The Birth of McDonald’s

McDonald’s was born 115 years ago today. Sort of. Actually, Ray Kroc was born October 5, 1902. But it was Kroc who made hamburger history.

At age 15, eager to be an ambulance corpsman in World War I, Kroc joined the Red Cross, lying about his age. Before he completed his training, however, the war ended, whereupon he worked for decades in various jobs. In 1954, as a salesman for a milk-shake machine company, the middle-aged Kroc visited a California restaurant that used an assembly-line approach to the preparation of food and offered just a few menu items.

The Multimixer salesman then sat down with the owners of the hamburger joint – the McDonald brothers – and hammered out a franchise agreement. The next year, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., which by 1958 had sold its hundred-millionth hamburger. When Kroc died in 1984, there were more than 7,500 McDonald’s restaurants around the world.

Ray Kroc is a testament to what one man can do. So remember him the next time you order a quarter-pounder with cheese. One man. One franchise. World history.

The Rushmore Report: Top Ten Qualities of a Great Leader

Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture. While finding a new and unique idea is rare enough, the ability to successfully execute this idea is what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs. The key to success in business, and in life, is becoming a great leader. As I see it, there are ten qualities of a great leader.

1. Honesty

Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.

2. Delegate

Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organized and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. It’s important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness.

3. Communication

Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it so someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills.

4. Confidence

There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is to not panic.

5. Commitment

If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level.

6. Positive Attitude

You want to keep your team motivated toward the continued success of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Whether that means providing snacks, coffee, or relationship advice, remember that everyone on your team is a person.

7. Creativity

Some decisions will not always be so clear. You may be forced at times to deviate from your set course and make an on the fly decision. This is where your creativity will prove to be vital. It is during these critical situations that your team will look to you for guidance and you may be forced to make a quick decision.

8. Intuition

When leading a team through uncharted waters, there is no roadmap on what to do. Everything is uncertain, and the higher the risk, the higher the pressure. That is where your natural intuition has to kick in.

9. Inspiration

Creating a business often involves a bit of forecasting. Especially in the beginning stages of a start-up, inspiring your team to see the vision of the successes to come is vital. Make your team feel invested in the accomplishments of the company.

10. Approach

Not all human beings are the same. It is a basic concept, but something that is often overlooked. You have cultural  perspectives, language barriers, different educational backgrounds, personality traits, and varying value systems with which individuals come pre-conditioned that greatly affects how information is processed and interpreted.

About the Author

Tanya Prive is a contributor to Forbes.

World Leaders

The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of England, and the Communist leader met and started discussing the dreams they had. The President of the U.S. said, “I dreamed that I was made President of the world.”

The Prime Minister of England announced, “I dreamed I was made Prime Minister of the world.”

Then the communist leader responded, “That’s funny. I have no recollection of appointing either of you!”

The fact is, we all want to be President, Prime Minister, or leader of the world . . . or at least, our world. But the truth is, we are good at leading everyone but ourselves. And that is where real leadership begins.

It’s good to have dreams. But start with yourself. Learn to lead yourself, and the rest will come easy.

Five Frogs on a Log

There were five frogs on a log. Two decided to jump off. How many remained on the log?


The fact that two decided to jump off the log didn’t change a thing – until they actually jumped. That’s how it is with a lot of us. We have made a lot of good decisions. But it’s what comes after the decision that matters. Deciding to do something is not nearly as important as doing something.

The 12 steps have provided recovery for millions. The early steps talk about making decisions to surrender to one’s higher power. The later steps talk about following through with those decisions.

What decisions are you facing today? General Norman Schwartzkopt said, “We know what to do. The problem is we don’t do it.” Let’s make right decisions today. But more importantly, let’s follow through on those right decisions.

Southwest Airlines

Leaders impress from a distance, but they influence up close.

Take Herb Kelleher, for example. The former CEO of Southwest Airlines was such an influence on his employees that on Boss’s Day in 1994, they paid for a full-page ad in USA Today. The ad consisted of a letter addressed to their boss, Herb Kelleher.

As you read the letter, think about the kind of leader you are, and how you treat those who look to you as their boss. Think about what others might say about you.

“Thanks, Herb for remembering every one of our names. For remembering the Ronald McDonald House. For helping load baggage on Thanksgiving Day. For giving everyone a kiss (and we mean everyone). For listening. For running the only profitable airline. For singing at our holiday party. For singing only once a year. For golfing at the LUV Classic with only one club. For outtalking Sam Donaldson. For riding your Harley Davidson into Southwest headquarters. For being a friend, not just a boss. Happy Boss’s Day from each one of your 16,000 employees.”

The Bible says it like this. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Climbing Trees

Stephen Covey says, “A leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, ‘Wrong jungle!'”

Life is a jungle, and there are a lot of trees. If you want to be a leader, you need to understand the Pareto Principle. The idea is this. Focus your attention on the activities in the top 20 percent in terms of importance, and you will have an 80 percent return on your effort.

You should have a to-do list, unless you don’t mind wasting time. On that list, let’s say you have ten items for the day. You need to spend 80 percent of your time on the two items that will produce 80 percent of the results.

As a pastor, I focused on two things: feed and lead. I fed the flock and I led the church. All the other stuff went into my 20 percent category.

That doesn’t mean the other stuff isn’t important, but you can’t do everything. You need to focus on that which a) you do well, and b) only you can do.

That is what Jesus did. He spent 80 percent of his time with 12 men. He didn’t visit hospitals, write books, or teach seminary. He did a few things very well.

And every now and then, he had to look at the disciples who wanted to do too much, and say, ‘Wrong jungle!'”

