Building a Team: Company Culture via Leadership

At Bottleneck Management we pride ourselves on building a team with character, and value the outstanding team we have put in place, along with the small company culture that exists within our organization.

I frequently get asked how many people work for us and my answer is always the same:


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We only have people that work with us.

This sounds like splitting hairs, but it is a critical philosophy at the core of our company. Today we have 385 team members and 5 venues, and with the opening of our next restaurant at the Tribune Tower, we will easily pass 500. As we have grown, we have spent a large amount of time grappling with the issue of building a management structure that represents our ideals, while maintaining our culture and values.

I recently came upon a leadership quote that got me thinking about how we build our teams now and in the future. Dwight D Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” I think this is not only a great message to reflect on personally, but also a mantra to live by for everyone in a leadership position, or desiring such.

Building a Team of Leaders

So how do we attempt to identify leaders and equip them with the tools necessary to be successful, and in turn, build a team of outstanding people? I think that is actually a two part question.

• First of all, leaders will identify themselves. They may not personally identify as leaders, but they demonstrate leadership to their peers through their work ethic, commitment to a task, quest for constant personal growth and loyalty to the team and its mission.

• This leads to the second part of the question. When we see a team member exhibit the traits listed above, it is up to us to give them the tools necessary to further their career ambitions. Whether those career ambitions are with our company, our industry or a totally different career, we want to put them, or keep them, striving for this goal.

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I believe that this philosophy is essential to Bottleneck Management’s culture. We truly want our teammates to excel in whatever their true passion is. If that is with our company, great; if not, let’s identify that passion and see what we can do together to help achieve it. When talented individuals understand that you are aligned with them on meeting their career objectives, together you exhibit the values we want to permeate the entire company. This also has the pleasant side effect of creating the leadership culture described by President Eisenhower above.

Finally, when building a team, it has been my personal preference to always choose the individual with large goals and the motivation to accomplish them, rather than an individual that may have more technical skills, but is happy with where they are at. A manager who is constantly seeking personal growth will seek more responsibility and desire to achieve company goals with the same passion as those who set these goals.

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At Bottleneck Management, we continue to have large growth goals and if we are to achieve those goals, it will be essential to continually identify future leaders of our company.

~Chris Bisaillon, Owner