December 9, 2016
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Jon LutherAmong the nine traits of great teams – traits that I call Gold Medal Strategies – that I speak and present on, that I write about, is Great Teams Are the Product of Picking the Right Players.

Is a trait that almost all great teams hold – whether a sports team or company, or other type of organization.

These organizations have the right players – those with the right skills, right attitude, right work ethic … and right values.

One of the most important and influential mentors in my life, someone who is also a dear friend, impressed in me, and educated me on the importance of, picking the right players.

That mentor, and that friend, is Jon Luther, among the top brand building minds and business leaders in America.

Jon wrote the foreword for Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons From America’s Miracle Team, (John Wiley & Sons, 2011), the business book I wrote in which I explain and amplify the nine strategies of great teams.

Jon and I first met in 2003, within a few months of his coming on board as CEO at Dunkin’ Brands. He came to Dunkin’ Brands from Popeye’s Chicken, a company for which he stewarded and led a remarkable turnaround.

Dunkin’ Donuts is the signature brand of Dunkin’ Brands, which also holds Baskin Robbins.

Circumstances of Jon and my introduction were that Dunkin’ Donuts had hired me to speak to its management and franchisees to inspire and motivate the group for the Dunkin’ Speed Olympics, an initiative with the intent and goal of improving and speeding up order delivery at Dunkin’ Donut shops.

Before and after the event, Jon and I talked and we quickly understood that there was a tremendous amount we shared in terms of life values, priorities, and what we considered most important. We both valued, above all else, family and our roles as husbands and fathers. We became friends – and the friendship has grown.

I have learned a lot from Jon, including about the process he enlists and follows in recruiting. selecting, and building his management team. This process is a keystone of, and integral, to his business management and leadership success.

When organizations scout, and recruit, and hire, as they strive to bring on board the right players, they should place strong emphasis – as Jon Luther does – on finding people with the right values – and not only should they hold the right values, they should hold them tightly and without fail.

There are five values that Jon looks for in those who would comprise his leadership team – and each person on the team must hold these value in high quotient and be attached to them strongly; these values are honesty, integrity, responsibility, fairness, respectfulness, and transparency.

Picking the right players – those with the right values – has worked supremely well for Jon Luther throughout his career. It surely worked when he was at the helm of Dunkin’ Donuts.

As explained in Gold Medal Strategies – “At the “helm of Dunkin’, Jon took, to use a Dunkin’ inside term, a ‘dirty donut shop’ that operated only in New England to markets across the country and, now, internationally.”

Jon and I remain close; we talk on the phone and online frequently, and see each other in person about three to four times a year. Jon is in semi-retirement now, although he sits on corporate boards, and remains in high demand for his counsel and advice on brand building.

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