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How I have linked people to my business strategy, and how this has


How I have linked people to my business strategy, and how this has

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									How I have linked people to my business strategy, and how this has helped me to
be successful

Sometimes one can quote a number of sources, when expressing views on topics. But
nothing is ever better than speaking from the heart and from personal experience. It is
better than saying ‘I was at the game’, it is like ‘having played the game’!

The experiences I share mostly come from the years spent at Rainbow Chickens, and in
particular the turnaround years of this business. Furthermore and through the years I
made some material from wise people such as Stephen Covey, Archbishop Tutu, Martin
Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Jim Collins my own. These are the things I
consistently apply at Odini Trading (Pty) Ltd.

Lets first look at business strategy as a point of departure, and since it is a key word in
the topic of discussion. At Odini Trading (Pty) Ltd, we devised vision and mission
statements which in particular link strategy to the all important focus on people in our

Vision (the ‘dream’): Odini strives to be a growing and sustainable QSR business, first in
mind in our areas of operation, and delivering above average returns to all our

Mission (the ‘how’ part): Odini is built on integrity and sound business principles, with its
main aim to consistently delight our valued customers, while providing our employees
with a stable work environment, where hard work will be recognised and rewarded.

In short I always like to summarise Odini’s strategy as striving to build ‘a great little
sustainable business’, and if I try and link strategy to people, I believe that the biggest gift
a business can give its people is sustainability. This means that people in the business
may know that they have a job today, tomorrow and next year, and that this will allow
them to maintain their life styles and to provide for the people they love.

So if this is the first priority that needs to be delivered upon by any business, then the
leaders of a business need to lead and firmly walk towards this goal, and in such a
manner that people do follow. Sometimes this calls for tough-mindedness and strong
measures, particularly if a business is in trouble. I remember Yannick Lakhnati, former
CEO of Rainbow, saying that ‘one does not water the garden, when the house is on fire’.
Lets look a bit closer at leadership:

The definition of a leader I like best says that ‘leaders do not choose to lead, but people
choose to follow’. So if you are called upon to lead, what are the secrets of this role?

If we look at our drive to achieve breakthrough results in our KFC business, and the use
of HWWT2 principles applied to linking strategy and people, I just love to focus on
‘believing in all people’ as a wonderful point of departure in successfully leading a
business. If one roughly translates ‘believe’ into ‘faith’ and look at it from a religious
definition, then faith has elements of ‘trust’ and ‘hope’. I have therefore learned that it
delivers tremendous results when I truly believe in all people in my business and treat
them and trust them as if they are the right people the business need!
Classically, business and leaders first define strategy, and then link strategy to structure,
and then populate this structure by the right people. Jim Collins on the other hand, in his
book ‘From Good to Great’, says that if one first and as a matter of priority, has the right
people ‘on the bus and in the right seats’ (and with the wrong people of the bus), your
business (ie the ‘bus’) can go anywhere (ie can deliver on any strategy). I also believe
that the best gift a leader can give him or herself is to surround him or her by the right
people. It makes things infinitely easier!

So if you lead a business, and you inherit people in certain ‘seats in your bus’, what do
you do? I have learned the following:

      You believe in them and treat them as if they are the right people and in the right
       seats. This is transformational thinking and very powerful.
      You then consistently do the following things, so that they become habits. Stephen
       Covey’s books ‘Seven habits of highly successful people’ and ‘Principle centred
       leadership’ have huge reference and bearing in this approach.
          o You empower other leaders in your business, like your ACs. You allow them
              to take responsibility. You hold them accountable. You allow them to make
              mistakes and grow. You treat them as decision makers.
          o You don’t micro-manage them. This gives you the gift of time to work ‘on’
              your business, and not only ‘in’ your business.
          o You pay fairly and reward generously
          o You recognise desired behaviour and celebrate success
          o You incentivise (eg BSC based bonus system)
          o You retain your ‘right’ people (eg BBBEE implementation)
          o You inspire them by setting ‘big hairy audacious goals’, and by being and
              remaining excitable. Bono from U2 says that life and circumstance will
              change, but that in essence, he will remain a boy inside (an excitable one
              who loves life).
          o Remain consistently principle centred. Principles are like compasses, they
              show true North, and when you are in doubt wrt to a decision needed, then
              just look for a principle to guide you. People love to follow such leaders. It
              often helps to compile a ‘procedures manual’ for the business, since it is
              principle centred in nature and takes guessing away. How to claim for
              business expenses? What happens when I’m pregnant? Put all of this into
              documented procedures.
          o Be a mentor to your followers (people). Engage in their roles and lives.
          o Be genuine and don’t wear a suit (like the gorilla ‘imposter’ in the zoo!). You
              simply have to ‘walk the talk’ to be credible. No amount of clever speak will
              inspire unless you are the real deal!
          o Measure and determine KPi’s for your business. Share results with your
              people. The devil is in the detail, and only if you know where to look, can
              you help to fix. Remember to allow your people to do the work though. You
              as leader must just take the ‘rocks out of your people’s way’, so that they
              can do their jobs.
          o Always be respectful and gentle, but straightforward. In one of Martin Luther
              King’s sermons, he said that we should be ‘tough-minded but kind hearted’.
Once you have consistently given your 100% in this manner, you reward will probably be
that the majority of the people in your business turn out to be the ‘right people and in the
right seats’. But what if they are not behaving in the desired manner?

They might be the right people, but in the wrong seats! So move them. Practically this
could be that you relocate a RGM from one store to another, since the individual may
need a bigger challenge as an example.

If you are however convinced that the mismatch is such that you do not have the right
people and that there are no right seats available, then please change them! You owe this
to yourself and others in the business. It is the gift you can give yourself that we spoke
about. Remember that fairness is a two-edged sword and that actions have consequence.

In summary:

      People are the business!
      Lead them by making habits of the right leadership behaviours
      Make them the right people. Arch Tutu said that ‘we are not being loved because
       we are good. We are good because we are being loved!’. Transformational power
       in abundance! Abraham Lincoln made his biggest opposition runner his vice-
       president, and when asked ‘why?’, he said that ‘if through love I can make an
       enemy into a friend, have I then not destroyed my enemy?”
      Give a 100% first (before asking others for their bit)
      Even shorter said: Become the employer of choice and you have won the battle of
       the hearts of the people in your business! You will be successful in delivering on
       your strategy.

Some of the recent results at Odini, should anyone say ‘so what?’:

      CHAMPS: Feb08 79.3% Jun09 88.9%
      CER: Feb08 64.3%      Jun09 78.9%
      Team member turnover: Feb08 46% Jun09 23%
      Customer complaints/10 000 transactions: Feb08 1.12%          Jun09 0.22%


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