Keynote: Innovation, focus, motivation define top-performing companies

Keynote: Innovation, focus, motivation define top-performing companies

<p><img alt="" src="/site-files/" style="width: 200px; height: 32px; float: left;" /><em>This is part of Nation&rsquo;s Restaurant News&#39; special coverage of the 2016 MUFSO conference, taking place Oct. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency at Reunion Tower in Dallas. Follow coverage of the event on and tweet with us using #MUFSO. Stay connected on the go by downloading <a href="" target="_blank">the MUFSO app</a>.​</em></p>

In researching his latest book, Smarter, Faster, Better, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg studied strategies for boosting productivity and its relationship to corporate culture. The Pulitzer prize-winning author told the MUFSO audience he discovered a strong correlation between companies invested in a commitment culture and success in the marketplace.

Committing to employees doesn’t mean coddling them for life or keeping them regardless of their performance. Rather, Duhigg said, “it’s a culture that says we want to make you better than you are — we want to give you tools so you can be more successful and more productive and get more done.”

The three components that define that corporate style include innovation, focus and motivation.

Innovation, Duhigg said, is a matter of exposure to different experiences and forcing oneself to think about those experiences.

“But that’s not enough on its own,” he said. “If you just spend your time innovating, you never get anything done.”

That’s where focus comes in. Duhigg, using the example of a Qantas pilot who despite the odds landed a troubled airliner safely, defined it as “the active habit of building mental models or telling yourself a story of what’s going on as it occurs.” It’s a trait the most productive individuals share, he said, and a skill worth teaching to managers to help them focus their efforts where needed.

Finally, when it comes to cracking the motivation code, Duhigg said psychological safety — a culture in which team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other — is the key, and that in turn depends on a sense of control.

Several years ago, he said, Starbucks took a step in that direction by empowering store managers and front-line Starbucks employees to determine some aspects of the workspace configuration. That move, said Duhigg, resulted in 13 percent higher employee satisfaction and 21 percent higher customer satisfaction.

“What we’re really doing is preparing people to take more control of their life to become more productive,” Duhigg said.

Contact Megan Rowe at [email protected]
Follow her at @restaurantrowe

The MUFSO Premier sponsor is The Coca Cola Company

Presenting sponsors are: LoyaltyPlant, S&D Coffee, Thanx, The Coca-Cola Company

Keynotes/general sessions are presented by: Avocados from Mexico and Potatoes USA, La Tartine FoodService, Steritech

Pillar sponsors include: Boylan Bottling, GrubHub, JAVI A/V; McCain Foodservice; Smithfield-Farmland; Sweet Street Desserts; Texas Capital Bank; Tyson Foodservice; Univision; Ventura Foods; Whirley-DrinkWorks!

The Monday night awards reception and awards presentation are sponsored by: Avocados from Mexico

Coca Cola presents the Shake, Sparkle & Stir event, and Texas Pete® are sponsoring the MUFSO Kitchen Hero Cook Off, benefiting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign

Hot Concepts Celebration is sponsored by Nestle Foodservice; TABASCO®; Young Guns Produce

MUFSO Breakfast sponsors are Community Coffee and Cholula

MUFSO Lunch sponsors are Cholula and Moore's Food Resources

MUFSO Room Key is sponsored by Arby’s

Refreshment breaks are sponsored by Cholula, Royal Cup Coffee and Wrigley

VIP Dinner sponsored by GrubHub for Restaurants, HAVI, Slade Gorton and Whirley-DrinkWorks!

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