Dare to Serve

How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others

Cheryl Bachelder (Author)

Dare to Serve
Become a Dare-to-Serve Leader!
How do you transform an ailing company into an industry darling? Adopt servant leadership. When Cheryl Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in 2007, the stock price had slipped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, the team discouraged, and the franchisees were just plain angry. Nine years later, restaurant sales were up 45%, restaurant profits had doubled, and the stock price was over $61. Some see servant leadership as incongruent with results, but this book confirms that challenging people to reach a daring destination, while treating them with dignity, creates the conditions for superior performance. In this updated edition, Bachelder includes her post-Popeyes observations and new examples of how you can switch your leadership from self to serve.

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Overview

Become a Dare-to-Serve Leader!
How do you transform an ailing company into an industry darling? Adopt servant leadership. When Cheryl Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in 2007, the stock price had slipped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, the team discouraged, and the franchisees were just plain angry. Nine years later, restaurant sales were up 45%, restaurant profits had doubled, and the stock price was over $61. Some see servant leadership as incongruent with results, but this book confirms that challenging people to reach a daring destination, while treating them with dignity, creates the conditions for superior performance. In this updated edition, Bachelder includes her post-Popeyes observations and new examples of how you can switch your leadership from self to serve.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Cheryl Bachelder

WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I went to my daughter’s thirdgrade parent-teacher conference, the teacher looked at us and said rather sternly, “I don’t know what Tracy is going to be when she grows up, but she is going to be in charge of it.” At that moment, I had my first glimpse of what my mother’s life must have been like. She raised four children and we all ended up in charge of something.

I’ve come to believe that our lives each have a theme, although sometimes it takes a long time to figure it out. At this point, I think it is safe to say that my life theme is leadership.

In the first chapter of my life, the theme was expressed by the leaders in my family—my grandparents and parents. I was blessed with family leaders who raised us in a safe, loving home, providing a good education, strong faith, and moral values. My father modeled the business leadership traits of competence and character in his career at National Semiconductor Corporation.

In the second chapter of my life, the theme was learning leadership—while serving as president of my campus sorority, Sigma Kappa, gaining my business school degrees at Indiana University, and apprenticing with strong leaders in brand management at Procter & Gamble and Gillette. I became fascinated with watching leaders, reading about leaders, and reflecting on leadership. I became a student of leadership.

The third chapter was about being a leader in large companies. I became a vice president at the young age of thirty-two and led marketing and product development teams at Nabisco and Domino’s Pizza over the next dozen or so years. My career grand finale was supposed to be as president of KFC restaurants, a division of Yum! Brands. But instead, I learned some tough lessons—battling a round with breast cancer and an unsuccessful term as a restaurant company president. I experienced trials in leadership.

Yet another chapter spans the years of my marriage, from 1981 to the present day. My husband, Chris, and I are co-leaders of our family, raising three daughters with no manual other than the Bible. We’ve been imperfect parents, but we have loved the responsibility of leading our daughters to faith and to their own life theme.

As this book tells the story, the most recent chapter began when I was asked by the board of directors of Popeyes to lead a turnaround of this brand, famous for its Louisiana culinary heritage. This has been the best leadership opportunity of my life. With a supportive board, a capable team, a distinctive brand, and more than three hundred franchise owners invested for the long haul, we have been able to deliver a remarkable set of results. By doing so, we have established the business case for Dare-to-Serve Leadership.

I look forward to spending the rest of my days inspiring purpose-driven leaders who exhibit character and competence in all aspects of their lives. This is the calling of my life and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A new way to think about Servant Leadership, as a path to superior performance.
Chapter 1: Ask
Chapter 2: Choose
Chapter 3: Co-Author
Chapter 4: Hard Things
Chapter 5: High Standards
Chapter 6: Flawless Execution
Chapter 7: Loving Acts
Chapter 8: Living Plaques
Chapter 9: True Legacy
Chapter 10: Difficult–But Not Impossible

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Excerpt

Dare to Serve

ONE

WHOM WILL WE SERVE?

It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.

ROBERT K. GREENLEAF, THE SERVANT AS LEADER

I AM AN ETERNAL OPTIMIST, a certified member of the positive-thinking club.

When we were growing up, my mother woke my siblings and me by playing loud music on the stereo and saying “Good morning! It’s a beautiful day. Rise and shine.” There was no opportunity for negativity. It was going to be a good day.

I continued this tradition with my children. The mantra of their childhood was, “Your attitude is your altitude.” They still grimace when I say it, but the message is etched in their minds. Decide how you will approach this day—and that will determine your day.

The same is true in leadership—your attitude is your altitude.

When I joined Popeyes, the place needed an attitude adjustment. The problem? The people we were responsible for leading were viewed as “a pain in the neck.”

The franchise owners were “difficult.” The restaurant teams were “poor performers.” The guests were “impossible to please.” The board members were “challenging.” The investors were “not on our side.”

The first step in turning around your organization’s performance? Think positively about the people you lead. Your attitude will determine the altitude of your performance results.

DARE-TO-SERVE REFLECTION #1 How do you think about the people you lead? Are they a “pain in the neck” or essential to the future success of the organization?

THE BUSINESS SITUATION

Popeyes’ performance in 2007 couldn’t have been much worse. Every data point that we measured was going the wrong way. Sales were declining. Guest satisfaction was worst-in-class. Restaurant profits were down in absolute dollars and margin. Morale at the company was negative. Franchise owners were mad and “sick and tired” of bad results. Investors were disappointed in the stock performance and wanted answers. The board was tired of hearing promises that did not materialize.

In the following year, economic conditions would deteriorate as well. Lehman Brothers would disappear. The stock market would fall precipitously. The United States would head into a steep recession that contributed to the slowdown of the global economy. Times were not good.

The odds were stacked against a successful Popeyes turnaround.

What leadership approach would lead to success?

NOT LIKE THEM

Picture eight members of the Popeyes Leadership Team stuffed in a small conference room at an Atlanta facility called the Buckhead Club. Our job for the day? To make a conscious decision on how we would lead Popeyes to sustained success.

We started by making lists of the traits we admired in the best leaders of our careers. Interestingly, the conversation quickly turned to the traits that we wanted to avoid, traits that characterized the worst leaders we had met.

On the flip chart, we listed words like self-absorbed, arrogant, and condescending.

Before we knew it, we were telling stories to one another about the difficult people we had worked for. It became a “can you top this?” contest.

That was a turning point in our leadership of Popeyes.

Our first decision—we did not want to lead like “them.”

We started talking about our favorite leadership philosophies. One person mentioned a book that had been influential in his life, Leadership Is an Art by Max De Pree. Published in 1989 by the then-CEO of Herman Miller, the book put forth a novel idea—that leaders are stewards of the people and the organizations they lead. When leaders create environments where followers thrive, the business performs well.

Others brought up books that they liked—authored by Patrick Lencioni, Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, and more—and a theme emerged in the conversation. We wanted to be leaders who served well the people, brand, and organization we had been given. We didn’t want to fall prey to the self-focused leadership style we had observed in others. Our belief was that serving people well would generate better business results.

One member of the team said, “I think there is a name for this kind of leadership. Give me a minute to do a web search.” He was the only one with an iPhone at the time and he quickly came up with the answer. A man named Robert Greenleaf had written about a leadership approach called servant leadership. It was about serving the people well—above self-interest.

That’s it!

Serving others over self.

We quickly agreed that this servant leadership notion would guide us going forward.

DARE-TO-SERVE REFLECTION #2 Think about difficult leaders you have worked for. Have you made a conscious decision to lead differently than “them”?

But there was one more thing. We believed that servant leadership would deliver superior results. The performance of the enterprise would be the evidence that we had served others well.

Before leaving the conference room that day, we had a draft of the Popeyes purpose and principles that would guide our leadership for years to come.

Our purpose: To inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results.

Our principles: Six behaviors we saw as essential to serving the people well and delivering superior performance—passion, listening, planning, coaching, accountability, and humility.

We made a decision that day: we decided to serve.

Dare-to-Serve Leaders begin by intentionally deciding on their attitude and leadership approach.

