Over the last two days, Mrs. Helmer, Mrs. Huber, Mrs. Gohmert and I had the honor of attending a leadership conference at Whataburger headquarters in San Antonio. This was the last of a three part series we have attended. Whataburger has never shared any information before with any group, thus we were honored they chose Texas school administrators inside their headquarters.
Chairman Tom Dobson, son of founder Harmon Dobson, welcomed us and gave us a brief history of the company. Preston Atkinson, president of Whataburger, followed Mr. Dobson and had all of us dancing in the aisles! Both Mr. Dobson and Mr. Atkinson shared their philosophy to be successful. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
Chairman Tom Dobson:
- 1. Listen before you talk – listening skills seem to be a lost art. We must listen to our employees and our customers.
- 2. Passion – we must have a passion for what we are doing.
- 3. Be truthful/Integrity – we must be truthful in everything we do and conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity.
When asked what skills Whataburger needed in prospective employees, Mr. Atkinson shared this:
- 1. Must be willing to work – work ethic is very important. When hiring high school students, students must assume responsibility to be on time and be a team member of the organization.
- 2. Have a willingess to serve – servant leadership. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to have a happy customer.
- 3. Be willing to learn – learning is a lifelong trait. About 75% of Whataburger leaders are developed from within the company. Mr. Atkinson concluded his speech that Whataburger wants to be “a handoff from what educators do for students to what they can add.”
These are all things that we can apply in our lives and in the lives of our students. We left Whataburger refreshed with strategies that we can use in making Goliad ISD more successful. Several strategies will be used as we embark on developing a Strategic Plan soon. We will unveil one item our team developed during our luncheon in celebrating Public Schools Week.
Happy Valentine’s Day!