April 11, 2011 PhilBell

Leadership Lessons I Learned From Baja Fresh

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Last night was one of the few Sunday’s I get to watch TV with my wife. I wasn’t too certain what Undercover Boss was really about, but I had seen some positive tweets about it. I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch it! The CEO of Baja Fresh, David Kim was the undercover boss. Above is a quick excerpt from the show, and here are some leadership takeaways I gleaned:

1) PEOPLE FOLLOW AUTHENTICITY: Right at the beginning of the show I felt a little awkward as I watched a CEO shedding tears for his family and staff. I felt awkward because it was not quite what I expected of a CEO. However, as the show went on I really appreciated the heart and authenticity of David Kim. His authenticity as a leader was magnetic and his people seemed deeply committed to him and to Baja Fresh. Sometimes as leaders, we somehow think that we can’t be transparent with our feelings. However, I believe the Millennials that we lead need this kind of authenticity more than ever…

2) LEADERS SHOULD DO LESS AND CARE MORE: Toward the end of show David Kim expressed how his busyness impacts his care for people. He said something like, “The busier I become, the less I care about people… the more selfish and self focused I become”. It made me stop and consider my schedule and how task focused I can become at times? When I focus on tasks and programs too much, it is easy to depersonalize the people I minister to. It’s imperative that I delegate and find intentional space in my schedule to ensure that people are my focus not tasks. What about you?

3) LEADERS SHOULD UNDERSTAND THEIR PEOPLE: At the beginning of the show David Kim shared the idea of being an Undercover Boss with the board of Baja Fresh. He expressed the hope that he could understand his staff and their work better. It meant getting into their world, understanding their issues, and living life side by side. It challenged me to consider how much I am in the world of my students and leaders? Do I understand their issues? I mean, really understand? It’s not about reading the latest culture update or latest book on youth culture… It’s about getting in the trenches with students and leaders and seeking to understand them. It takes time, questions, and commitment to listening…

4) LEADERS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE: I loved this CEOs office… Well, actually it was a cubicle. He was accessible to his staff and colleagues. It also sent a powerful message of, “I am on the team in the trenches with you”. How available are we? How easy can students and leaders get in touch with us? Are we in their world hanging out in places where they are? Are in their world hanging out being available to the people we minister to? Or, are we stuck in a church offices a world away from the people we need to understand?

5) LEADERS SHOULD HURT FOR THEIR PEOPLE: Quite amazing was the depth of compassion this man had for his staff. I was quite taken back with the way his heart broke for his staff. Even though he has thousands of employees, he cares deeply for each one… Here are two questions I asked of myself: How much does my heart break for the people I minister to? Am I becoming numb to the hurts of the students I work with? What about you?

Did you see the show? What did you think? What were your takeaways?

 

 

About the Author

PhilBell Phil Bell is a Family Ministry pastor with over 15 years of experience ministering to families. He holds a Masters in Christian Ministry and is a national speaker, columnist, author, and blogger. He’s passionate about investing in families and equipping parents to reach the next generation for Christ. He’s originally from England and now lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Lisa and their three beautiful kids.

Comment (1)

  1. Michelle Bingham

    Thanks Phil. This was my first time watching the show.I taped The Amazing Race and added an hour so this is the show that was on afterwards. I missed the end so thanks for letting me know who he blessed with a franchise. I loved the show and it made me cry. It was awesome to see him praying with the people he just met and truly caring about them. I looked up the closest Baja Fresh and plan to drive from Wayne to Northville to go there. Great episode!

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