Our commitment level at PFSbrands is different from other companies. Our employee owners have daily exposure to expectations that require them to not just survive but to THRIVE during hard times as well as good times. We are employee owned, are well versed in open communication, and take ownership-thinking very seriously. So how does a leader motivate in this type of environment?
Helping your employees develop an ownership mentality benefits them and the organization as a whole. Ownership thinking means taking accountability for the quality and success of the outcome of your work. A culture of accountability, where employees are able to make decisions and are encouraged to take ownership is a powerful characteristic of a successful work environment. This takes an emotional and mental commitment – it takes engaged employees. Thinking like an owner with an ownership mentality comes from within a culture that promotes trust, communication, objectivity, and a stake in the outcome.
Becoming an employee owner is not the same as becoming an employee. When you become an employee owner you accept a position that can really make a difference – not only for yourself, but also for your peers, for the business, and for the community.
20 Years Went By Fast
Wow, 20 years went by fast. It’s hard to believe Pro Food Systems was started as a coffee/cappuccino company on July 13, 1998. Not only was the coffee black, but my hair was too!
My wife Julie and I had our first of three daughters just three months earlier in April of 1998. Julie and I had made a family decision for her to be a “stay at home mom”. I put “stay at home mom” in parenthesis because Julie has been far from that. She’s dedicated the past 20 years to raising our three beautiful daughters and tolerating the work ethic necessary for me to support the growth of PFSbrands.
Businesses exist to produce profits. More importantly, businesses exist to generate cash flow. Without cash flow, businesses fail. When businesses fail, people lose their jobs and the company obviously has no ability to create new jobs. I’m not sure why more leaders don’t communicate and teach the importance of cash flow.
Do You Have a Growth Mindset?
As a company we have been extremely fortunate to grow at a tremendous pace year over year. Since we started in 1998, PFSbrands has experienced well over double digit growth each year. Those of you that are in the business world realize that sustained growth like this is challenging to manage.
In the early days of managing our company, I was not really aware of the fact that everyone has a different mindset. I guess you could say I had blinders on and simply didn’t realize that not everyone had, or would share, the same mentality. Through the years I’ve definitely come to realize that not everyone has a growth mindset…
General Aviation and PFSbrands:
Unless you’ve experienced the advantages of corporate aviation first hand, it’s hard to truly understand the benefits. However, organizations such as the National Business Aviation Association and their members undoubtedly “get it”.
In 2006, our foodservice company PFSbrands started growing well beyond the Missouri state line. Prior to that year we did business in MO, western IL, and eastern KS. I was getting stretched for time as was our top-producing salesperson.
Our company began to grow significantly in Oklahoma and requests from various other states were beginning to trickle in. While this company growth was great, it placed significant demands on my time–the demands I didn’t mind, but the time I didn’t have.
Supermarket and convenience stores face greater challenges when it comes to operating successful foodservice operations. The challenges revolve primarily around the fact that these operators have so many areas that demand their attention.
They are also consistently being challenged with new government regulations and mandates. This combined with the fact that these industries are volume driven and produce razor-thin bottom line margins, makes it difficult to dedicate time to study the necessary foodservice best practices.
Are Entitlements Holding You Back?
One of the great things about leading a fast-paced, high growth company is the ability to see people work hard and be rewarded with career advancement. At Pro Food Systems (PFSbrands) our mission statement starts with:
“We exist to empower our employees and allow them the opportunity to build their futures…”
This has always been an area of business that has really intrigued me. After completely opening up our books nearly five years ago, I thought I would share some more insights on my thoughts and experiences.
Let me start by saying that as a business owner, I have always shared a lot of information with my employees. While I did not always share the complete financials of the company, I was mostly open with the sales figures.
With that being said, the profitability of our company has improved drastically since developing an open book management approach in late 2011. The percentage going to our bottom line has improved EVERY year since 2011.