I’m a foodservice operator by nature, nurture and choice – a third-generation restaurateur whose grandfather ran a lunchroom and whose father ran a cafeteria (two segments that have all but disappeared from the foodservice landscape). I cut my teeth in QSR and casual-theme segments with KFC and Brinker International Inc. My siblings and kids both work in the business, and I even met my wife at the Texas Restaurant Show. So it goes without saying that I owe a lot to the industry.

My youngest son — a junior in high school — is the latest Sullivan to join the foodservice rank and file. He sells ButterBurgers, crinkle-cut fries and custard for Culver’s in Wisconsin. I am naturally very interested in his experience, and I love seeing today’s foodservice market reflected through the prism of a 16-year-old. When I recently asked him what he thought was his manager’s toughest job, he said, “I guess having to get all the different personalities and people motivated to go in the same direction.”

“And how do they do that?” I asked him.

He affected his best sportscaster voice and replied, “Teamwork makes the dream work, Dad.” 

OK, so he was being a tad sarcastic — the result of a malfunctioning “hospitality gene,” no doubt — but he was right, too. All work is teamwork, and despite a leader’s best intentions, if you don’t focus and align your crew to move in the right direction, you end up managing more and achieving less. Without discipline and direction, a team’s performance is like an octopus on roller skates: There’s a lot of movement, but you can’t predict if it’s going to be forward, backward or sideways.

In order to shed more insight on the art of teambuilding and teamwork, I’d like to share some of my favorite mantras on working together. Forward this column to all of your managers, and discuss it at your next meeting. Determine where your talent and training gaps lie, and specify a plan to bolster both in the next 90 days.

1.     People first, “employees” second.

2.     If you’re not serving the customer directly, you’d better be serving someone who is.

3.     A strong team is like good health. Its value is rarely appreciated until it’s gone.

4.     What you reinforce is what you get. What you don’t reinforce is what you lose.

5.     You’re hired by the people you report to and fired by the people who report to you.

6.     Invest first in people, second in brand, third in bricks and mortar.

7.     Management problems always turn out to be people problems.

8.     Sullivan’s Law of Extinction: Good work that goes unacknowledged will gradually disappear.

9.     The way we treat our team members determines how they will treat our guests.

10.  The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack.

11.  You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go. School is never out for the pro.

12.  Hiring good people will not ensure a manager’s success, but hiring bad people will ensure the manager’s failure.

13.  A leader who’s confused about who he or she is will lead a group of people who are confused about who they are.

14.  Favors granted soon become thought of as rights.

How do you inspire your teams to work together? Join the conversation in the comments below.

15.  America’s most neglected resource is recognition.

16.  First-rate people hire first-rate people. Second-rate people hire third-rate people.

17.  “You lose with potential. You win with performance.” – Former National Football League coach Bill Parcells

18.  The largest praise you can give your employees is to listen to their tiniest ideas.

19.  High performers hate to work with low performers.

20.  Manage and drive team energy – not just performance.

21.  If she works for you, you work for her.

22.  Hire noticeably better people each time you hire.

23.  Catch people doing something right. If you see it, say it.

24.  Never walk past a problem, or you’ve approved it.

25.  People will do what you encourage them to do, not what you nag them to do.

26.  Employees are our first market. Never treat a customer better than you do an employee.

27.  All behavior is a consequence. You get what you reward.

28.  It’s not that the other teams are that much better than us. It’s that we’re not as good as we can be.

29.  Ground people; don’t grind them.

30.  If you see a fault in others, think of two of your own, and do not add a third one by your hasty judgment.

31.  “It’s not enough to get things done. You must make people around you feel involved — not just part of the process, but part of the leadership.” – Author and consultant Keith Ferrazzi

32.  “If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll lose to someone who does.” – Author and Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jerry Porras

33.  “How can we be the kind of company that would put us out of business?” – Restaurateur Danny Meyer

That’s a short list of some of the best things ever said about teamwork. If you’d like to see more on your phone, tablet or laptop, download our free QuoteZilla application at Google Play or iTunes.