Another in our series on improving the performance of retail operations and improving the quality of life for people in it. Last post, we looked at Nordstrom; today it’s Chipotle. Yesterday, the online magazine Quartz ran a feature on their management approach.
To start off, you have to give them credit for having a unifying vision:
“The foundation of our people culture, on which everything else stands, is the concept is that each person at Chipotle will be rewarded based on their ability to make the people around them better,” [Co-CEO Monty] Moran told Quartz.
Boyd, as you might recall, described a “unifying vision” this way:
In other words, what is needed is a vision rooted in human nature so noble, so attractive that it not only attracts the uncommitted and magnifies the spirit and strength of its adherents, but also undermines the dedication and determination of any competitors or adversaries. Moreover, such a unifying notion should be so compelling that it acts as a catalyst or beacon around which to evolve those qualities that permit a collective entity or organic whole to improve its stature in the scheme of things. Put another way, we are suggesting a need for a supra-orientation or center-of-gravity that permits leaders and other authorities to inspire their followers and members to enthusiastically take action toward confronting and conquering all obstacles that stand in the way.
Chipotle’s vision is designed to produce just such enthusiastic action:
“I walk into a Chipotle and the first thing I do is take notes on how I feel,” Moran says. “Is it fun, is it upbeat, is there camaraderie, is there pride? Enthusiasm? Is the place clean, does it sound and smell good? Is the line moving fast? Do the customers seem happy? How does it feel?
As I’ve been preaching for what seems like forever, if there’s a secret for success, it’s Put your Schwerpunkt on the culture! I can go into any company, or for that matter any organization, and predict how well it will do by looking at how much of their energy the people who run the place put into examining, thinking about, experimenting with, and generally obsessing over the culture. You say you’re already doing that? Great! Do you mind if I take a look at the minutes of your last board meeting? You want to sit down for an hour and let’s go over your last 500 e-mails and messages?
While you’re at it, ponder that you not only need a great culture but one that trends towards improvement.
I know you’re probably tired of hearing this, but the culture should stoke up the creativity and initiative of everyone in the organization and focus it to accomplish the purposes of the organization. If I were to offer a little free advice to the senior management of Chipotle, it might be that they’ve developed a cult of management. As a result, the idea of stoking up creativity and initiative does not appear to extend down to the kitchen floor: “wages for crew and hourly managers are fairly close to the industry average for fast food.” What this means is that although their system is a big improvement on current competitors’, they leave themselves vulnerable to a future competitor who can also tap into the gray matter of the folks flipping the burritos (you know what I mean).