This is an open plea to Jerry Deitchle from the attendees of the People Report Best Practices Conference: Please, do a book.
Write down all the pearls you shared today about your role as CEO of BJ’s Restaurants. Give us a single handy resource for your folksy expressions, which pack an intelligence that'd prompt any self-respecting consultant to double his rates. We particularly loved how you characterized your current role at one of the industry’s best-performing brands, and how it differs from your prior responsibilities as a CFO:
--You’re no longer a profit optimizer, now you’re a sales driver, instilling that sales-building mindset into the organization’s very DNA.
--You’re no longer the caddy, now you’re the golfer, “the one who actually has to drive the ball,” as you put it.
--You’re a stagecoach driver who’s leading—not driving—a team of really good horses, i.e., your staff.
--“I’m a recovering accountant.”
--Your LinkedIn bio lists your title as Chief Dishwasher.
Some of us might’ve been skeptical about the humility that was ascribed to you by our conference hostess, Joni Doolin. She recounted how you responded when she decided to present you with a People Report award: “What, have you run out of people to give it to?”
But you convinced us with the things you said, like being uncomfortable with having your picture in the program guide alongside the luminaries who’ve previously won the Legacy Award (Doug Brooks, Joe Lee, Lou Kaucic, Phil Hickey.) “Maybe you can put the BJ’s logo in place of my picture in next year’s listing,” you suggested. And we don't think you were kidding.
Finally, we want to hear more advice like the nugget you offered at the close your presentation, which was basically an explanation of how you came to appreciate human resources specialists after initially failing to understand their value. That was a dicey admission to make to an audience of HR specialists.
But you redeemed yourself with your tip: “Never take that first no from your CEO as the final no.” If there’s an HR initiative that’s stoked your passion, come back at him or her, using data—“Always use data; drive data points whenever you can,” because that’s what’ll get to them.
So, Jerry, let’s get to it. Fire up the keyboard and give us some more of your thinking.