5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team, With Bryn Butolph, CEO of Eat Clean Meal Prep

“I would love to see community involvement a requirement in schools, I think that our communities would benefit from our families coming together. Social media has harvested a lot of hatred and exclusion, so breaking away from that and being socially responsible for our communities would be fantastic.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryn Butolph, CEO and co-founder of Eat Clean Meal Prep — one of the biggest locally-owned and operated meal prep services in the country currently serving San Diego, California. Bryn and his team are on a mission to help their community improve their lives through eating real, minimally processed food.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I’ve worked every position in a restaurant, dish washer being my first job. Hospitality is my passion and over the years I have moved up through the restaurant managerial structure up until 2015 when I decided to open our business.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

“We had just started our business and we signed up with Groupon. So we just signed up with this flash deal company not realizing how popular our deal would be, at that point we didn’t even care that we barely broke even on those deals, but we were excited for the exposure. So we oversold the deal, and it snowballed very slowly into the biggest headache in our company’s history. We didn’t set enough safety nets in place so we were soon overtaken by these orders and ran out of food, but that’s not even the worst part. This was when our business was a two man show — so one of us is at the kitchen cooking, and the other person was in the parking lot of Target meeting customers to pick up their meals. Someone called the cops on us because of the size of the crowd we had drawn. So cops came out, made us leave the parking lot to get rid of the crowd, our phones were ringing off the hook and then we ran out of food. Easily the most terrible and hilarious night of our early company days, but we got through it and made sure every single customer had food and was satisfied…although we didn’t sleep that night and worked straight through.”

How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?

“Open communication, ensuring everyone is on the same page to understand their part in the larger picture. By making sure all teams know what’s going with each other, there is a clear understanding of how the teams work together to achieve a common goal.”

What is the top challenge when managing global teams in different geographical locations? Can you give an example or story?

“Daily check-ins, an absolute must when working remotely and managing a team. To start the day off on the right foot and have a clear set of tasks due has been our company’s secret weapon.”

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

“Listen to them, they have great ideas and they are the heart of your company. Value their input and go the extra mile for them to be sure they know how much you appreciate them. A quick email or text goes a long way, just so they know you are watching their work and appreciate their milestones.”

Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on retaining talent today?

“It all starts with the hiring process, you have to hire the right people for your team first as a step in the right direction for retaining them long term. Keep the work challenging, yet not overwhelming. Work alongside them, I always tell my managers that they should be the first ones there and the last ones out. Metaphorically speaking in many ways, because what I mean by this is that you have to be a step ahead of your team to lead them. The constant communication and contact between management and their staff will continue to engage them in their work.”

Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)

“1. It’s all in the details. Your team notices when you focus on details, they also notice when you overlook them. So focus on the details, that mindset will pass down through to your team and you will be a better organization for it.

2. Listen to your team. Seek our their input, it’s valuable and it’s FREE! Be sure to use their input in a way that moves your organization forward in the right direction. Your staff will take pride in their feedback being part of a new implementation.

3. Keep them on their toes. You have to know their position inside and out, and then you have to check in on them when they don’t expect it. No that doesn’t mean to hover over them, and it also doesn’t mean that when you drop in on them it’s to criticize them. If that’s needed, sure…you may have to go that route. There’s a ton of value in dropping in on your staff and observing, acknowledging their hard work and simply being present for them. The connection between you and staff will be better for this, and they will tend to stay on task more by knowing at any moment you could stop in.

4. Stay on track. All eyes are on you when managing, so be sure that you set the right example and more importantly you set the tone. All of that positive and productive vibe that you put out will pass through to your staff, so step it up and be the leader!

5. Think outside of the box. Not one solution will work for every situation, and not one approach will be a great fit for all staff members. Situations are unique and so are your staff, so you have to be flexible and adjust your approach based on the situation.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

“I would love to see community involvement a requirement in schools, I think that our communities would benefit from our families coming together. Social media has harvested a lot of hatred and exclusion, so breaking away from that and being socially responsible for our communities would be fantastic.”

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” — Ghandi
 “This quote is relevant to my life in many ways, because I remind myself that the movement starts with me. If I am a positive and supportive person on a daily basis, those around me will in turn also be positive and supportive. It’s all about putting honest energy into everything you do, which also plays into the workplace.”