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(L-R) Chester Elton, “All In”, Yvonne Trupiano, Avis Budget Group, G.J. Hart, Calif. Pizza Kitchen, Jodi Walker, Success Alliances at KNX Business Breakfast Series.

Leadership: How to get people “All In” on the same mission

Business leadership experts say to have any chance of succeeding as a manager you need to get your people “All in.” That’s means praise them for “small victories’ and find out what your employees “personal mission’ is. Those were observations of a star-studded business panel at the KNX Business Breakfast SeriesLEADERSHIP: How visionaries create a winning culture.”

The Panel included Jodi Walker, president, Success Alliances; G.J. Hart, CEO/President, California Pizza Kitchen and Best-selling Author Chester Elton, “The Carrot Principle” and “All in.”

“I lived in New Jersey, my kids were into sports, congrats to the Stanley Cup champs LA Kings, anyway Lacrosse, a team sport is a big thing there,  ” said Author Elton.  “My son, who was on the team, and when I called him he said, ‘we won.’ I asked, ‘Did you score a goal?’ He said, ‘No’. I said, ‘Did you pass the ball to someone to score a goal?’ He said, ‘No,” I asked, ‘Did you touch the ball?’ He said, ‘Yes, three times.’ “I said, ‘YES! That’s my boy(Elton shaking his fist into air). We need to recognize people for small victories, not just the big wins at home and on the job,”

Elton said.

Elton noted that whether you manage the smallest of teams or a multi-continent organization, you’re the owner of a work culture –congratulationis- and few things will have a bigger impact on your performance than getting people to buy into your ideas, and believe what they do matters.

“We don’t motivate our employees, we inspire them and it’s all about having a positive attitude,” explained G. J. Hart, executive chairman, CEO and president, California Pizza Kitchen.  Prior to overseeing the California Pizza Kitchen’s 250 restaurants, Hart was CEO of Texas Roadhouse, which owns, operates and franchises more than 350 restaurants. During his 10 years at Texas Roadhouse, he led the company through phenomenal growth, increasing revenues from $63 million to more than $1 billion.

And why are some managers able to get their employees to commit to their culture and go the extra mile that leading to great results? Leading workplace experts teamed up with research giant Towers Watson to analyze an unprecedented 300,000-person study finding, “managers of the highest performing work groups create a “culture of belief”, in other words they believe in their leaders and the company’s visions, values and goals.

The study found most “employers are responding to the economy by expecting employees to work longer hours than before the recession” and sharply cut back on the rate of increase of merit budgets.

“In order to attract good leaders, you have to have good leaders at the organization in the first place,” Yvonne Trupiano, director, Talent Acquisition, Avis Budget Group told the crowd of business owners. “So we’re spending a lot of time on the front end of management to make sure we can bring up leaders on the other end, so is important to have leaders set an example.”

All panelists agreed that companies need to care more about people and their personal mission, too. “People under estimate the value of bringing people together,” said Author Chester Elton.

“Social media is important in getting the message out there, but even more critical is taking employees out of the office and meeting with them one-on-one, because it’s more about them than us,” said CEO G. J. Hart, California Pizza Kitchen.