GJ Hart grew up in a household of hard-working, immigrant parents who taught him about the importance of being able to take a risk to end up in a better place. Although he was good enough at basketball to attract interest from colleges, Hart eschewed college hoops for working his way through James Madison University, while sending much-needed checks home to support his family.
Hart’s work ethic and capacity for taking risks took him from hanging turkeys at a poultry farm to pay his way through college, to co-owning that same farm eight years later and a career in which he’s either been at, or near, the top of at some of the country’s most successful restaurant businesses. These include Texas Roadhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, where he’s introduced pizza chef certification to drive innovation and quality, and now Torchy’s.
“There’s a reason why it’s narrow at the top,” Hart said. “It takes courage to put yourself out there and put the organization out there, willing to go against the tide and do what it takes to define success and attain it.”
In this podcast, Hart shares six key strategies from his 2018 speech “Lessons in Leadership” delivered at his alma mater. Listeners are in for a treat as Hart explains why leaders should:
1. Challenge themselves to be better today than than were yesterday
2. Believe in big dreams so that they can inspire others to follow
3. Show passion for their work and compassion for those they lead
4. Create an environment where people feel valued and trusted
5. Make sure employees know they can count on a leaders even when they’ve messed up, and
6. Recognize their successes and encourage employees when they make mistakes.
A great listen for the toolkit. Don’t miss it!