Lessons in Leadership: Chris Ilitch

by Apr 4, 2011Insights, Interesting People, Leadership

Recently I had the opportunity to see Chris Ilitch speak about the Little Caesars culture and success. He is the son of the founder, Mike Ilitch. Some basics on this organization is that it is a privately held $4.2B company that derives income from 11 different organizations that includes pro sports (Tigers and Red Wings), pizza (Little Caesars), food distribution, entertainment, and gambling.

Here are the key values/beliefs that he titled – Secrets to the Sauce.

  1. Think Big / Set Goals
  2. Creativity and Innovation (remember Pizza Pizza? They started that craze)
  3. Courage and Risk Taking
  4. Perseverance and Commitment (“Not all risks pay off. Mistakes will happen.”)
  5. Humility and Character (“Don’t get to high. Don’t get to low.” “If you do something good people will find out about it.”
  6. People and Giving Back

Every speaker leaves you with something.  For me, the thing I took away was how long it took to build this organization and how diverse it has become.  The first store opened in 1961, the 100th in 1988, and the 2000th in 1989.  Overnight success?  Hardly.  Now their businesses go way beyond pizza, and yet what has not changed is a commitment to a struggling city (Detroit) and a state where it all started.  Chris ended the presentation with that reminder that their key has been to define what is important to them(this list) and then stick with it.

No family or business is perfect, and I am sure the Ilitchs are no different.  It is a great story and Chris Illitch does a great job telling it.

Recent & Related

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

When I did my own VTO 6 years ago I defined 4 core values: Serve First, Kindness Matters, Get it done, and Learning+Doing=Growth. This program emerged when I created a 10-year target to give away 20% of my revenue as a way of living my Serve First value. Through Serve...

read more

Why Every Member of Your Team Should Lead

If I asked you to draw me a picture of a leader, you might pull together a confident and commanding CEO running a meeting, a press conference, or a standup with a group of people. Leaders tend to stand out for how they carry themselves, what they wear, and certainly...

read more

A Different Approach to Onboarding From Day One

I had the delightful opportunity to chat with Kelly Plawinski, the COO and EOS Integrator at Adamy Valuation. Adamy is a financial services firm based out of Grand Rapids MI that serves business owners, legal experts,...

read more