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Trust-and-Track: A New Approach to Small Business Success

Nick Sarillo

October 10, 2012

"We all know bosses who adopt a rigid, rule-bound, Command-and-Control approach to management. But do we love them? Will we move heaven and earth to achieve superior performance for them and the company? Will we put our heart into our work even when these bosses don't happen to be standing over us? My two Nick's Pizza and Pub restaurants in suburban Chicago are among the top ten busiest independent pizza chains in the United States, as measured in per-unit sales. Our margins are often twice those of the average pizza joint, while employee turnover is less than 20% per year in an industry that averages 150%. My employees do love to come to work—and it shows, each and every day. I didn't get numbers like that or the love of my employees by dictating their every behavior, insisting things be done my way, and punishing them when they go astray. You won't find any surveillance cameras in my restaurants—although many people tried to sell me them when I first opened, and friends and associates told me I needed them. You sometimes won't even find a manager supervising our team members during a shift. (Yes, you read that right, no managers!). What you will find is a culture of trust in which everyone—from the most junior team-member on up—strives every day to do their very best, and has fun doing it. [...] If I can stop policing my workforce of sixteen and seventeen year-olds—not normally considered the most motivated and trustworthy of employees—and achieve world-class results, just think what you can accomplish in your business."

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