Random topic, right? Since I’ve been gone from Chili’s for almost five months now? I just couldn’t help sharing this though. While in South Sudan Rick and I were asked to give a few business education seminars to the Seed Effect local staff. I immediately felt under qualified for the task and wasn’t sure where to start. Scovia, the In-Country Director for Seed Effect, was kind enough to provide some general ideas to get me started (like time management, attitude towards work, humility and feedback, etc). And as soon as I got to working on the power points, so much of Brinker’s Culture of Accountability came flooding back, and I was on a roll!
But still, I was really nervous when it came the presentation day because this isn’t exactly an ideal environment: 1) I’m no training expert, 2) English is not my audience’s first language, 3) MASSIVE cultural differences, 4) Most of the team does not have any other business experience or education. How the heck is this going to translate?!
But I knew that the concepts I was sharing were some of the most impactful to not only me, but Chili’s Team Members in the field, people across all departments of the organization, even my non-Chili’s friends and family. So I dove in!
I was able to share the concept of Big Rocks – with a visual demonstration and all! The visual demonstration really resonated with the team – and they totally go it. When it occurred to me to share Big Rocks, since it is the most impactful idea in time management that I’ve ever come across, I thought it was so cool that there was actually a demonstration that I could pull off while presenting in the middle of nowhere South Sudan with zero supplies! What does every village in every country have? Rocks, pebbles and sand (well, more like dirt, but close enough). So after taking a machete to a couple of water bottles, and having most of the staff think I’m a crazy lady running around gathering rocks and dirt – picture “Excuse me Eivans (our driver), could you stop again please? Those little rocks are the perfect size! Tinate” – we had a presentation!
I also got to talk about how Feedback is Priceless. Open, constructive feedback is something that’s hard to come by in the U.S., but in other countries, where offending someone can often be repaid with rocks being thrown at you, or a swinging machete, it’s even rarer. Fortunately, the Seed Effect team is amazing and has a solid Biblical foundation, so introducing giving and receiving feedback was a concept they took to immediately. In true Tony Bridwell style, everyone paired up and practiced “What feedback do you have for me?… Thank you for the feedback”. And committed to asking for and giving feedback in regular weekly meetings.
We talked about ensuring that all teams goals were aligned around the Big Rocks, then setting clear expectations, aligned with your Big Rocks. And how to talk your team through “The Why’s”. And then we got to talk about giving recognition and practice it – Dom Perry, you would’ve been proud!!
Beyond the presentations I spent some time talking with the leaders about leadership (it all start with investing in your leaders), managing a team, ownership and accountability. As I did, it made me realize how much of the Brinker culture had become ingrained in me… in fact, Drew asked, “So do you have like reference materials, or do you just have all of this memorized, or what? You quote it all exactly.” To which, Rick laughed and said, “Yeah, I can quote it all too… we use it at home, too” and then Rick went into how Experiences lead to Beliefs, and you have to give some one new Experiences to shift them from C1 Beliefs to C2. For those that don’t know, Rick never actually did work for Brinker, although there may be some debate from some people… 🙂
It’s funny that I didn’t realize how ingrained it was, but even having not been around it for months, Brinker’s culture is part of who I am now. It’s a set of tools that will be invaluable all of my life, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to be part of it.
…To respond to Drew’s question, after I laughed for a minute, I said “No, no reference materials and no crazy memorization… everyone at Brinker just lives it out everyday. From the CEO to the servers and every person in between. It’s just how you live at Brinker”
And Drew replied “Do you know how fortunate you are to have worked for a company that has that kind of culture and training? No one has that.”
Well, I truly thought I always appreciated it, but being away from Brinker for a bit, and then getting to share the invaluable lessons of the culture with others makes me realize even more how special it was. And makes me incredibly, just over the top, grateful for the opportunity to work there and learn from the best leaders. I’m forever grateful to the leadership as Brinker who took time and energy to invested in the culture and invested in me – Thank You!!!