Battling a Stutter in the Workplace

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During this time of working towards setting up my consulting and coaching practice, one of the organizations among several that I am feeling led to reach out to are the ones that help groups of adult leaders who struggle with stuttering in the workplace. When I think about my journey over the last 30 years and the investment that was made in me as a teenager with a profound stutter at McDonald’s, I am realizing that not everyone may have that opportunity. That one act of kindness, and seeing something in me that I never would have seen in myself, was life-changing. I would have never seen myself becoming a senior executive at Chipotle, or leading Freebirds as a COO and eventually as President. I can point to one manager, on one rainy night in 1984, who gave me a shot to work front counter. The rest is history.

And while certainly some people have a much worse stutter than I do these days, I understand the struggle, and the struggle is real. The struggle of feeling you aren’t good enough. Or smart enough. Or fast enough. One of the reasons I am convinced I am here at this point and time is to tell people, yes you are. You are all of those things. You matter. You contribute. You are a leader.

So I am contacting various organizations to see what I can do to help some of their group members, and that help might look like coaching, just listening to their story, or sharing my story and providing encouragement. Either way, 1% of the American population stutters and that 1% is going to be in the workplace at some point, if they aren’t already.

So whatever I can do, I’m going to do it. Because I know there are some great leaders out there that are lacking the confidence to do what they were born to do, which is to be a leader.

Published by

Bobby Shaw

I am a former restaurant company executive with a passion for developing existing and future leaders to achieve high standards. I love helping organizations develop strong people cultures with an emphasis on leadership development that result in top-notch operations and better business results. I have over 30 years in the restaurant business in all facets of operations, from my start at McDonald's in the grill area in 1984 to overseeing 200+ restaurants with Chipotle Mexican Grill from 2002-2012 to leading Freebirds World Burrito's resurgence from 2013-2016 to working with the Salad and Go restaurant startup as CEO in 2016/2017. My real world experience transcends the typical operations background with a focus in leadership development and coaching. At the core of my background and experience, I believe that how leaders get results is just as important as getting them, and what got them where they are, won't necessarily get them where they want to go. I work closely with individual leaders and companies to improve their results through understanding how their strengths impact the overall results. My goal is to help business leaders and companies learn how to leverage the strengths of their employees by understanding their strengths and what they’re good at, and using that knowledge to positively impact their entire organization.

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