Author Archive for: ‘Leslie Phillips, President & COO’

Meet Your Motivation


When we work in teams, like in busy kitchens, we occasionally think about how to motivate each other. Or…if that’s even possible. Can one human really motivate another? That is debatable. But think of it this way…have you felt inspired by another? Have you watched someone perform a skill or hear them describe how they got from point A to point B in their life, and felt encouraged that maybe you can accomplish ____, too? (whatever that ____ may be…run a marathon, learn a second language, plant a garden, seek a promotion).

According to the experts, we all have “native”, intrinsic motivations that are formed early in our lives. DiSC assessments have a section devoted to this topic. If you search the web, there are many self-tests…like this quirky one sponsored by Oprah. Whatever your motivation style is…give yourself a chance to feed it every day and surely you will inspire others by your example.




It’s almost a new year which means in the next 48 hours we will see clips of “2015′s greatest or biggest…” – sports moments, news stories, movies, memes, etc…

And, we may find ourselves saying – or thinking…”I wish I had made time to ________”, followed by “I resolve to ______”. 
As you do, consider these messages: 
A repeat from Dr. Wayne Dyer (who passed away in 2015)

“…you can go about resolving until the cows come home, and you still have to live your life just like everyone else on this planet – ONE DAY AT A TIME…set up day-to-day goals for yourself… for example, instead of deciding you are going to give up sugar for a year, resolve to go one day without eating sugar. Anyone can do virtually anything if it is for only one day.” 


And, from part of Dorothy Hunt’s poem “Peace”:
Do you think peace requires an end to war
Or tigers eating only vegetables?
Does peace require an absence from your boss, your spouse, yourself?
Do you think peace will come some other place than here?
Some other time than now?
In some other heart than yours?
Peace is this moment without judgement.
That is all.


Peace to all – one day at a time

Elementary Wisdom


As we get ready for Thanksgiving and the meaning we attach to our meal…the gathering and togetherness and gratitude…we also can find ourselves marking time. Maybe we only eat a certain food on this day…or see certain people…or use certain china…or visit a certain home. Just this one day. And so from childhood to adulthood we go through variations of Thanksgiving rituals from simple to elaborate, while marking time, year to year. 

Recently, when Rie Godsey and I were visiting one of our partners (a day school in Northern Virginia), I saw a handmade poster that was titled at the top, “Traits we are working to grow in the Lower School.” It had colorful sticky notes calling out the traits and examples. Optimism. Perseverance. Flexibility. Resilience. Self-Awareness. Empathy. 

And I thought…wow…these are traits I (and grown-ups, everywhere) can work to grow, too. 

There is a lot of wisdom in what we learned and experienced as children. From traits to work on, to how Thanksgiving started.

The “first Thanksgiving” was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance. 

So enjoy the family, the football, the day off, or the china you only use once a year, while remembering what you learned about this holiday (and traits you can work to grow) so long ago…the beauty of each human life, the gift of food and the hands that grow it, and the spirit of reconciliation.




A manager, supervisor, leader who believes in the power of mentorship.

New word. Old idea.

Want to retain your best employees? Want to increase satisfaction for yourself and those around you? Studies show that active mentorship raises retention rates among those being mentored and those providing the mentoring. It’s a classic win-win. Why? Not surprisingly, human beings like to perform well…and…they like to help others do the same. Mentorship is a relationship and its purpose is to build a support system where ideas are exchanged, constructive advice is given, and opportunity to grow are fostered.

8 Qualities of Strong Mentors:

1. Skilled and knowledgeable

2. Trust builder (not “zapper”)

3. Active listener (with your whole body)

4. Strong analyst

5. Honest, clear communicator (what’s expected, what they’re seeing, using measurable criteria)

6. Committed and reliable

7. Role model (“be the mentor you wish you had”)

8. Cheerleader (guidance + encouragement)

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

- Benjamin Franklin


Love food (don’t waste it)

Every day we (all mankind) hope to eat, whether we gather and prepare the food ourselves or someone else does.

But, consider these facts:
795 million people, right now, don’t have enough food. That’s about 1 in every 9 people on our planet. And most of them are in developed countries.

3.1 million children under the age of 5 die each year because of poor nutrition. That’s 45% of all deaths among children under 5 in the world.

And…yet…40% of edible food ends up in the trash.

