To the Manna Family:
My brief comments this morning were shared in the hope that Manna and all those within the Manna family are striving to be the best version of themselves they can possibly be. After touring the Michigan market, and touring is always one of the highlights of the year for me, I realized how important it is for each of us to desire to be the best we can be.
As I entered café after café, the joy, excitement, and pride in many was palpable. These tours are brief visits to thank you, to encourage you, and to hopefully give you a moment to highlight your team and all you are accomplishing. These visits are a time for you to shine and be proud. For me they are an illustration of the care taken to do things either the right way or the wrong way, either with pride or without it. All of us in leadership have a responsibility, one that I believe is deeply needed today more than ever, to teach and develop in those we lead a desire to be the very best they can be. To teach them life lessons that will instill in them a desire for excellence. A desire for excellence in how they do their work, how they present themselves, how they seek to advance by holding to standards we have created and, most of all, by how they lead and improve their teams just by who they are. Every one of us impacts those around us, either for better or for worse, through our attitudes and how we do what we do. We need people around us who desire to be with us and who care about the Panera brand and the culture we have all worked so hard to develop over the past two decades at Manna. In a world today where everyone receives a trophy for just participating and where appreciation is expressed just for showing up, it is harder than ever to develop an attitude of excellence.
I have called for 2021 to be the “Year of Our People.” What exactly does this mean and what does this look like? It means raising the bar, setting the standard high and seeking the gold standard in all areas of our company. It means delivering on Quality, Service, and Cleanliness through having the best trained people in the industry. It means hiring, training and keeping only the best of the best, from our DOs to our newest associates. No longer should we talk about the amazing folks at In-N-Out Burger or the incredibly positive attitude of Chick-fil-A employees. We must strive to be that organization Panera and our communities speak of when they think of excellence.
This will take all of us to be honest and to truly examine ourselves and those we lead in order to determine if we are striving to be the best version of ourselves we can be. We must assess what corners we may be cutting, what we have ignored far too long in the cafés, and where we have been taking advantage of Manna by not giving our all. We must simply ask ourselves, “Am I excited about my role at Manna and am I doing my job with excellence, joy and pride, or has mediocrity and boredom slipped into my life?”
It will not be easy, but I am calling on all of us, from those in the cafés to those in the office, to ask these questions of ourselves and our organization. Are we upholding standards of excellence, or are we just getting by in order to receive a pay check. I know many of you care deeply about this, but we must all do better, care more, and exhibit hearts of joy in serving one another. Only through self-examination and a desire for excellence will 2021 be all we can imagine it to be and a year in which our focus is aimed directly on our greatest asset -- each other -- making this truly the “Year of Our People.”
As you ponder these things, and I pray you will take the challenge both personally and corporately, I would ask you to do two things. First, read the section below from an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and second, take a few hours out of your week and watch an old movie called Cinderella Man with Russel Crow. Both the article and the movie speak to wanting to be the best version of oneself versus accepting mediocrity. Our choice is to be people who believe they are owed something in life or people who want to contribute and leave everything they touch better than they found it.
I pray that 2021 will be a year in which we all seek excellence in all we do as well as how we do it. I pray that each of one of us will have the desire to be the Best Version of Ourselves we can possibly be.
In His Grace,
President/CEO Manna Development Group
1 Peter 4:8-11
Every Guest Every Time