• Decide to think positively about the people you lead.

• Decide to be a leader who serves others over self-interest.

It is both courageous and humbling to remove yourself from the spotlight and shift your focus and energy toward serving others well. This is how you create an environment for superior results.

THE MANY CHOICES

If we were going to serve people well at Popeyes—whom would we serve?

We listed all the possibilities on the conference room flip chart: the guests; the shareholders; the franchise owners; the team members; the board of directors; the regulators; the accountants. Had we missed anyone?

Someone said, “Don’t we have to serve all of those people?”

Hmmm. Could be true. Let’s go through each possibility.

In restaurants, the ultimate goal is to serve your restaurant guest well. After all, guests buy the food—without them, there is no business. If they are not served well, they don’t come back.

We are a public company. Shareholders have invested in this business and expect a reasonable, preferably good, return on that investment. We are hired as their “stewards.” Without their investment, we will not be funded for growth. If they are not well served, they exit our stock—and the stock price falls—reducing our access to capital and the value of the enterprise.

Popeyes licenses the rights to use the brand and the operating system to franchise owners. These owners borrow money and invest it in building Popeyes restaurants, hiring and training restaurant crews, and building relationships with the communities and guests we serve. Without franchisees, we do not have a global restaurant chain—they drive our expansion. If they are not well served, they exit the brand—selling or closing restaurants—and reduce our ability to serve guests our famous Louisiana recipes.

DARE-TO-SERVE REFLECTION #3 Who are the most important people you serve—the owner, the boss, the customer, the employees? Which one is your primary focus?

It takes about 60,000 team members to run our more than 2,200 restaurants around the globe. These team members get up every day, come to work, prepare the food, serve the guests, clean up the place, and close the doors. These team members feed and serve our guests. If we do not serve the team members well, they go to work somewhere else. Without them, we are not open for business.

In our business, we have many choices of people to serve; they are all important. Would we serve them equally, or would we pick one as our primary focus?

THE CHOICE WE MADE

At Popeyes, we chose to serve the franchise owners well as our first priority.

In franchising, we make money in two basic ways: we collect royalties on restaurant sales and we collect franchise fees when a new restaurant is built. Those monies fund the infrastructure of the company so we can carry out the service obligations of our franchise contract: brand marketing, new product innovation, operating systems, quality assurance, and more.

We have long-term contracts with our franchise owners—typically twenty-year agreements with options to renew. Thus, we have long-term relationships with the owners who borrowed the money to build our restaurants and hire the people who serve our guests. Franchise owners do the heavy lifting.

As we looked at our options for whom we would serve, we thought the franchise owners merited our immediate attention. They had made sizable investments and were committed by contract to operate our brand. If they did not prosper, there was no chance Popeyes sales would go up (royalties) or franchise fees would increase (new openings). Either franchise owners would succeed or Popeyes would fail.

This decision is not typical in our industry. Franchisors and franchisees are constantly in conflict—arguing about the contract, the business strategy, the restaurant design, the promotion pricing, or the cost of the food. If the conflict gets particularly bad, threats of lawsuits quickly surface.

When I joined Domino’s Pizza in 1995, Domino’s franchisees sued the company in a class-action lawsuit. When I joined KFC in February 2001, I learned of the long history of conflict between KFC franchisees and the franchisor, with a negotiated settlement in 1996. In my restaurant career, the media has reported on troubled franchisee/franchisor relationships at well-known brands such as Burger King and Quiznos, among others.

Interestingly, unresolved conflict with franchise owners never leads to operational excellence or superior sales and profit performance. Instead, franchise systems with high internal conflict have negative business results. It is predictable. Nonetheless, franchisees and franchisors typically don’t get along.

So we asked ourselves a few questions.

What if we dared to be different from our peers? What if we dared to serve the franchise owners well?

What would that look like?

We would have to work closely with the franchisees to choose the vital few initiatives that would improve performance. Once we were aligned on the right plan, the franchise owners would implement that plan in the restaurants. When the plan was executed well by the restaurants, performance results would improve. When sales and profits improved, franchisees would build more restaurants. New restaurant growth would create value for the shareholders.

