[May 15, 2020] The first time I heard of Jersey Mike’s sub shop was while attending a New York Yankee’s baseball game in their stadium in the Bronx. What I didn’t know was that their subs are enormously popular in New Jersey and New York. Since their founding in 1956, the owner has expanded his sub-franchise into a sub empire. But what can we learn from Jersey Mike’s?
A recent article1 by John Hughes, brand ambassador for Jersey Mike’s Subs, tells us how to build a “vibrant company culture.” This got my attention. Anytime success is discovered, and someone is willing to tell their story, I’m going to listen. I wondered while getting one of their popular #13 The Original Italian sub, what was it that made them so successful in the food arena where competition is harsh. It could mean only one thing, great leadership.
Author John Hughes says that there are six tips to build and sustain a vibrant company culture. Take note; this includes “build” as well as “sustain” a culture. Building is where most entrepreneurs and leaders focus their attention, but sustaining culture is more complicated. Here are his six tips:
- Define your mission. What is your purpose? This purpose should be front and center; shared throughout the organization. Everyone should be able to enthusiastically explain the company’s reason for being – and live it.
- Recruit those who share common values. “Hire the personality, teach the skills.” Employees must be able to fit the organization. Changing the ways people think, act, and believe is not an employer’s job. If someone doesn’t buy 100% into the company, they are not a good match.
- Believe you can teach anyone anything. The company should be a training company because that is how there is a shared story, tradition, and culture. Everyone who is part of the company should be taught about every aspect of quality products and services.
- Get to the why. Employees need to understand that there is a purpose in their work. This is where leadership matters and how trust is at the heart of the company. Everyone should do their best to carry on the tradition, providing an awesome experience, and developing relationships.
- Consider different learning styles. Figure out how best to reach the individual so that person becomes part of the team. Use a “tell, show, experience” approach. Relentlessly focus on your mission and culture.
- Deliver on your promises. Part of a strong culture is ensuring your teams see you deliver on your promises. Organizations should be in the people business, not just selling stuff. If the people part is in place, profitability will come.
I thought Jersey Mike’s Subs was a great place to eat. I found another one close to my home in southern New Jersey. Go there and see them in action. You will be happy you went.