So, what can we do about this?

Each time we prepare with care, and not too much…we do something about this.
Each time we practice fresh, local, scratch…we do something about this.
Each time we sweat all the temperatures…we do something about this.

Rie and I recently had the chance to visit a school dining program not operated by MG. We saw food prepared hours before it would be eaten; very little scratch or batch cooking; canned corn, canned soups, canned beets, too many cans to mention…

Every day…we can make a difference by being different.


September is…when the pools close? when kids are finally back to school everywhere? start of real football season? Yes, yes, yes. 

AND, it’s food safety month! What? Isn’t every month…and every day that?

How clean and safe is your food service establishment right now? Can you find one thing that could be cleaner? If someone claimed they got sick from your food, do you know and could you prove they didn’t?

By the most recent estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tainted food sickens 48 million Americans a year, sends nearly 128,000 of them to the hospital and leaves more than 3,000 dead. Read more.

Use this whole month to get habits, routines, results  assuring that your business is clean and safe.

National Food Safety Month was created in 1994 to heighten the awareness about the importance of food safety education. Each year a new theme and free training activities and posters are created for the restaurant and foodservice industry to help reinforce proper food safety practices and procedures. Meriwether Godsey has partnered with the NRA since that time to provide the best food safety training! 

See You at the Super Bowl

VES Green

You don’t have to like football to know football season is upon us…covers of magazines, TV, people starting to wear their team apparel. So, instead of groaning (like we all do when holiday decorations start popping up in August…), let’s see how we can put it to use. 

Our teams don’t make touchdowns…they make WOW! Our teams don’t have linemen and running backs, they have utility stewards and cooks. Our district managers don’t stand on the sideline building human pyramids, they see details and offer an ear or a hand when one’s needed. And our fans don’t wear foam chef dudes on their heads, they wear smiles on their faces and say – “oh man, lunch was the BEST”. So, a little different but kind of the same?!? 

Every head coach and team owner wants players destined for the hall of fame at every position…and they draft with that dream in mind…but they also know they can win with players who care about the team, are willing to work hard, and look to improve their skills every day. Get your team to the Super Bowl (or Gold Certified — ok, Bronze will do) by having each person fit that description!

Making That Connection


As we launch into another year of operations, I know many of us have had some time to think about our work styles and how we communicate with one another. I recently ran across this article by a woman who teaches at Duke and who helps people who are moving into executive roles…but that’s not what caught my eye. It was the fact that the article was about improving communication. Bottom line: no matter who we are (big wig executive in a large corporation or not) we can always get a little better at this!

Here are some highlights:

  • Read people: look for nonverbal cues, especially eye contact
  • Watch your “emotional thinking”: filtering out the positive and focusing only on the negative; black or white thinking where you don’t consider gray areas; over-generalizations where one event colors your thinking
  • Honor promises: do what you say you are going to do
  • Be open and value others
  •  …but…pick one thing to work on!

All About That WIG

WIGS (680x370) (1)

Let’s play multiple choice: Which of the following is a true statement?

a) We’ve just completed the first Period of our “new year.”

b) We’re preparing for our annual company meeting next week.

c) Every MG account is thinking about their WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) for next year.

d) All of the above. 

Hmm….pretty easy question. Right? 

Do you have 8 minutes? If you watch this 8 minute video, you will get the best reinforcement of why WIGs are so wildly important, and how to work them this next year in a way more effective than ever before. Really. 

And if you have another 3 minutes and 44 seconds…see how a hospital went from the bottom 3% to the top 99% in patient satisfaction…because they worked their WIGs. Check it out and get inspired for WIG work!

The Extra Person


There’s a notion in business that you have an extra person at the table (or, in the kitchen…) when you have a strong, positive culture. This extra person helps attract the best talent, retain long-term key people (at every level), take care of your customers, grow your opportunities and protect your future. So a panel of experts talking about this at the NRA show is no surprise.

Constantly defining, teaching and modeling what makes MG unique is how we make sure Culture remains an extra person in our midst. Starting with our core values…and bringing them to life, every day: Got wow? See the style? Feel and taste the love? Having fun as we’re being flexible?

And, once again, change is part of the picture, even when talking about Culture. A few quotes from the panel of experts:

“It’s about the here and now, not the way it’s been forever…encourage people to constantly grow with you and prepare them for change…If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.”

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