Phil Graef played a huge role in my life. He taught me more about leadership, integrity, communication and how to run a business than anyone else.

You’re scratching your head trying to think of who this person is.  Don’t waste your time. You’ve never heard of him, unless you ate at the McDonald’s restaurant in Lacey, Washington, in the 1970s.

Phil was the manager of the McDonald’s where I worked, and I’m sure he still to this day does not realize the impact he made on me.  As a 16-year-old, I had zero clue as to what business was all about and I sure didn’t know anything about how to lead people, but I learned by watching Phil everyday.

Phil had a calmness about him that allowed him to navigate any type of issue with ease. The results always seemed to result in a better outcome, whether it was for a customer, an employee, or even a delivery person.

More than just running a McDonald’s restaurant, Phil would always take an extra minute or two to share an insight with me and other employees on why he handled a particular situation the way he did.

Did he have to do this? No, I’m sure it wasn’t in his job description, and yet I think he felt it was his mission to turn high school kids with zero experience into business leaders destined for some greater purpose.

He might have been a McDonald’s store manager, but to me and the others, he was a one-minute teacher.

Looking back on the time I spent with Phil, I can’t help but ask myself if I’ve had the same impact on others the way he did on me.  I titled this post, “Do Others Aspire to Be More Like You?” and I don’t mean that in an arrogant manner. I mean it because I can’t help but think how I want to aspire to be more like Phil.

Who is or who was the Phil in your life?  Who are you leading today that is watching and learning from you in the same manner I did with Phil?

Leadership is not something we can keep to ourselves. If we don’t share it, then it’s not leadership.

Leadership is about raising up other people to become even better than you. I haven’t seen Phil in more than 30 years, but I hope if we ever do run into each other, he will be proud of what became of the 16-year-old kids he led while managing the McDonald’s in Lacey, Washington.

High Profit Prospecting
Copyright 2017, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.


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