Hired at 25 – Fired at 35: The Turning Point for the CEO of Dunkin Donuts

Transformational moment:

“You can learn more – if you can survive it – from a setback than you can from success. Success is a dangerous thing if you have too much of it.”

“My best learning occurs when I hit one of those bumps in the road. I realize that there’s more to learn.”

Bob became CEO at 25 years old. At 35 the board fired him. Ultimately, the board granted him 3 months to demonstrate he had turned things around.

“I had a transformational moment in the midst of all this sadness, and shame, and failure … and began to grow … with some emotional intelligence.”

Bob’s leadership was transformed when he shifted toward humility and away from arrogance as a result of reading “The Best and the Brightest,” by David Halberstam.

Expressions of humility:

Learn to listen to others. Arrogance talks. Humility listens.

Learn to be thoughtful with the board. (I didn’t explore this with Bob.)

Create an advisory council of franchisees. “Where an awful lot of the wisdom of the system existed.”

Visit 100 locations a year to keep in touch with franchisees.

(Practiced by the entire senior management team.)

Always take 100% of the responsibility for the well-being of the system.


“We decided that we would never blame our followership.”

Own your mistakes. Bob said the board’s action was deserved. “I had lost my way.”

Apologize. “When we apologized to our franchisees and invited them in to fix it, they were more than willing to help.”

Source - Read More at: leadershipfreak.blog