This could work.

Our success would begin and end with the success of the Popeyes franchise owners.

LOVING THOSE YOU LEAD

Here’s a tough question. Do you love the people you’ve decided to serve?

It helps.

One Popeyes leader says it this way: “If you are in the franchising business, you should love the franchisees.”

To love franchisees, you have to love entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are passionate. They take risks. They invest for the future. They are ambitious. They are definitely not corporate bureaucrats. They do not have much patience with people holding MBA degrees or offering up expensive harebrained ideas. What if the most important people in your business are entrepreneurs? You must decide to love them.

As a side note, I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t love franchise owners. I’m biased by my worldview. I believe that democratic capitalism creates conditions for entrepreneurs to invest and grow small businesses. The entrepreneurs are pursuing a dream, and owning a small business is their path to that dream. In the United States, we call this the “American Dream.” People come to this country just for the chance to build their own business.

These are the people we are honored to serve at Popeyes. The Popeyes franchise owners decided to take the risk and invest sweat-equity and financial capital into building and operating Popeyes restaurants. They are amazing people with equally amazing life stories.

Here are just a few examples of the many franchise owners in our system whom I love.

Lal Sultanzada is a Popeyes franchisee in New York City. Lal immigrated to this country from Afghanistan. His first job was working in a chicken restaurant in Harlem. Eventually he saved enough money to buy that restaurant and he became a Popeyes franchise owner. Today, Lal has dozens of restaurants operating to the highest of standards. His restaurant leaders win many Popeyes awards. I love that Lal is now sending his children to college to follow in his footsteps and run this highly successful family restaurant business.

Mack Wilbourn operates three Popeyes restaurants at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Two of them have the largest sales volume in our system. Mack hires people who take fabulous care of the guests. You will often hear the restaurant manager, Edith, say, “Honey, you are looking good today—what can I get you for dinner?” I love the warmth and positive energy that Mack’s teams bring to our guests. They set the standard for service excellence.

John Broderson is a Popeyes franchisee who owns urban restaurants in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, and Puerto Rico. His career began working in a troubled Popeyes restaurant in Chicago that his father had purchased. Over time, John developed a talented team of restaurant leaders who routinely win awards in our system. Recently John went back to Chicago to seek out that first Popeyes restaurant he worked in—and he bought it. I love the fact that John invests in urban neighborhoods, providing career opportunities to many.

Harry Stafford invested in the restaurant business after a successful career in law and Texas oil. Today his organization owns and operates more than a dozen Popeyes restaurants with excellence. At the age of seventy-five, Harry remains one of our most forward-looking entrepreneurs, buying property and expanding his Popeyes network in the Houston area. I love that Harry leads with integrity and has invested his time serving as a leader in the Popeyes system, chairing a new committee each year.

Amin Dhanani is the sixth son of a family that immigrated to the United States to be entrepreneurs. Today his family is one of the largest operators of Burger King restaurants as well as Popeyes. This owner is one of the boldest and fastest-expanding operators in our system, owning and operating Popeyes in multiple states. I love Amin’s daring aspiration for expanding Popeyes across the nation as fast as possible.

Guillermo Perales owns Popeyes restaurants in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. Beyond Popeyes, he is the largest Hispanic franchisee in America, owning multiple retail businesses. When Guillermo saw the turnaround of Popeyes performance results, he decided to become one of our fastest-growing developers. I love that he is willing to invest in Popeyes’ future.

Danny Gililland operates Popeyes in Little Rock, Arkansas. Danny loves restaurant operating systems and his wife, Lynda, loves training restaurant teams. The Gilillands volunteer to test just about every piece of restaurant equipment or new training process that our team comes up with. I love that Danny and Lynda never get tired of debugging these inventions, and their enthusiastic efforts have helped us make better decisions for our system.

Nareg Amirian is a second-generation Popeyes franchisee, following his successful father, Bobken Amirian, an Armenian who emigrated from Iran. Nareg combines his experience in the family business with an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and runs restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I love that Nareg has courageously stepped forward to run the family business for the next generation.

