Last week, I was so intrigued by what Nick Sarillo shared with us around trust-and-track leadership that I wanted to dig deeper. Today, we are fortunate to have Kelsey Smith, Director of Nick’s University, here to take us behind the scenes to learn more about creating success with Millennials, with a focus on her story and the Nick’s U trust-and-track leadership training.
Welcome to week 2 of our Millennials in the Workforce Series where we highlight the generation who is coming into the workforce and changing how we run our businesses. This series was inspired by the huge response (well over 5 million views) to Simon Sinek’s recent interview on Inside Quest where he answers the “Millennial question.” Simon Sinek gives an insightful overview of challenges Millennials in the workforce face, but not everyone is happy about the way Sinek characterized Millennials. So, we’ve decided to keep the conversation going.
Last week, we launched the Millennials in the Workplace series in a spotlight interview with Nick Sarillo, founder and CEO of Nick’s Pizza & Pub, a Chicago-area favorite for over 15 years. If you haven’t listened to Nick share his secrets to success with Millennials in the workforce, you should. Nick and his team have created something very special that continues to attract and retain Millennials, even in an industry that typically faces 150% turnover (Nick’s has 25% turnover and the highest margins in his industry).
This Week’s Show
We welcome Kelsey Smith, the Director of Nick’s University, a leadership training program developed by Nick Sarillo and team to train his (primarily) Millennial workforce. Soon, Nick’s University expanded and opened to the public in response to the multitude of requests from businesses and leaders who want to duplicate their trust-and-track leadership success.
- 0:23 Preface to our second segment in the Millennials in the Workplace Series.
- 01:52 Introducing Kelsey Smith, Director of Nick’s University.
- 3:16 Reminiscing about the Conscious Capitalism tour to Nick’s Pizza & Pub with Kelsey and Nick.
- 5:03 Kelsey’s story starting with Nick’s as a server and then becoming Director of Nick’s University.
- 9:35 Getting focused in as a Millennial.
- 10:27 How the right culture and conscious leadership awakens passion and engagement in a Millennial workforce.
- 12:01 A Millennial workforce that is in charge of their own career development.
- 13:00 The strength of a consistent culture – the importance of commitment to a values- and purpose-focused culture (Nick’s TedX talk).
- 14:53 People before profit, taking care of our people and our guests creates the commitment to the business.
- 15:33 The trust-and-track management approach that works so well with the Millennial workforce.
- 16:49 A learning culture and the importance of immediate feedback vs. the annual “performance review” for successful Millennial workforce (and any generation) performance.
- 19:50 Nick’s University – “conscious leadership on purpose,” born because other businesses want to learn the trust-and-track leadership method.
- 21:29 Nick’s University – Supporting other businesses and leaders to build these amazing work environment for Millennials, including talent acquisition and retention.
- 25:40 What are the biggest obstacles leaders face when implementing the Nick’s trust-and-track leadership approach in other types of industries?.
- 27:36 The values of the Millennial workforce are human values and they won’t “wait” to have them.
- 29:38 Trust-and-track leadership (conscious leadership) is an art and a science that impacts the bottom line.
- 30:50 Kelsey’s perspective on becoming a conscious leader- the struggle, persistence, and fulfillment of “staying conscious.”
- 34:55 Speed Round!
Kelsey Smith began her career at Nick’s Pizza & Pub as a server opening the Elgin,IL restaurant in 2005. After she began to experience the culture firsthand she wanted to learn more. Shortly after becoming a trainer Kelsey began to lead classes and orientations. In 2012, Kelsey’s husband joined the Army and she relocated to Texas. Aiming to keep her job with Nick’s, she developed the first ever remote position at Nick’s Pizza & Pub.
Now, years later, Kelsey is back in Illinois as the Director of Nick’s University after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Leadership. Her passion for the Nick’s culture shines through as she supports leaders and business owners to develop their own cultures and experience similar success with trust-and-track leadership. Join me in welcoming Kelsey Smith to the show!
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Nick’s University – “Our organization teaches trust-and-track leadership skills that open the door to self‑awareness and create a culture of positivity. For any stage of business/employment, whether a startup company or just trying to progress your existing culture, our courses and workshops will leave you with tangible tools you can use, not just theory. Each is filled with practicums to create opportunity to learn by demonstrating the work right away, with feedback.”
- Nick’s Pizza & Pub – The dedicated team of players are dedicated to providing the Chicago-area community an unforgettable place; to connect with your family and friends, to have fun and to feel at home!
- The Big Little Business: Nick Sarillo at TEDxNaperville – Nick shares a powerful story that demonstrates how building a business around purpose and values provides a foundation of support that can help a business make it through unexpected challenges.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t