Paul J. Brown is mainly known for leading the turnaround witnessed at Arby’s; he changed it from a loss-making business into a profitable one. He is currently the CEO of Inspire Brands, and he attributes this success to being a listener than a talker. After all, even Dalai Lama said that if you talk, you are only repeating what you know, but you can learn something new if you listen. This insight has propelled Brown into one of the most successful CEOs in the United States. Get to know more about Brown through the facts detailed below.
1. His Management Style
When he talked to Business Insider, Brown said that he preferred management by flying around. By this, he meant that he needed to be on the ground to see how his employees were doing. Therefore, he prefers a formal place to meet his employees during franchisee meetings and going to different restaurants to learn more about the business. He revealed that during his first few months touring the franchisees, Brown visited 50 locations across the US and met with 1,000 employees.
2. He Prefers Listening More and Talking Less
They say that there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth, and Brown seems to understand this going by the way he leads. He said that regardless of the stage that a brand is in when you listen more, you stand to know more about the weaknesses while also identifying the opportunities. Therefore, it is no surprise that he spent an entire six months as CEO of Arby’s on a listening tour. Besides, he disclosed that as an outsider, he was at an advantage of being the CEO who listens more because people did not expect him to know the answers.
3. What Helped Him Turn around Arby’s?
When you are hired by a company with a history of making losses worth millions of dollars each year, you are at risk of going down the same road as the previous CEOs unless you do something differently. Brown knew this, and since Arby’s already had seen too many CEOs who were not changing the company for the better, he decided it was time to lead from behind and have employees show him the way. He did this by asking them what they would do differently if they had a chance to run the company. The strategy worked because for the first time after a long time, Arby’s recorded a 20% increase in sales.
4. Studying at Georgia Institute of Technology Helped Him Overcome His Shyness
As an alumnus of Georgia Institute, Brown told the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine that being in the institution had a lasting impact on his career and life more than anything else he has ever done. He clarified that when he joined the school as a freshman, he was shy and reserved, but he gained interpersonal skills to build his self-confidence. He led several academic and social organizations, and the skills he gained have shaped him into the man he is today.
5. His Education
Besides getting his Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, the executive earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Additionally, Brown got a Master of Engineering degree from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
6. He is an Avid Reader
Brown revealed that although he likes reading about management, he prefers articles to books. His favorite articles are by Harvard Business Review, but he still gets to read a few books. He opines that “The World is Flat” is a must-read, which is expected given that Thomas Friedman is his favorite author.
7. He Likes Socializing with Colleagues Outside the Office
Most people prefer keeping a different crowd when they go out, reasoning that once you socialize with the same people you spend time with at the office, you will end up talking about work, yet you want a break from work. Brown does not seem to share this opinion because when he spoke to Franchising.com, he said that he likes meeting up with his colleagues in a social setting. Brown explained that while socializing, he learns more about the colleagues on a personal level, which is valuable for better working relationships.
8. His Favorite Vacation Destinations
Of course, for a person who does not have a limited budget, exotic travel destinations are on his bucket list. By 2013, Brown proudly said Southeast Asia and Vietnam were among his favorite holiday destinations, although he does not disclose what he loves about them. He added that Italy, Egypt, and Southern France were also enjoyable places to visit. For someone who has been at the helm of global companies, traveling comes with the job, especially since he manages by flying around.
9. He Maintains a Healthy Work-Life Balance
All work and no play will make Brown a dull man; thus, he tries to strike a healthy balance. The CEO usually exercises at least three times a week, and he prefers doing so in the morning before reporting to work at around 6.45 am. Morning exercises have been praised for enabling better focus and healthier food choices throughout the day. In his free time, he prefers spending time with his family and his dogs. Besides traveling with his family, Brown is always eager for long walks with his dogs in the morning and during the weekends.
10. His Net Worth
According to Wallmine, Brown is an independent director of H and R Block, a tax company that operates in the US, Canada, and Australia. For his services, the executive is paid $260,852. He also owns more than 15,000 units of the company’s stock, valued at over $5 million. His net worth as of mid-2020 was $5.34 million. Of course, the millions could also be because of his compensation as CEO of Inspire Brands.