A Special Friend

In 1919 a young man, recovering from injuries suffered in World War I, rented a small apartment in Chicago. He chose the location to be near the home of a man named Sherwood Anderson. An author, Anderson had written the popular novel Winesboro, Ohio, and he was known to be willing to share his wisdom with young writers.

The two men spent time together nearly every day. They shared meals, took long walks, and discussed writing late into the night. The young man wrote passages and asked Anderson to critique them, which the novelist did with brutal honesty. The young man didn’t defend himself or his writing because, as he said later, “I didn’t know how to write until I learned from Sherwood.”

Within two years, the young man set off to write on his own. In 1926 he published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, which was met with critical acclaim. His name was Ernest Hemingway – one of the greatest American writers of his generation.

But the story doesn’t end there. Sherwood Anderson also mentored William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, William Saroyan, and John Steinbeck. Three of Anderson’s proteges earned Nobel Prizes; four won Pulitzer Prizes.

Why did Sherwood Anderson help aspiring new writers? Perhaps because he himself had been mentored by the famed authors, Theodore Dreiser and Carl Sandburg.

In like manner, the Old Testament prophet Elisha was mentored by Elijah. In the New Testament, Timothy was mentored by Paul. I suggest that each of us needs a Paul (mentor) and a Timothy (mentee) in our lives.

What about you?

The Rushmore Report: Ten Secrets to Great Wealth

If you Google “millionaire” and “secrets,” you get more than 10 million results. I’m a veteran of the technology industry, and have spent decades studying successful leaders. I’m talking about hundreds of men and women who have become wildly successful. These are their secrets. If you want to enjoy great success financially, or otherwise, practice these steps carefully.

1. Quit reading dumb articles like this one.

Think I’m kidding? This is so not funny. None of those hundreds or thousands of successful people I’ve known wasted their time on nonsense like “the secrets of millionaires.” Quit searching for miracle solutions and silver bullets; there aren’t any.

2. Reach beyond your grasp.

Perhaps the most brilliant advice in history is Robert Browning’s famous quote, “A man’s reach should not exceed his grasp.” If you want to be successful, you have to consistently strive to tackle tough problems. There are no wealthy slackers. None.

3. Make good choices.

Becoming successful is all about making good choices. Listen to smart, accomplished people, but in the end, trust your gut.

4. Always pay down your debt.

Better still, stay out of debt. There are exceptions. It’s okay to have a mortgage, but pay it down as soon as you can. And everyone needs a car, but they don’t need a new car.

5. Work in a high-demand, low-supply field.

It’s sort of funny how the most basic economic principle, the law of supply and demand, eludes most people. It’s so simple. Demand is proportional to price. More competition means less income and wealth. It’s that simple.

6. Learn to do one thing better than anyone else.

It doesn’t matter whether you learn it in school or on the job; strive to be better than anyone else at just one thing. You do that by accomplishing one thing at a time. It helps a lot if that one thing is something you love to do.

7. Be a raging workaholic.

Look I’m not saying you can’t have a family and fun. I do. But every wealthy person is also a hard worker with a strong work ethic. In other words, they get the job done, meet their commitments, and set a fine example for others.

8. Prioritize, focus, be disciplined.

Forget all the books and blogs about personal productivity and self-improvement. All you have to do is know your priorities, focus on what matters, and be disciplined about it.

9. Get equity.

Salary pays the bills, but saving money is challenging and it’s always tempting to dip into the cookie jar. Equity from stock, options, or business ownership solves that problem because it’s not liquid. In other words, you can’t spend it. Just don’t squander it when you can. Instead of cashing out, diversify your investments.

10. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

The key message from my new book, Real Leaders Don’t Follow, is that nobody ever got ahead by doing what everyone else is doing. Nobody. Unfortunately, social media promotes cultural conformity, herd mentality, and dopey fads like nobody’s business. Leaders lead. Followers follow. You can’t do both.

About the Author

Steve Tobak is a management consultant, executive coach, columnist, and author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow.


In 1997, one of the finest business leaders in the world died. His name was Roberto Goizueta, and he was the chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company. A few months before he died, he said, “A billion hours ago, human life appeared on Earth. A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged. A billion seconds ago, the Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. A billion Coca-Colas ago . . . was yesterday morning.

He told the Atlanta newspaper he had no plans for retirement. Six weeks later, he was dead. And so was Coca-Cola. Or was it?

Normally, when the CEO suddenly goes away, the company goes in the tank. But not so with Coke. Goizueta had grown Coke from a $4 billion company to a $150 billion company. But he did something more important than that. He groomed Douglas Ivester to take his place, if and when the need would arise. Goizueta taught Ivester everything he knew, just in case. And “in case” happened. It always does.

You see, the key to your success in any venture is not what you do, but what you prepare others to do. Paul mastered this concept, and he told Titus to do the same. He understood the importance of finding good men and training them to lead the next generation.


Standing Watch

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 33:7).

A lot of people assume that part of being a real man is handling life on our own. This distorted view of independence makes sense when we look at Hollywood’s examples of manhood. We see Rambo, armed only with his hunting knife and M60 machine gun. We see Jason Bourne with his spy-bred wit and martial arts expertise.

Using a military metaphor, the prophet Ezekiel points out the errors in thinking this way. He reminds us that we face a true spiritual battle and that – whether or not we admit it – we need help on the battlefield. And just as God places Ezekiel on guard to stand over Israel, we also need friends who care about us to stand watch in our lives.

Leadership guru Stephen Covey says, “Accountability breeds responsibility.” We were never intended to live the Christian life in isolation. We are part of a bigger family and a bigger picture. We need accountability. Someone needs to man the watch tower for us. They need to have our back. Who has your back today?