The Role of Grub in Performance Management

(Guest Author Jared Olsen, for Real. Simple. Leadership.)

Grub, food, chow, it all plays a vital part in effective leadership.  Having worked in leadership for over 10 years I’ve had many difficult conversations.  Those conversations have been most effective when I’ve been honest, bold, and surrounded by grub.  Take for example the employee’s perspective when grub is not involved.

“John, do you have a minute we could talk in my office?”  As John sits down he has no idea what is going on, is sitting on a hard wooden chair, the office door is shut, and the manager I am taking a position of power sitting behind their desk as John is totally exposed.  “John, I’ll get straight to it, we’ve received complaints about your customer service.”  John is now on the defense, scared, and alone.  The result, is whatever you say could go in one ear and out the other for John and he fears going into your office ever again.

Now let’s look at involving grub to this conversation.

“John, I was wondering if you might be free at lunch today to go grab a bite of food with me?”  John says, “Sounds great, what’s up?”  “I’ve been getting some customer feedback that I’d like to talk to you about.”

John now has time to prepare and reflect on his recent customer service, this way he shouldn’t be blindsided.  When you go out to eat, you’re both in a neutral location where no one has home field advantage.  Food invites casual conversation, small talk, and puts you both at ease.  This is a great time to show the human side of who you both are.

“John, I wanted to share some feedback with you about your customer service.  I know that there are some areas we can improve on and I just want to know your thoughts and how I can help.”

John is not defensive but now views his manager as a resource and someone willing to help.  Instead of feeling alone, he feels empowered, and working with you, John has a leader instead of a manager.  What changed?  Grub.  Food puts you at ease and helps more important conversations result.


jared-olsenDuring his career, Jared Olsen has promoted innovative and unique ideas to the business community in Utah.  Jared started his career in Human Resources and has worked for large and small businesses, and has seen the importance of leadership and company culture which has led to the success and demise of several businesses.

Jared received his undergraduate from the University of Utah, and his MBA from University of Phoenix.  Jared is a certified SPHR and SHRM-SCP.  Jared has been the President of the Salt Lake Society for Human Resource Management, sits on a compensation committee with South Jordan city to consult with the Mayor on city staffing and compensation needs, and is the creator of the largest LinkedIn group in Utah focusing on HR called, Salt Lake City Human Resource Professionals.

Jared currently is the Owner of REYFYA (ray-fee-a) which is an outsourced culture company.  Jared truly believes the root cause of any business issue is a cultural opportunity.  Whether it is leadership, training, hiring, or coaching, culture is at the heart of any business.  REYFYA’s approach to culture shows the human side of businesses and has a fresh millennial approach.  Additionally, Jared is the Director of Business Operations at Xima Software which is the 4th fastest growing company in Utah, and two-time winner of the best place to work in Utah with under 40 employees.  In 2015 Jared was selected as a CXO Winner by Utah Business Magazine as one of the up and coming C-Suite executives in the state of Utah.

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