Monday Message from Jerry Houston, President and CEO of HPISolutions

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for examples of Real Leadership.  When one departs on this journey, I can tell you it isn’t always to find truly inspired leaders… although they do exist and they are truly inspiring.

I have a habit of watching the early morning news, to catch up on what is happening around the world and locally.  A story this morning caught my attention because it came from the restaurant industry.  Anyone who has ever worked in this industry knows that the hours are long, scheduling is a nightmare, and finding and keeping employees is very challenging.  This is especially true in areas where working nights and weekends are commonplace.  It is hard to have a personal life, and serving the public is… well, interesting at times.

And then along comes the story of Christopher Collins, the owner of nine restaurants in The Valley of the Sun.  Can you imagine running just one successful restaurant, let alone, nine?  Nine sets of everything, including managing a lot of people in a generally transient industry.

During the interview, the reporter asked Christopher how he felt about the business and the challenges associated with finding and retaining enough staff to ensure top-quality food and service to his clients.  He responded that you have to be willing to Change It Up.  How you might ask… he decided to close all nine restaurants every Sunday!  This bold step, which likely cost him some revenue, has sent a strong message to his employees and managers that he cares about them having some life balance.  On top of giving them a day where they don’t have to worry about being called or texted to come in to cover a shift, he maintained the managers’ salary levels, even though their work hours were reduced by about 10%.  He also has maintained the number of work hours for the team members, in order to not see a reduction in their incomes.  I became more curious and looked Collins up online and discovered that his group, Common Grounds Culinary provides team members with full health benefits including dental and vision programs, paid time off, and eligibility for Long Term Disability and Life Insurance.  Check out their restaurants and reviews… you will be impressed.

It is so inspiring to see a leader who gets it.  A leader who understands that if he is more concerned about the welfare of the team than just making more money, he will build loyalty and create a business that is more than just a place to work.

Have A Great Week!

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