Now I have to pause and apologize to every Popeyes franchisee whom I did not mention. Please know that I love you, too!

DARE-TO-SERVE REFLECTION #4 What are the specific qualities you love in the people you lead?

We have more than three hundred franchise owners at Popeyes—and I love them all. These are hardworking people who have taken bold risks to grow Popeyes and to serve our guests well. They are inspiring people, people to be admired. They deserve to be loved. They deserve to be served.

THE DIFFICULTY OF SERVING

If you choose to be a Dare-to-Serve Leader, you’ll have one very big obstacle to overcome.

Yourself.

It is easy to say that you want to serve others well, but much harder to do so in daily life.

This topic is seldom discussed out in the open. It would not be seen as admirable to admit that your leadership approach is aimed at serving yourself well. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone actually say this out loud.

Interestingly, I have heard many followers tell me that their leader was self-absorbed. It turns out that the people know your motive, whether you know it or not.

They know if you are making a decision to make yourself look good. They know if you are angling to get promoted. They know if you are hoping for a raise to buy a new house. They know your motives by your actions, not your words.

No one is unscathed by this truth. I am as guilty as anyone else. And you?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

Even leaders who say they want to be Dare-to-Serve Leaders have this question in their own head—what’s in it for me? How will I benefit?

You’re not a bad person for considering this question. You’re just like everybody else, you think of yourself first. So let’s tackle this question before going further.

Here are the five benefits to you of becoming a Dare-to-Serve Leader.

Benefit to You No. 1 People will tell you the stuff you need to know. Self-centered leaders don’t invest time in getting to know their people. When the people don’t know you well, they won’t tell you what is going on in the organization. You miss out on mission-critical facts that you need to make decisions. Serving the people well requires that you spend time knowing the people well.

Benefit to You No. 2 People will be more likely to follow your bold vision. As the leader, you are expected to create the vision for the organization. No one will debate that. But you don’t actually implement the vision; you need followers who believe in your vision and are motivated to do the work. To be highly motivated, the people need to know that you have their best interests at heart. Serving the people well requires that you take their interests into account as you lead the organization.

Benefit to You No. 3 People will actually do the stuff you need to get done without a lot of reminding. Self-centered leaders who insist on making all the decisions make the people “leader dependent.” Unable to perform on their own, the followers wait for the leader to tell them what to do. They do the minimum, unless you follow up repeatedly. Serving the people well requires that you empower the team, let them make decisions, and let them lead.

Benefit to You No. 4 People will perform better. Self-centered leaders create anxious, unsafe work environments where there is no benefit seen for taking risks or growing in capability. The environment is governed by threats and fear; a scarcity mentality prevails. When work is all about the leader’s own ambitions, there is no good reason to give your best performance. In contrast, if you serve the people well, you will provide a safe environment focused on personal growth, promotion opportunities, and the fun of “winning” together. This leads to winning results.

Benefit to You No. 5 People will watch out for you and protect you from yourself. Self-centered leaders create the conditions for a lapse in personal integrity. The leader who receives little feedback from the team becomes overconfident, without checks and balances. The leader’s compass becomes “do the right thing, as long as it advances my career.” This blind spot causes the leader to miss the truly moral decisions that are right for the people and the enterprise, regardless of cost to self. The leader who serves the people well finds that the people protect you from yourself; they have your back.

WHAT MINDSET TRAPS LIE AHEAD?

If you and your team commit to becoming Dare-to-Serve Leaders, certain mindsets will trip you up on a regular basis. Here are just a few of the mindset traps our team has experienced at Popeyes.

Mindset Trap No. 1: “But I am right.” It is difficult to stay in a mindset of serving others when they do not agree with you. Your first inclination is to think, “But I am right, and they are wrong.”

In leadership, and certainly in the franchising business, this happens often—we disagree with one another—but we must work together to move the business forward. We have found that acting in unison as a restaurant chain always works better than acting in disunity. Nonetheless, it is frustrating when we fail to gain alignment with our franchise owners, particularly when the facts are on our side. Our impatient “self” wishes we could make the decision “solo.” While that might be efficient, it is does not serve franchise owners well.

