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CultureFeb 09, 2017

The Brilliance Is in the Recovery: On Servant Leadership and Encouragement

Michael Gyarmathy

This month’s theme in our Life at Credera series is leadership. As a second-year consultant at Credera, I have had opportunities to both lead and be led by others. In the role of leader, I am learning that I am most effective to my team when I am focused on serving them and setting them up for success. Similarly, in the role of follower, I have witnessed the wisdom in “the greatest among you must be your servant.” As an illustration of what this servant-centric style of leadership looks like to me, I’d like to share a quick story from a recent honeymoon trip my wife and I took to Maui.

The Pizza Connection Example

The first evening of our trip, we visited The Pizza Connection, a local food truck recommended to us by our travel guide. We drove down Lower Hanoapiilani Road in Lahaina and arrived at a very modest-looking tent set up in the corner of a shopping center parking lot.

The cash register sat atop a folding table with an iPad to accept credit card payments. Stacks of pizza boxes lay below another table designated for paper plates and napkins. Behind the counter, two of the cooks were chatting with one another as they prepared ingredients and tended to the wood fire oven.

Despite the do-it-yourself nature of this restaurant, we could tell that something wasn’t quite right. The cashier seemed flustered as she ran back and forth between the cash register and a nearby storage unit that contained the rest of their supplies. There weren’t any pizzas in the oven, and several customers who arrived before us were growing impatient from waiting on their order. We later learned a car accident prevented the employees from getting to their location on time. The unexpected traffic had put them behind schedule, and they were hurrying to compensate for the loss of time.

A few minutes later, the owner of The Pizza Connection, Andy Eastman, arrived and immediately recognized the situation. He began to delegate tasks to each of his employees and offer them words of encouragement. There was one phrase Andy said that evening that particularly resonated with me. He said, “Well mates, we’ve got ourselves a rough start, but remember this: the brilliance is in the recovery.” You could tell that Andy’s employees really respected him. Almost immediately the cashier’s facial expression changed from unease to confidence. My wife and I watched as the group worked cohesively to recover from their setback and serve us the pizza of a lifetime.

Flexible Leadership at Credera

“The brilliance is in the recovery” has become a familiar motto to me when I consider my experiences at Credera and the type of leadership we strive to model. It represents the type of leader who takes first responsibility when things don’t go as planned. Although Credera’s project teams adopt Agile methodologies) to remain adaptable to changing requirements and frequent client feedback, some teams experience significant curveballs along the way. In these moments, leaders are most effective when they handle setbacks with grace and focus more on positioning their team for success rather than on placing blame. This, in turn, instills greater confidence in an otherwise discouraged team.

For me personally, the experience with Andy and his staff at The Pizza Connection was reminiscent of the times at work where I have witnessed the same attitude from my project leaders. I have been that flustered cashier, only to hear my “Andy” remind me that “the brilliance is in the recovery.” As a young consultant at Credera, it is especially meaningful and encouraging to me knowing that the leaders of our firm will go to bat for their people and that this style of servant leadership permeates all levels of our company.

life at credera

We’re “open-sourcing” the Credera day-to-day in a series called Life at Credera. As we share an authentic look at Credera’s culture – what we are learning, where we are growing, and our experiences – we will take action instead of promoting theory and provide specific examples of our commitment to getting better. We’ll talk about friendships & fun, growth, higher purpose, talent & character, leadership, and communication. Come join the journey of Life at Credera!

Looking for more? Check out these great Life at Credera perspectives: