Name: Ken Brown
Title: Servant Leader
Organisation: Brown Food Group, LLC
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Ken's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging aspect of being a leader is who leads the leader? As the leader, everyone is looking and depending on you for guidance, direction, correction and encouragement but who provides you with guidance, correction and most importantly encouragement. If I can be totally transparent, leadership can sometimes be lonely.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My leadership journey started with my father being such a great leader in the house and community. I was able to see and understand servant leadership on display everyday, After graduating from college I was provided the opportunity to lead a team of 30 people and it there I began to develop my skills and adopt my own style of servant leadership. By the age of 33, I was offered the awesome opportunity to purchase 2 McDonald’s franchises and with that opportunity came 200 employees which required me to take my leadership to a whole other level. At this point, I learned 2 of the most valuable lessons in leadership. First, to whom much is given much is required and secondly, To be truly great you must first serve others.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up between 4:30AM - 5:00AM and begin each day with prayer. I pray for clarity, direction, strength, wisdom, finances my family. After praying, I work out for 60 minutes and then I begin my work day. Most days work consists of meetings, conference calls and site visits with internal and external customers. I normally end my day by driving to my local park and enjoying a walk to processing my day by doing a review/preview. I simply review the things that worked well that day and the things that could have been done better and then I preview the things that I have to get done the next day. I then head home before dinner with my family and I make it a habit not to take work home. I’m normally in bed and sleeping by 10PM
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I have two lessons that I’ve recently been reminded of. First, “Leaders Know the Way, Show the Way and Go the Way “ and secondly, “Leader always Eat Last”
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I believe that readers are leaders and I have literally read thousands of books but the book that has had the greatest impact on my leadership is the Bible. The Bible is packed with timeless leadership principles and stories that you can apply daily. The stories of how Jesus was able to lead and transform the lives of millions with clarity and humility is fascinating. The greatest lesson that I learned from this book is “To be Truly Great you must first serve others“ The Bible has also taught me that leadership is not about you but it is up to you!
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would tell a young leader to say humble and hungry! A boss has the title but the leader has the people. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them! Never put profits before people and you will always be successful as a leader
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I had a 72 year old employee named Mrs Ruthie. Mrs Ruthie was an excellent employee, she was professional, punctual and very productive. Mrs Ruthie just did her job to the best of her ability and expected everyone else including me to do the same. No excuses only results was the energy that she brought everyday. Even though she was 72 she still operated with a spirit of excellence which forced me to level up my leadership. I never knew that Mrs Ruthie was watching me as I watched her and one day while working she pulled me to the side and said “ I have heard many sermons in my life but people would rather see a sermon than to hear one” she thanked me for not talking about leadership but actually walking it out everyday in my business and that is when I knew I had become a servant leader.