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Servant leadership leads to success

“The scriptures are the human being’s operations manual,” said Joe V. Tortorice Jr., founder of Jason’s Deli, while describing how his faith and servant leadership has resulted in the company now celebrating its 40th anniversary.
It wasn’t always easy for Tortorice. He said he remembers being in “survival mode” in 1995.
“My objective was money and profit. That’s the way I ran the company for 20 years,” Tortorice said.
That all changed when Tortorice was invited to speak at a business class at Texas A&M University. David Glass, the second Walmart CEO, happened to be on campus to receive the Harold Kupfer Award, which recognizes a business leader who has changed the way the world works.
Tortorice met Glass and it began his journey into servant leadership. Tortorice attended the award presentation for Glass, and students were allowed to ask Glass questions.
One student asked Glass, “What was the key to Sam Walton’s success?”
Glass answered, “Two words … servant leadership.”
Tortorice wrote those two words on a business card and the journey began.
“If it was good enough for Sam Walton, I needed to look into it,” Tortorice said. He read Sam Walton’s book “Made in America,” and one passage stuck in his mind. “Take risks for your people. Help them reach their goal and yours will be achieved.”
Tortorice took Sam Walton’s advice and applied it to Jason’s Deli.
“That philosophy is what we have tried to adopt in our company, our people come first,” Tortorice said about how servant leadership is applied at Jason’s Deli.
“If you focus on your community of human beings, the profit is a byproduct, it will happen. So basically I had it all backwards for 20 years,” he said.
One of the ways that Jason’s Deli puts its people first is with its Fishing School.
“The Fishing School is based on the ‘teach a man to fish’ philosophy,” Tortorice said.
“The Fishing School is designed to take someone who has no management experience and teach them how to be a manager. Its life changing for them and their family. It changes a semi-skilled person into a professional manager. It’s the Jason’s Deli program that I am most proud of,” Tortorice said.
Thirty percent of Jason’s Deli managers come from the Fishing School. It’s one result of Tortorice’s journey into servant leadership.
“I read many books about servant leadership, they all pointed to the Bible,” Tortorice said. “The word ‘servant’ is used 767 times in the Bible.” One Bible verse became Tortorice’s personal mantra.
Tortorice was visiting Our Mother of Mercy in Beaumont to speak as the Bishop’s Faith Appeal diocesan chair. He asked an usher where the parish priest was, and the usher pointed to the confessional.
Tortorice went into the confessional for reconciliation. As his penance he said he was told to read John 15:16, “I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” This stuck with Tortorice.
“My faith has been my guide, inspiring me on a daily basis,” Tortorice said. He has used this to guide his company.
“We have a Judeo-Christian culture,” he said while speaking about Jason’s Deli.
The company offers a Leadership Institute where employees are taught core values, ethics, servant leadership, communication and listening skills.
Every morning the company emails “Our Daily Bread” to each Jason’s Deli location. The email features inspiring verses from the Bible or quotes from U.S. presidents and other inspiring leaders.
The company begins all staff meetings with prayer and has a Jason’s Deli Family Fund. The fund is made up of contributions from employees and helps employees who are in need.
“We are in the people business. We just happen to be selling very good food,” Tortorice said.

By | 2017-05-03T15:22:55+00:00 December 20th, 2016|English, ETC Online, This Just In|0 Comments
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