Book Briefs

Dare to Serve

By May 24, 2016March 18th, 2020No Comments

In the fall of 2007, guest visits were declining, sales and profit trends were negative, and the stock price had dropped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.

Cheryl Bachelder was serving as a member of the board of directors for Popeyes’s food chain, when her fellow board members turned to her and said, “We need you to be our CEO.” She grabbed the reigns and went to work.

Today the share price is $52, nearly 17% compounded annually over the past 9 years, and the business is thriving. How did she do it? The details are found in the book she wrote about her experience, “Dare To Serve.”

She embraced “servant leadership”, establishing a purpose for the organization to “inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results.” She called for passion, listening, planning, coaching, accountability 
and humility from it’s leadership team, believing that strong leaders drive engagement by helping employees find purpose in their work.

Here are some of her insights and secrets to daring to serve:

  • When she took over as CEO of the management team they were working on 198 tasks but nobody was working on the key issues. She had them reduce their tasks down to 7 initiatives that would drive the results they desired. These 7 created  a “road map to results.”
  • “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on, but that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully,” says Ms. Bachelder.
  • The biggest role of the leader is to narrow the focus of the organization to the vital few things.
  • She created teams to work on issues and attached resources (money) to teams, taking away resources from tasks and projects that didn’t drive results, eliminating busy work in the process.
  • She asks her team these things annually:
    • “Are we working on the right things that will have a material impact on the business?”
    • “What are you busy with and what should you be working on?” she says. There is a big difference between the two.
  • Her team operates on the premise that, “The only measure of a bold idea is results.”
  • If you plan to take your team to a daring destination, you must reflect on these questions:
    • Have you stated your daring destination and stated to your team why it will work?
    • Have you narrowed the focus of your organization to the vital few things that need to be addressed for the performance to improve?
    • Have you put your money where your mouth is – put people and dollars behind your big idea and unfunded the unimportant things?
  • Popeye’s leaders take responsibility for defining their firm’s values and aligning its deeds with its principles, following these six guidelines to inform its actions:
    • “We are passionate about what we do.”
    • “We listen carefully and learn continuously.”
    • “We are fact-based and planful.”
    • “We coach and develop our people.”
    • “We are personally accountable.”
    • “We value humility.”

Is your team in need of results? Purpose? Something new? A cause to rally around?  Then dare to serve!  Cheryl Bachelder did….and it worked. Why not do the same?

For more information visit Cheryl’s website: Dare to Serve

And to hear her in a 2 part interview on Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast: 


Bill Edmonds is an “Outside-Insider” (an Executive Coach and Consultant), who works with market place leaders to help them reach their full potential in the areas of organizational and personal development. A former Financial Advisor and Market Leader, Bill spent 24 years with Merrill Lynch until his retirement in 2014, where he led a $100+ million per year revenue wealth management business unit as a Director with the firm.

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