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

From difficult to delightful

Dan Pink’s new show Crowd Control (on National Geographic) evaluates through some very interesting and interactive exercises…with willing human participants…what drives our behaviors and what it takes to change them.


Occasionally, we need to change (or develop or grow or modify – whatever word works for you) our behaviors, yes?  Maybe to get along better (or more effectively) with our kids, partner, co-workers? Maybe to get and stay organized? Maybe to tackle a personal goal, quit a habit? Yes?


Dan summarizes it for us (but read the short article for more great insight), especially as we lead teams and individuals who may need or require some help with a difficult behavior:
  • First, get their attention
  • Telling people what to do doesn’t work, showing them does
  • Make them feel something
  • When nothing else works, distract
  • Tell them why

The New Year is coming…great time for tackling “difficultness”…practice on you!


With a little holiday down-time in front of us, here’s a question: got creative attitude? Check out this list. Recognize any “killers”?


1.  I know this problem
2.  I know the solution
3.  I’m a hard nosed realist
4.  I’m an expert
5.  I see things as they are


Instead of sinking a tire in an old pot hole (again), find a different road. Stuff happens that we can’t control (or don’t see coming), but for those recurring challenges…un-stifle our creative attitudes (lose the killers!)…and ahhh, new road!

Two words


Things move fast in the kitchen, and when the day is done, things move fast…out.
This article came advertised as “how to communicate in two words.” I’m thinking…this could be a good thing in a place where there’s not much extra time!


“Words are tools of influence. At the beginning, you say things you need to say. As time passes, you learn to say what others need to hear.”


Two words can..

deflate (“you lose”)
prompt action (“what’s next”)
help when things go wrong (“forgive me”, or “it happens”)
compliment when things go right (“love it”)
challenge (“try again”)


As we hustle and bustle in our ever-busy work and personal lives:

  • Speak to make things better.
  • Be courteous (or…kind, positive and gracious). Good manners matter most when you feel like ignoring them!

Ben Franklin

Positivity vs Negativity - Two-Way Street Sign

Twice in less than four weeks a quote from Mr. Franklin has been a source of inspiration. At MG’s Foodie QA meeting last month (thank you team Hollins for graciously hosting us!) we started our day with this: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” A great reminder that when we include and engage one another, we can…and do…accomplish so much more.

But, inevitably, we are faced with an unhappy “customer” (guest, client, or even a team member — “internal customer”). In Angry Client?  Listen and Keep Your Cool, there’s some guidance on how to turn their frown upside down (including a second quote from Ben):
1.  Attitude: when approached (in person or through email), decide how you will feel — attacked or empowered? YOU get to decide this. Really. These situations are always a chance to prove your value (and MG’s), so decide that you will.
2.  Detach: be professional (depersonalize), suspend judgment, and….move to step 3.
3.  Listen: someone unhappy wants and needs to be heard…give them that. Keep your entire focus on them, their words, and what’s behind them (even if they’re wrong and even if you don’t understand).
4.  Focus: seek that temporary, partial or even total remedy. They are coming to you because you CAN do something to help them (even if it’s just to listen).
5.  Examine: here’s the second piece of Ben Franklin advice: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Can you say process check? Figure out how to avoid this situation in the future. Is it communication? Is it logistics? Whatever it may be, you’ll find out if you do a process check.

Just Another Day?

make a difference phrase on blackboard

Maybe today is your birthday, maybe it’s a major holiday, maybe it’s your first day in a new job or with a new team or in a new place, maybe it’s a Wednesday or a Saturday, maybe it’s raining or not, maybe you have catering tonight, maybe you’re down an employee, maybe you’re getting a haircut later…or maybe none of the above.  Is it just another day?


Is time flying by or is it creeping?  Are you startled that the pool has closed and Christmas decorations are starting to pop up?


Since so many of us work to the rhythm of education, it is that crazy busy and crazy fresh opening season.  Lots of to-do’s, long days, pop-up requests…so let’s keep it simple and soak up the wisdom of Jane Goodall:

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

What Do We Hear When We Listen?


We know hearing and listening are two different things. Maybe we haven’t all been parents, but we’ve all been children, right? And it usually wasn’t our ears’ fault. A good friend recently shared with me this wisdom (that she gained from her daughter who heard it from her professor, which is a nice story of its own), “Listen. Waiting to talk is not listening”. Connecting with each other depends on us being able to do this. But, it can be tough to do. Not because we don’t care, but because our minds are full of actions, reactions, scripts, to-do’s, etc.

“Conscious listening is difficult, especially in our crazy busy world today with so many urgencies and distractions. As author Leo Babauta says, ‘We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea of how to reduce the flow.’”

How to be a conscious listener offers the above quote, as well as this advice: be patient, be fully present, be willing to understand and learn. In other words, set your mind to it and it will follow.

Better, Better, Best

Much the same way professional athletes practice (even more than when they were first learning), so should leaders. Finding the advice, model, wisdom that fits you and your work is important. Blending your style with “accepted” best practices (like leading situationally and reading clever articles like The Management Art of Cooking) is equally important.  And, practicing every day…is most important.
Connecting with our individual teammates, evaluating every meal, thinking and talking about our blind sides…is like practicing a 10 foot putt until you make 3 in a row.  It’s how we get better, stay better, taste better, look better.

Foodie Revolution

Coming at us from every direction are varying philosophies, policies, and opinions about what’s “wrong” with what we eat and how much.  From recent articles suggesting food should be regulated like cigarettes to current disease in our animal food sources (beef and pork) to controversial documentaries about our industry as a whole, there is no debating the fact that we (people who love and serve food) are in the hot seat.
On May 16 a handful of MG school locations participated in the Food Revolution event created by Jamie Oliver to introduce kids to cooking and real foods – something we see as our mission every day.
From the front door to the back door we promise our customers real foods (embrace fresh, local, scratch – always!). The best way for us to add positive energy to this growing global concern is to do our thing…and make sure everyone knows what that is.

High Five!


You probably don’t need an article to tell you that people who work…are more invested in what they do…when they have positive relationships with their coworkers and supervisors.


After all, loving people and serving others is at the core of our core.


But, Five Things Great Managers Do Every Day, is excellent. 


The very first of the five:  be straightforward.


Trust is the gatekeeper to connection. A great manager doesn’t sugarcoat bad news, evade the facts, or attempt to spin. She respects her employees enough to give them the truth, even if it’s not the most palatable thing to hear on a Monday morning. Great managers inspire their team by being authentic, direct, and honest.


Read on!
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