254. From Mopping McDonald's Floors to Opening Up South Africa
Cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors in a London McDonald’s, he was a long way from selling things on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. Struggling to understand the Cockney spoken by his neighbors, a successful career seemed far in the distance.
Steve Akinboro is a widely accomplished global senior operations executive in the highly competitive retail food service industry. A consensus-builder, adept at building high performance cultures that deliver record-setting improvements in revenue, employee engagement and customer experience, he was instrumental in turning around Domino’s Pizza, and putting multiple McDonald’s regions on the path to unprecedented growth and profitability. He has extensive global experience, high EQ and personal accountability, and an exceptional ability to engage and inspire others, combined with a sense of urgency to deliver results in key performance areas.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“When I was 12 years old I started out selling stuff on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, to help my mother put food on the table. That experience caused me to reflect, because I really didn’t enjoy doing that but it taught me a lot of life lessons. That empowered me to focus on high school and get through. I was very determined to get into the workplace and do something productive. So, I got a job at Pepsi through a family connection, and worked for several years. I saved up most of the money I made from that job, then sent myself to school in London.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Steve was wiping down tables, cleaning floors and bathrooms at McDonald’s in London at the same time he was studying for a Master’s Degree in Marketing on a full-ride scholarship from the European Economic Union. “So, as an executive, I was not afraid to get my hands dirty and roll my sleeves up. That really helped me understand what the folks in the trenches, earning minimum wage, have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I can relate to that. So, it made a huge difference.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“My story is about learning the art of building relationships. It’s about the art of influence, of understanding the status quo. Having an outlook of where you want to be will guide you to the type of relationships that you build within the organization and how you conduct yourself, so that you can ultimately get to the spot where you want to be. That’s basically it in a nutshell.”
Steps to Success from Steve Akinboro
1. Learn from whatever position you are in, even if it’s only to confirm that you don’t want to stay there.
2. Always think of how to add value to whatever you are doing.
3. Find mentors who can help you navigate through your career.
4. If you are not happy where you are in a company, you may still be able to find a spot that’s right for you in the same company. Work with people you trust to find a better place.
On His Bookshelf
50 Promises: Faith-Based Strategies for Health, Wealth and Happiness, by Steve Akinboro
Winning, by Jack Welch
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, by Jim Collins
Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace, by Carla A Harris
Connecting With Steve Akinboro
Facebook: Steve Akinboro
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