In the seven years we have led Popeyes, this situation has occurred multiple times. We recommended a business plan that probably was sound and probably would have worked just fine. Our franchise owners did not agree. We slowed down, swallowed our pride, and prioritized the relationship with our franchise owners over being right. We may have lost some momentum in the short term, but we gained alignment that led to a well-executed plan in the marketplace. Sometimes you must go slow to go fast.

Mindset Trap No. 2: “What’s wrong with these followers?” One of the big challenges of leadership is getting the followers to go with you on the journey. This can be exhausting—a constant need to persuade and re-persuade the followers. It makes you wonder: Why don’t they see the bold vision? Why don’t they see the opportunities ahead?

Persuading more than three hundred Popeyes franchise owners to agree on a decision can be exhausting work, and when it’s not going well your self-talk begins to say, “What is wrong with these people?” Our franchising contract gives our company the right to make certain decisions—we could simply say, “It’s in the contract.”

That is tempting, but it is not serving. We remind ourselves that influencing and persuading others is ultimately more effective than exercising authority over them. At Popeyes, we have a contract if we need it—but we want to use it only as a last resort.

One tactic we have used effectively to manage ourselves in this circumstance is this—when one of our senior leaders gets “exhausted” with the process of bringing the franchisees into agreement with us, we let someone else take over who is fresh and more objective about the matter. This gives the one leader a rest and a chance to recover positive energy, while the pinch hitter leads the decision to closure.

Our franchisees have come to appreciate this behavior of the team. It gives them confidence that someone will always stay in the room with them to hear their input, even when one of us gets tired of the topic. In fact, today, after seven years of practice, our franchisees will often request that another leader get involved in a matter if there is difficulty getting to alignment.

Mindset Trap No. 3: “We wish they trusted us.” Everyone knows that trust is essential to high-performing teams, but it isn’t easy to attain. Once you get to trust, it can disappear in a moment’s time. Why is this trust thing so difficult?

Stephen Covey taught that human beings have emotional bank accounts: if you make positive deposits over time, trust builds in the relationship. If you make negative withdrawals over time, trust erodes.

At the outset, we believed this to be true in the franchising business. Our leadership team invested in making lots of positive deposits in the trust bank account of our owners. We envisioned that each shared “win” would be a deposit that would build a high-trust partnership. Arguably, the performance results of the company alone should have built immense trust with our franchise owners.

Yet we’ve discovered that trust does not accumulate between a franchisor and a franchisee. Trust is built for one decision, but seldom carries forward to the next one.

At first we were discouraged by this learning—it seemed unfair and unreasonable. Our franchisees constantly remind us of the decisions of the past that have broken trust—there are many in a forty-three-year company history. Those memories are elephant-sized and they won’t go away.

Bemoaning this lack of deserved trust is a self-serving mindset. Instead, we encourage one another to “be the adult.” Another way to say this—we model what trust looks like and behave accordingly. The Popeyes Leadership Team has strong emotional bank accounts with one another, and that provides the high trust work environment we need to be effective leaders.

I’ve come to understand the similarity between working with franchise owners and parenting an adopted child. Because of a history of distrust in their early life, they may never trust you—but you can still lead them, love them, and serve them well.

WHOM WILL WE SERVE?—THE PERFORMANCE RESULTS

To measure how well we have kept our promise to serve our franchise owners, we have conducted a survey every summer to get feedback from them. This is our report card on how we serve our most important customer.

The table below shows how we have performed on the key metrics over a five-year period.

Popeyes franchise-owner satisfaction ratings have improved dramatically over the last five years. Each year the survey provides us with insight into areas of opportunity for future improvements. This is part of how we maintain our commitment to serve the franchisees well.

Popeyes Franchise Owner Survey Results

Percent of franchisees rating Popeyes good, very good, or excellent

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DARE-TO-SERVE REFLECTION #5 How do you gain meaningful feedback from those you serve?

THE DECISION TO SERVE

The first decision of a Dare-to-Serve Leader? You decide to serve the people well.

