that philosophy, it speaks volumes. Through the interview process when we get to the second or third interview, it’s really done with multiple leaders in the organization who can personally attest to the growth that they have achieved and the personal satisfaction they have in the organization.
Put it on paper. You have to come up with criteria to determine if you have leaders to fit the profile you’re looking for. You need to be clear in your mind and the best way to do that is to have it written down on paper as to what your expectations are. What the duties and responsibilities are going to be? Employees need to know this is a minimum, not a maximum. The job will evolve from there.
Every interviewing process presents them with scenarios to see how they would react. They may be scenarios they have dealt with previously and they may be things they have never dealt with. But nonetheless, you want to know how they would react.
Get others involved with interviews. Part of being a good leader is being able to cut through the façade to get to the core of the individual to see if they are really capable.
People can be very charming and may know the right things to say, but their effectiveness is minimal. That’s what scenario testing is there for. You want to know what their ability is to deal with certain situations. How good are they at what they say they are good at? How do you determine what is real and what is lip service?
You can have multiple people from your leadership team interview and compare notes. What did they see? Different people see different things, and that will help you calibrate your own ability.
Not only does it help develop them, but it also helps to clearly and effectively communicate a single vision for the organization. The candidate is hearing it from multiple people, and they know that the leadership team is aligned.
The long-term success of any organization is to foster an environment where employees feel that they are empowered and that they are jointly responsible for the short-term and long-term success of the organization.
It’s critical in any organization as you grow that you develop that culture. Without it, there will be a general apathy, and it will lead to potential problems that can arise that can really set an organization back quite far and may not be able to recover from.
Get out there. Get in front of your people. Be a leader. There’s a big difference between working in the business and working on the business. When you’re working on the business, you’re leading a team.
Every organization is led by a team, not necessarily all executives but nonetheless a team. The team needs to be very clear about what its goals are, and that’s usually driven by the entrepreneur or the CEO or whoever that leader is. There are objectives for the team. When you’re out in the field talking to the rank and file, you have to make sure you are consistently communicating the same message and goals and objective.
You’re giving them clear direction and then you’re helping develop both them and their ideas. You’re helping develop their actions. You’re out in the field, you’re meeting with people and you’re listening to them. You’re providing them that clear leadership that they all are looking for.
How to reach: Gala Corp., (714) 886-1009 or www.galacorp.com