Robin and I are 3 weeks into our Toppers World Tour. It continues to feed me. Every single time we pull up in front of a store I turn to Robin and say something like “OK, let’s bring it to these good people.” But the truth is that these good people bring it to me! Truly, the celebration is already going on inside and we’re thankful to get to be a part!
We’ve driven 1722 miles, visited 23 stores at least once and had 8 Town Halls. I’ve shaken the hand and had a conversation with at least 270 Toppers Team Members: students, moms, musicians, runners, teachers, DJs, engineers … and pizza people!
I’ve gone on deliveries, talked to dozens of customers, grilled Doordash drivers and eaten a couple of breadstick ends. I’ve continued reading every day, journaled most days, saw Elton John in concert, called my mom and dad weekly, and met with my leadership team on the road. We’ve eaten Toppers, Rocky Rococo’s, Pizza Luce and Toppers (and some food that wasn’t pizza also). We are dreaming Toppers Pizza. It’s not exactly life in balance, but it is a grand adventure.
I am learning so much. Some of what I’m learning is novel or maybe new in importance. Much of what I’m learning is connecting dots after hearing the same or similar things over and over again. I’m keeping notes and curating my list of bigs. Good stuff.
The normal first question I am asking most people when I meet them is a version of “what do you like about working at Toppers?”.
And the vast majority of the time the next words I hear are “The People”.
It would be so easy to gloss over that answer. To take it for granted, or to think that is the answer at every business or organization. It’s not. Many of the team members that I talk to make a point of drawing a sharp comparison between their experience at Toppers and the experience they have had in all of their other work environments. I hear good things that start with “This is the first place that….”
Very often team members that work at Toppers World Headquarters say the same thing to me after only a week or so. Some pull me aside and make a big deal of telling me what a special thing we have. They think I don’t know and maybe they’re right; after all, I haven’t worked anywhere else for more than 30 years.
Peter Drucker is credited with saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. And that’s what I’m feeling a lot on the road. I see our strength. I see why we win and thrive in even challenging environments. It’s the people, yes, but more than that. It’s the bond that team members have to each other, and the way that bond manifests itself in unified work together, performance, and success.
That is what a team is! When I hear “the people”, what I am really hearing is something more than “just” a group of individuals, I’m hearing that it is a group of unique, caring, talented and diverse individuals that are connected together as one with shared values and purpose.
And we have a fun and special mission in the world to bring our efforts to. We feed people. We bring people together in brief celebrations over the best food on earth!
I love being a pizza man, and I love being part of Toppers Nation. Thank you.
See you out there.