Formulas For Leading

We had an object lesson in my home last month. While preparing to cook dinner, I was measuring out ingredients for the recipe. Suddenly I was aware that a few of my kids were watching. Due to my years of experience in foodservice, it’s pretty well established in our home that when I’m cooking in the kitchen . . . stay out of my way!! My wife will vouch for the day she was in my path talking to me as I was in dinner-rush mode, and I picked her up and placed her at the doorway of the kitchen and continued on!

Yet even more startling than the kids being in the kitchen was that I was saying out loud the measurements and conversion for the recipes I was making.  “Ok, 113 grams is about 4 ounces”, “6 cups is a quart and a half”, went my math. The kids were looking on as if I was come new zoo exhibit, half laughing and half in awe at the sight. When I asked them what they were looking at, my teenage step-daughter smirked and said, “You’re counting.” I then explained I was measuring everything for dinner. Her and her brothers looked puzzled and I said, “You don’t like math, do you?” She shook her head “No.” “Well, guess what, kiddo, you do use math after you get out of school. Other wise you won’t be able to eat!” “Yeah but I’ll buy my food at the store,” she replied. My answer: “You need to add up your money and then count your change when you’re done.” I smiled. She left. (Dinner was delicious that night, by the way!!)

Over the next few days, I thought about the various formulas relating to management and leadership that I’ve been taught by various people over my career dating back to college. In reflecting on these, I am amazed that I still use this “math” that has been a fabric of my leadership style over the years. Their impact on my career has been tremendous that I feel compelled to share with you.


(Dr. John Miller, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire)

As a 2nd semester college freshman I was so excited to get into Dr. John Miller’s “Principles of Marketing” class. Dr. Miller, a former VP of Marketing for Del Monte, was perhaps the most popular professor on the Plymouth State University campus in the 1980’s. Professor Miller was not only able to engagingly teach, but infused fun into his class and made you want to learn. But his tagline every class was “Business is People”. He believed that principle so much, that he branded it into our heads to place that on every paper and exam that was turned in. (Plus he would give us extra points on the exam for doing so). As I grew up in my leadership career, this principle has been proven over and over again without fail. Successful business is about people, plain and simple.

Alumni to this day still talk fondly of this 30 years later. Dr. Miller’s leagcy lives on, but this formula will remain forever.


(McDonald’s Corporation)

I worked for a number of years in the McDonald’s franchise system to put myself through school. Up to that time, their training was a model for consistency and cadence. Much of what I learned still applies across my life, but this nugget almost faded away until about 7 years ago. When it popped into my mind again, it was like discovering a new treasure. In a day where people demand, instead of command respect, this boils it down to the “give to get” principle. You must give your teams a sense of trust in you, as well as the knowledge sufficient to do your job, in order to get/gain respect. Drop any degree of value on either rust or knowledge, and watch the respect value will go down as well. But if you work hard to both learn and grow your trust factor, the respect factor will increase, maybe even exponentially.

V=PxQxSS ^ **


Karl Holz, President, Disney Cruise Lines

Long before Karl Holz became a renowned President for Disney Cruise Lines,  he was VP of Theme Park and Restaurant Operations at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. Karl would hold supervisor/management training classes for the food service and retail operations, and during one of the classes he expounded on this formula for hospitality success. Coming from the old “price times quality equals value” model from the 50’s, Karl explained how the times have added a customer who places a premium on service (70’s) and is now stressed both in time and life (90’s). This model served to help us understand not WHO our customers were, but WHAT they represented and HOW we can better serve them. This formula is fluid, and if I may take liberties to make it a relevant equation today, you could divide this by the factor that our customers are all interconnected or wired:


Customers today have more information and can impact your business. By knowing how our customers have evolved, a leader can be better equipped to meet the market need and lead their staff to greater success.

I have 3 more formulas to follow, but let’s process these equations for a bit and see if they can lead us upwards in business.


About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on September.22.2013, in Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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