Seven Strategies to Leverage Your Brand Success

HFJ-0087r In DreamWorks Pictures' charming new film "The Hundred-Foot Journey," Hassan (MANISH DAYAL, center) serves his father (OM PURI) Beef Bourguinon á la Hassan, a classic French dish with an Indian twist, as Madame Mallory (HELEN MIRREN) explains its significance to French chefs. Photo: Francois Duhamel ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Movies inspire me to see things differently and think outside the box.

The Hundred Foot Journey was no exception. It reinforced several key ingredients to achieving the success you desire.

A highlight of The Hundred Foot Journey was a talented cook, Hassan, who emigrated with his family from India to a quaint village in the south of France.

Hassan was the head cook for the family-style Indian restaurant they opened right across the road from a well-established elegant French restaurant. This move ignited Hassan’s desire to learn about French food and be known as a chef.

He had no formal culinary training. His education took place in the kitchen of the family restaurant in India with his mother before a fire destroyed everything. Cooking was part of who he was and is what he was passionate about.

There are seven key moves that Hassan took in this movie, leading to success while honouring what was most important to him. As leaders, these are seven moves that you can apply to living your brand and creating the success you desire.

#1 – Stay Curious

Hassan was a talented, gifted cook who was familiar with cooking Indian cuisine. Once in France, he wanted to know about French cooking. It wasn’t to throw away what he already knew and start over; it was to incorporate new knowledge that would enhance his craft.

As a leader, it is important to have a healthy level of curiosity to learn what can be adjusted to get even better results. Where is it you can become more curious?

#2 – Ask, Ask, Ask

To get what you want, it is important to ask for it. Hassan’s questions started with the basics; what books were the best to read and the basics he needed to master. He was savvy in asking the sous chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant what he needed to know. She was where he wanted to be.

Asking for what you need is a method to fast-track in getting what you want. Asking for help allows others to do the same. Asking questions ensures you have the whole story when making decisions. It takes courage and confidence to ask.

Asking is a powerful tool. Is there something you could ask for that could accelerate your learning or progress in getting you closer to what you want?

#3 – Take Action

To produce results, it is essential to take action. If Hassan was given books to read, he read them. When Marguerite, the sous chef, shared that he needed to master the five basic sauces, he made them. The success came from the doing.

There is a big difference between knowing something and applying what you know to make a difference in your results. What is it you ‘know’ that you are not currently applying to get you closer to your goals?

#4 – Ask For Feedback

Mastering the five sauces was important for Hassan. Within days of being given that information, he presented Marguerite, the sous chef, with the five different sauces to learn if he hit the mark. Her approval was the feedback he needed to know he hit the mark!

Ask for feedback from the right person or people whose opinion you value or are where you want to be. When asking, be specific about what you want to know.  Say things like, “I want to be more visible in meetings and speak with confidence, on a scale from one to ten; how did I do?” If not a ten, ask, “What do I need to do for it to be a ten?”

NOTE: After you ask your specific question to get feedback, your only job is to listen! Do not comment, make excuses or defend. When they are done, say thank you. Go away and ask yourself, “How can I use this information to be more of who I want to be?” Feedback provides an opportunity to adjust when needed.

#5 – