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Norman Brinker has become known as an entrepreneur, pioneer, visionary and mentor in the restaurant industry. He has been involved in the industry for over 40 years. In the 1950’s Norman Brinker started his career in restaurants as partner in the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant chain. Here Brinker found a new love for the restaurant business.
Norman Brinker was a manager who became a leader. As manager he was involved in planning and budgeting his restaurants, organizing and staffing them, as well as, controlling and problem solving with in the restaurant. As a manager he helped to reduce uncertainty and stabilize the organizations he was involved in. Norman Brinker became a leader when he developed the restaurant chain Steak and Ale, which he later sold to Pillsbury Corporation and became their vice president. As a leader, Brinker, he set forth a direction for the organization, aligned people with that direction through communication and by motivating people to action through empowerment and by basic needs gratification.
Brinker is seen as one of the most influential chain builders in food service history. He believes that winners attract winners. He shows confidence in himself and has successfully led several companies in a highly competitive industry in which most fail. He surrounds himself with people who believe in themselves and are successful. He feels success is contagious. Brinker has developed a followership at Brinker International of effective followers. Effective followers are the most valuable to a leader and an organization because of the contributions they have. These followers practice self-management and self-responsibility which means they can be relied on hence the protégé Ron McDougall who took the reins as leader when Brinker retired, as well as, aligning McDougall’s predecessors. All believe what Brinker developed at Brinker International, a culture driven by integrity, teamwork, passion, and an unwavering commitment to making sure each and every guest has an excellent dining experience. He also helped promote an ethical organizational culture where people respect one another and work collaboratively in seeking to provide excellent meals and service. Effective followers are also committed to both the organization and a purpose, principle, or person outside themselves. They invest in their own competence and professionalism and focus their energy for maximum impact.
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To become a leader like Norman Brinker would require a lot of work on myself. Unlike Brinker I am not very self-confident and become uneasy with change. Brinker took risks throughout his career in an industry in which most fail. From past experience I have had I lack the self-confidence Brinker states he surrounds himself with. As a follower and coming from a family who works very hard for their goals I always feel unsuccessful because of what my father and Uncle have accomplished in life. I surrounded myself with the wrong crowds growing up and my father was always quick to point this out. This was a very personal question I had to ask myself and than write to explain. I know that as individuals we control our own destiny and dreams. Its also how hard we are willing to work to achieve these goals we have for ourselves. If I were to become a leader I would need to change my ways of thinking and those I hang out with. Brinker stated, “winners attract winners, and the people he has been able to attract over the years are terrific individuals. They want to do better, and that success is contagious.” Brinker led by example and personal involvement in Brinker International. In order for me to develop the skills in which Brinker showed I need to forget my past and move forward. I have taken steps in furthering my education at the University of South Florida, in the school of business. I have always been told by teachers to have leadership skills which hate it or love it creates followers. I need to understand that empowers me to be able to help and lead others on proper paths to success. I also need to build self-confidence in myself. A leader has a personal and active attitude, and believes goals arise from desire and imagination. I need a fresh approach to old problems and be willing to take on risk. I must become comfortable with myself an in solitary work activity developing close and intense working relationships. Finally, I must have a sense of order in life.
The most important leadership lesson in this case to me was setting forth a direction and then developing through communication and motivating others a way to achieve that direction as a whole or individual. As Norman Brinker was a great leader and manager this would not have been possible without sharing his goals with others and them following his lead. When he retired Ron McDougall took the torch and shared Brinker’s vision for the organization. Brinker became the chairman emeritus and still has an active role by traveling and addressing franchisee groups, spreading his casual dining gospel of good management, great food and fun. He questions diners at his former restaurants and competitors to find out exactly what they want in a restaurant. Brinker International’s success is due to the mentoring Norman Brinker provided. He will still be building leadership and mentoring in his capacity as chairman emeritus.