One of my favorite TV shows is “Restaurant Impossible!” It’s a popular reality show where a struggling owner of a restaurant, deep in debt and about to go out of business, brings in an expert consultant to help turn things around. The expert is Chef Robert Irvine and he faces the daunting challenge of saving a failing restaurant from closing its doors. Chef Robert spends the first day observing how the owner operates and personally samples all of the food on the menu. This is key as he tries to figure what is keeping the restaurant from being successful. By day 2, Chef Robert sits down with the owner and begins to reveal his suggestions for turning things around. He begins by critiquing the food, the overall appearance of the restaurant, and the competence of their management and staff. This is the part that can be hard for the owner and those of us watching. Chef Robert does not hold back! As the leader and taskmaster of each mission, Mr. Irvine is a drill sergeant with a physique and résumé to match! His culinary training began with the Royal Navy, and he later cooked in the White House.
As I watched a recent episode I was curious to see how well the restaurant was doing since it had been “made over” by the show. I was surprised to find out that the restaurant had closed it’s doors 3 months after the show aired! I then discovered after digging a little deeper, that out of the 74 restaurants that were featured on the show, more than half have either closed or been sold since being featured on the show. I couldn’t believe it! What happened? You would think that a national TV show coming and pouring in time, money, and expert consulting would make a lasting difference! It does in some cases but not all. Why? I believe the issue is a capacity for leadership. Many people don’t understand what it takes to be a great leader. Leaders are not born they are made. Leadership success happens “on purpose.” It is never an accident. Leaders know their purpose and are consistent in developing other leaders. Leaders continually pursue their purpose and are passionate about finding their calling. Leaders believe in their dreams and are always pushing forward. They don’t give up easily and they strive for excellence. They are always excited about seeing someone else achieve their dreams. At some point, the owners of the failed restaurants either forgot these principles along the way or they never understood them to begin with.
All of us are called and qualified to lead at some level. We lead our peers, our families, even ourselves!
Leadership doesn’t happen just because we have been given a position. As John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.” Maybe you are in a difficult situation and you wish so badly that an expert would sweep in and rescue you or your organization and give you all the skills that you need for success. That would be great but it may not be “the answer.” The answer is found in developing a greater capacity for leadership within yourself and becoming the great leader that God has called and equipped you to be! ~MM