Lessons learned from “Grinding It Out” by Ray Kroc

So I stood in front of my library and I thought to myself: “what to read next?” And I heard a voice in my head saying: “how about Grinding It Out?” And so I did…my reaction when I finished reading the book was: “What a marvelous book!”

“There are surprises on every page of this candid, witty, rags-to-riches story.”
Boston Morning Globe on “Grinding It Out”

Actually, I did not just read the 210 pages book. I lived it. It was a journey! Grinding It Out is so fast…I felt fire burning inside of me going from one page to another. And my heart was beating faster with every new event! It’s an action movie.

Grinding It Out is “the story of McDonald’s told by the man who started it all…In his own words. It’s the personal story behind his amazing success.”

Here are 6 lessons learned from Grinding It Out.

Lesson #1: Be different.

Let’s face it, anyone can make a burger better than McDonald’s, but not anyone can create an empire of franchise out of a single purchased restaurant. Back when Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s from the McDonald’s brothers, the business was already good and running. However, Ray Kroc had a vision for it. He saw McDonald’s as an empire. He came up with the Q.S.C. (Quality, Service, and Cleanliness), he was involved with the branding, he was stubborn when it came to the quality of the fries and beef. And was furious when he used to see a paper here or there on the restaurant’s floor. Better than all of that, he created a system that no other restaurant could beat, especially the McDonald’s franchise system.

Lesson #2: It is never too late.

Ray Kroc was 52 when he purchased his first franchise from the McDonald’s brothers…He was a salesman his entire life! Then he tried to go into a business in the multi-mixer industry with a manager of his…that was a nightmare. However, he was able later on to purchase a McDonald’s franchise. So did he waste the first 52 years of his life? Absolutely not! The guy spent all these years gaining new skills. Becoming a better salesman. Learning and growing. Success never comes over-night. It’s a system that you need to build day in and day out. It’s a group of small habits that you do every day. So to wrap it up, what happened to Ray after 52 years was the result of all the work that he’s done. Never lose hope.

Lesson #3: Think win-win.

In any relationship, if one party wants to have it all, it logically means that the other party will lose. In Grinding It Out, Ray Kroc writes about his thoughts on suppliers, employees, franchisees, and customers. He built a win-win relationship with each. The way he looked at these people was: “everyone is important.” People produce much better results when they feel safe and appreciated. “A well run restaurant is like a baseball team, it makes the most of every crew member’s talent and takes advantage of every split-second opportunity to speed up service.” (Grinding It Out, p.99) There are two win-win situations here. The first one is with the staff. When you make the most of every crew member’s talent, they elevate their self-esteem and trust their selves more, they become loyal to the company and provide better service. The second is when you speed up service for your customers, they will be more satisfied, so they become loyal and you’ll serve more customers.

Lesson #4: Be stubborn if you believe in your idea.

“There’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it.” (Grinding It Out, p.59) One thing that made Ray Kroc a very successful person was his stubbornness. His wife was not happy about his risk taking, but he knew what he wanted and how to get it. Ray saw what no one else could see. He did not see a restaurant. He did not see a business. He saw something bigger. Something more meaningful. But after all, he was a salesman. He knew how to sell his idea clearly to others. And that’s how he persuaded his team to believe in McDonald’s. His team believed in him and in his vision. Another stubborn entrepreneur was Walmart’s Sam Walton.

Lesson #5: When you’re the leader, stand in the front.

That’s practically what the word leader means. Leaders lead. They stand in the front. He takes initiative. He’s the first person to do something. He has faith in himself and he’s not afraid or shy to do something that might embarrass him. You can conclude from Grinding It Out that Ray Kroc was that type of person. He takes initiative, he executes, and pushes others to take action. He was a true leader.

Lesson #6: Roll up your sleeves and dig in…

You want people to follow you? You want to achieve your goals? Don’t sit still. Roll up your sleeves and start working. You know that saying “monkeys see, monkeys do?” The same thing applies to humans…” humans see, humans do!” Plus, try procrastinating once.  It becomes a habit! When you have a task that you need to do, just do it! That’s a starting step to becoming an achiever. There are these two proverbs in Arabic that go something like this:

The first one is: “Don’t leave today’s tasks until tomorrow, because tomorrow you’ll have  other tasks to do.”

And the second one is actually a verse of a poem and it’s something like: “If you had an idea, take action. Otherwise, hesitation will ruin that idea.”

Finally, Grinding It Out by Ray Kroc and Robert Anderson is one of the best books that I have lived. I enjoyed every page of it. If you are looking for inspiration in your life, I definitely suggest reading Grinding It Out. I also suggest this book for entrepreneurs, wantrepreneurs, startup owners, SMEs managers, and MBA students. Once you read this book, you can’t forget the story. GOOD LUCK!

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Ray Kroc’s personal image is courtesy of: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ray-Kroc

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