This decision has many benefits—perhaps the most important is this: People who are well served are more likely to give their best to the organization. That gives you the best prospect of getting superior performance results.

Consciously decide whom you will serve.

Don’t leave this to chance.

At the outset, I suggest that you focus on serving one specific group of people. You will be more intentional in your decisions to serve them well. You will be more likely to notice the challenges of serving and make adjustments in your approach. You will be more likely to experience the benefits of superior performance.

At Popeyes, we discovered the performance power of serving others by focusing first on our franchise owners. This success has given us conviction about the importance of serving every constituent in our company well—the restaurant manager, the employee, the guest, the vendor partner, the investor, the board.

Dare-to-Serve Leadership is a mindset for approaching every constituent.

Bring your team together today—and decide to serve.

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Endorsements

Dare to Serve stands out as one of the most practical, useful books on leadership that I have ever read—full of real-world examples and grounded in the dramatic turnaround of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants. Cheryl shares with us how to serve others with intention, competence, character, courage, and humility. Her practical experience, proven results, and contagious passion to serve others well is an inspiration to all of us who want to make a real difference in the world.” —Bonnie Wurzbacher, Chief Resource Development Officer, World Vision International, and former Senior Vice President, Global Customer Leadership, The Coca-Cola Company
Dare to Serve chronicles both the remarkable turnaround story of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., and Cheryl's inspiring personal journey of discovery, which galvanized her commitment to an unconventional approach to corporate leadership that has yielded remarkable results.” —Andy Stanley, founder, North Point Ministries, Inc.
Dare to Serve offers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at how a struggling restaurant chain was transformed into a soaring brand success through a simple but revolutionary model of leadership based on serving others. This book is a must-read for leaders of all kinds!” —Phil Cordell, Global Head, Focused Service and Hampton Brand Management, Hilton Worldwide
“Compelling and inspiring! Bachelder makes the case for her people-focused approach to leadership through her real-life experience at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Developed and honed in an industry where service to others is at the very core of what we do, these lessons are sure to translate not only across industries but to our personal lives as well.”
—Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association
“Cheryl Bachelder's brave and unconventional approach to the turnaround of Popeyes challenges all of us to step up our game. Cheryl stands in the gap for us, calling us to a purpose that will drive better results for our organizations, while putting the needs of our people and customers ahead of our own.”
—Scott MacLellan, CEO, TouchPoint Support Services, a Compass Group company By focusing on the purpose-driven success of those she leads, paradoxically, Cheryl Bachelder gets the results we all want from our organizations. Dare to Serve is about the gutsy principles she applied to a business desperately in need of a turnaround and the spectacular results she achieved.” —Tim Irwin, PhD, bestselling author of Impact
“This book turned my thinking upside-down. Cheryl shares her road-tested wisdom and shows how and why Dare-to-Serve leadership works so brilliantly. This is a game-changing book and should be required reading for all leaders.”
—Art Barter, President and CEO, Datron Holdings, Inc., and founder and CEO, Servant Leadership Institute
Dare to Serve is a game changer! The principles outlined create exponential results far beyond what the individual ego will allow. Boards today are looking for Dare-to-Serve type leaders to ignite possibilities in their organizations. This is a must-read for leaders everywhere!” —Jane Edison Stevenson, Vice Chairman, Board & CEO Services, Korn Ferry, and coauthor of Breaking Away
“Buy this book, read it, and put it to work. Cheryl is an impressively successful chief executive who has advanced the cause of servant leadership by sharing her practical, how-to approach. In doing so, she invites you to join us in building a community of serving leaders that create great workplaces and deliver superior results.”
—Ken Jennings, CEO, Third River Partners, and bestselling coauthor of The Serving Leader
“Cheryl Bachelder has gone far beyond researching and writing about the principles of purpose-driven leadership, she has lived it in her turnaround of Popeyes. Her book
Dare to Serve offers an authentic and compelling voice to the practice of servant leadership and serves as an inspiring example of leadership principles valuable to every company in every industry and at every stage of development.” —Idalene “Idie” Kesner, Dean, Kelley School of Business, and Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management, Indiana University

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