The decade I spent with Chipotle (‘02-‘12) was absolutely amazing. During the pre-IPO years where we were trying to figure out who we were and making it up as we went along were a blast. Post-IPO where we saw accelerated growth, but also recognized that we needed to build a strong people culture to make it all happen, was incredibly inspiring. As a company we were doing things no one else had ever done and we were extremely profitable doing them. The focus on people development, culture, systems, and processes, made us a force to be reckoned with. We knew we had lightning in a bottle. We knew we had something special. We paid our dues, rolled up our sleeves, and wanted more for each other than we wanted for ourselves. And we all won.
I learned so much from those 10 years. I learned how to be a better leader, make a huge impact, invest in the people around me, and build a culture that supported our growth plans. And we did it all by believing in something that was bigger than us. Our vision of changing the way the world thought about and ate fast food flowed through everything we did, right down to the people we were hiring that enabled us to make a run at accomplishing that vision. I believe there are still restaurant companies out there who want more than the status quo and realize that it happens through developing great people.
Let’s not live in the past.
Let’s create the future.
Let’s make lightning strike twice.