Case Study: Empowering Leaders with Everything DiSC®

Every business has a secret recipe for success, but one thing all successful organizations have in common is effective leadership.

Whether homemade or store-bought, we all have favorite foods that we crave. Sometimes sharing these dishes can be as enjoyable as eating them! This rang true for one family who moved from Hawai’i to Dubai to do just that.

To satisfy their cravings and share the love of their favorite dishes, they opened Sumo Sushi & Bento®, the first Japanese casual dining restaurant in the UAE. The restaurant’s authentic cuisine and unique, family-friendly atmosphere quickly won people’s hearts and appetites. It didn’t take long for customers to turn into loyal Sumo Super fans.

With such quick success, the owners began to plan their next steps which ultimately led them to expand their business into a global franchise. They realized that in order to grow beyond Dubai, it was necessary to invest in the people who would lead the business. Their foresight on developing strong leaders provided a huge payoff for the company.

BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR LEADERSHIP
“Companies expect people to work together, but don’t take the time to help them understand who they are as individuals or how they present themselves as leaders,” says Jean Santos, Senior Consultant and Partner at Business Consulting Resources, an Authorized Partner of Everything DiSC®.

Sumo Sushi & Bento is not like most businesses.

The company partnered with Santos to focus on leadership development with their location and regional managers. She guided them through two programs: Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® and Everything DiSC 363® for Leaders.

“Everything DiSC connects unique leadership styles to real-world demands, generating powerful conversations that provide a clear path for action,” says Santos. The two programs combine leadership best practices with the DiSC® personality model, which comprises four basic styles: Dominance (D), Influence (i), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). The DiSC framework helps leaders build self-awareness and strengthen leadership presence. The unique power of Everything DiSC enabled Santos to seamlessly adapt to the needs of a global team. Rather than travel to each person, she delivered virtual one-on-one coaching sessions. She discovered that no matter where they were located, the managers all shared a common goal: to become better leaders.

DEVELOPING A LEADER’S PERSPECTIVE
“People were looking for something that would help their personal development,” says Kim Kikuchi, Global HR and Compliance Manager at Sumo Sushi & Bento®. “Everyone was really excited when this opportunity came along.”

First, Santos went through the Work of Leaders program with each individual. Participants learned how to lead a team by using the three-step process of crafting a vision, building alignment, and championing execution. They explored how to apply this process to their personal leadership style.

Since some of them spoke English as a second language, Santos created a mentoring opportunity to help bring DiSC® concepts to life. Managers who were familiar with DiSC guided new participants through the program. This helped them become aware of DiSC styles as well as strengthen relationships with their colleagues. Despite languages differences, everyone connected with the concepts and accuracy of Everything DiSC.

TURNING FEEDBACK INTO ACTION
Next, participants explored their leadership styles through the eyes of their colleagues using 363 for Leaders. Each person received 360-degree feedback from managers, peers, and direct reports. With realworld examples of their leadership, managers could see where they were strong and where they could make improvements.

Unlike other 360-degree assessments, the program provided specific ways to create change. Participants learned three personalized strategies to become better leaders. More importantly, they learned how to use colleague feedback as an advantage.

“Before going through this process, some leaders would take feedback but not do anything with it. We weren’t getting any alignment or execution,” says Kikuchi.

Understanding leadership styles helped people realize their impact in the workplace. Each person created a professional development plan full of ways to grow as leaders. To help keep them on track with their plans, the Human Resources department committed to regularly checking in with them.

“Team feedback is crucial,” says Dinesh Chauhan, Franchise Operations Manager. “There is no one better than your team to assess your leadership: what’s working, what’s not, and what are the obstacles to success.”

STRENGTHENING COMPANY CULTURE
With Everything DiSC®, the managers have learned to embrace personal strengths and challenges and see the value of their peers and direct reports. They now use the language of DiSC® to communicate, collaborate, and support each other’s goals.

“DiSC has helped top managers understand the ‘why’—why we need to build our teams and why we need to develop our people,” says Kikuchi.

Excitement and energy has spread throughout the company as it expands globally. Focusing on leadership development has brought clarity and unity to drive the company forward. The Sumo Sushi & Bento® founders are confident that the next level of leaders will carry on their legacy of memorable, quality dining as the business grows worldwide.

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