Are your franchisees bullish or bearish about growth and adding units ? Our franchises are growing same store sales with strong double digits and are confident in both their value proposition and in the home office team to continue to support their growth both rapidly and responsibly .
Are commodity / supply costs any cause for concern in your system ? We own much of our supply chain and have significant buying power in the areas we don ’ t own , which allows us to significantly mitigate that risk . We also have the capital necessary to purchase significant inventory when prices are low .
What time do you like to be at your desk ? Our office is very fluid and non-traditional and I ’ m never at my desk for very long . I encourage our team to telecommute when they need some extra time to focus and take a break from the high levels of interaction that exist in our office . I ’ ve found this approach leads to increased productivity , and with the implementation of Slack messaging and other communication technology it is easy to stay up to speed , regardless of where we are working .
Exercise in the morning ? Wine with lunch ? I believe waking up early is one of the consistent habits of highly successful leaders and exercising is a great way to kick off the day . I have my same-page meeting with my COO every Monday at 8 a . m . I don ’ t do wine with lunch during the work day as that would certainly cause a severe reaction with the 8 cups of coffee I drink each morning , but we do have a “ Thirsty Thursday ” event at 4 p . m . from time to time , which includes a choice of beer or wine .
Do you socialize with your team after work / outside the office ? I believe passion and teamwork should be celebrated , so we make a point to schedule offsite events with the team and , of course , a Thirsty Thursday on occasion .
Last two books read : Primed to Perform by Neel Doshi , and Grit : The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth .
What technology do you take on the road ? I prefer technology that can easily fit into my travel backpack . That normally includes my MacBook Air , iPad mini , Kindle
Paperwhite , iPhone , and all the necessary adapters and chargers .
How do you relax / balance life and work ? We have a remote cabin in North Georgia where I go with my wife Teresa and son Paige on weekends . No TV , lots of outdoor activities , meals , and board games . Each year , we usually take a long trip out of the country , or at least out of cell coverage , where I completely disconnect from work .
Favorite vacation destinations : Our family rarely takes the same vacation twice , so our favorite destination can change frequently as we explore new places . However , a family favorite has always been renting a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands for about 10 days and sailing it ourselves . On those vacations , we set our itinerary each morning based on the best-looking island in sight and we ’ re completely unplugged from the rest of the world .
Favorite occasions to send employees notes : I want to get rid of those traditional lines of hierarchy in the corporate structure . So the best interactions I can have with employees are when I can share a great example where one or more of them has fully embodied our culture in a tough situation , or when I can share one of my recent failures with them . Finding the time and place to share , celebrate , and be vulnerable with my team is one of those “ important but not urgent ” priorities . But any Stephen Covey fan will tell you that ’ s where the important stuff happens . When I prioritize correctly and do it , they always turn out to be some of the best moments in my professional career .
Favorite company product / service : I ’ ve always been a technology geek . There are so many new productivity technologies — and they all integrate seamlessly with each other ! Slack , Trello , and Zendesk are examples . They ’ ve given me an amazing arsenal to fight my biggest antiquated tech nemesis : email . We ’ ve completely irradiated email in our internal communications . One day I ’ d like to send email back to the ’ 90s where it belongs .
What are your long-term goals for the company ? My three-year vision for Noble Brands is a $ 100 million company of brands that all have a Noble Purpose and live the same values within our welldefined culture .
How has the economy changed your goals for your company ? I don ’ t let the economy dictate my vision . However , I ’ ve been known to adjust my vision to take advantage of economic conditions , usually through disruption and innovation . I think it can be easy for a company to look to outside forces when things may not be going their way , instead of focusing on developing and executing on a vision that takes advantage of the current and ever-changing economic conditions .
How do you measure success ? By seeing that we ’ re better today than we were yesterday . We can achieve that only by embracing failure and adjusting when that happens . Continuous improvement aimed toward a well-defined vision is the only way I know to measure success in an organization .
What has been your greatest success ? Getting to the point where I can see failure as the necessary ingredient to improvement . It took many years of analyzing my past and finding my biggest successes and tracing them back to a failure . This was essential in my development as an entrepreneurial leader of a larger organization .
Any regrets ? I don ’ t have many , but I do regret not getting an executive coach and getting involved with a peer group sooner . In the last few years , I ’ ve made up for lost time by hiring several amazing coaches with different skill sets and backgrounds , starting my own franchise CEO peer group , and joining the Young Presidents ’ Organization . All three experiences have been invaluable and I wish I had started doing them at least a decade ago .
What can we expect from your company in the next 12 to 18 months ? Right now , we have seven companies operating independently within a supportive framework with an employee population of more than 140 who support a network of more than 500 people in our franchise brands . While our growth this past year has been good , our team spent much of the year preparing the organization for the scale we ’ ll need in the next 3 years , and that work is almost complete . The next year to 18 months will be full of growth and extremely exciting . n