Greg Brenneman prefers to work for “sick” companies, or the ones in need of the most.
His corporate turnaround strategy sounds deceptively simple:
- Don’t do things that bleed red ink.
- Devise a clear strategy.
- Start spreading the word.
Example: As Quiznos’ CEO, Brenneman first overhauled much of the senior executive team. “It’s hard for the same people who put you in the ditch to pull you out of it,” he says.
He then told the staff that the priority was to reignite profitable growth. Quiznos has since taken steps to cut raw-material costs, expand its delivery and catering services, and step up its international expansion, thereby bolstering the franchisees’ bottom lines.
What impresses some people most, though, is the way he communicates the goal. Each Friday, Quiznos franchise-holders get a voice mail updating them on the business, often from Brenneman himself.
The tactic keeps this leader on task. “If someone gets on a voice mail and promises something to thousands of people,” he says, “they will do it.”
— Adapted from “The sage of Quiznos,” The Economist.