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Be a Trendsetter

What Happens When You Want To Be The First

Be prepared to be ridiculed and laughed at, but trust yourself to succeed.

Roger Bannister, sub-four-minute mile, Smithsonianmag

It was my first budgeting meeting with all the other general managers. I had been the GM at the “Hut” in Chicago for about six months, and things were looking good.

It was my first introduction to the illogical thinking of corporate culture. I couldn’t understand why my budgeted sales forecast was rejected, and I was “told” to forecast specific numbers. I tried to explain my logic based on my current sales and the rate of increase I was experiencing. They said that I was new and didn’t understand how it worked. “Just follow the formula and fill in the numbers,” I was told.

I pointed out that according to these numbers, the restaurant will not be profitable. The senior manager of the area said, “That store will never make money. The overhead is too high, and even with sales as high as mine, it won’t turn a profit.”

She managed the highest-volume Pizza Hut in the Chicago area for the previous three years running, and her sales had plateaued. The next highest volume was about 80% of what she was doing. So, I could see where she was coming from, but I just couldn’t understand why anyone would operate a business that has no chance of making money.

Be the Roger Bannister in your field of endeavor.

I went back to work as usual and ignored the budgeting exercise we had done. I knew, in every fiber of my being, that the store could be profitable. If nothing else, I knew that I could add to the bottom line by managing the expenses better than they had been before and what the results would be. I also knew that we were experiencing a higher growth rate than the rest of the company.

I kept on applying the ridiculous ideas I had learned from my mentor, Barney Paradise. I began with a focus on the slow periods where most of the opportunity for growth lay.

When you believe in yourself and commit to your goals — the Universe conspires for you — and you benefit from serendipities and synchronicities all around you. Soon thereafter, Irene walked in one day looking for a job. Her husband owned the restaurant where she worked, but because of differences in philosophy, she wanted to work somewhere else.

We were a perfect match. She was a mature woman, so I didn’t have to worry about babysitting her. Philosophically, we were on the same page, so that took care of one of the two slow periods of opportunity. That enabled me to spend more time and energy on other areas of operation to grow the business.

When the year ended, we had become the highest-volume store in the area and posted a significant profit for the year. However, the most exciting thing that happened was that suddenly, the previously highest-volume store that had flatlined on their sales for three years experienced sales growth. The ceiling on what was possible in business volume was raised.

Many years later, I learned about Roger Bannister, who was the first one to run a mile in less than four minutes. Before 1954, the year I was born, people believed that it was humanly impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes.

On May 6th, 1954, 66 years ago today, Roger Bannister shattered that myth. However, his record of 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, lasted only 46 days before it was broken. Suddenly, it was possible, so someone else did it, too.

You could say that I was the Roger Bannister of the Pizza Huts in the Chicago area.

Oh, and if you read the history of the sport, you’ll discover that Roger Bannister used training techniques that were unheard of in his time, but are the standard practices these days.

Be a trendsetter. Be the Roger Bannister in your field of endeavor.

As always, thank you for reading and responding.

Rasheed Hooda is a published author and a regular contributor to ILLUMINATION, a writers’ community on Medium where writers support each other.

He is a self-proclaimed weirdo who lives a Freedom Lifestyle and writes about related topics — Travel (a top writer), Personal Growth, Freedom, and entrepreneurship. (Get the Newsletter)

You can let others tell you what it means to be successful, or you can decide it for yourself.”



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Rasheed Hooda

Rasheed Hooda


Self-proclaimed weirdo. Jack of Many Trades, Master of Some. Author, Speaker, Photographer. He walked on Route 66 Chicago to L.A.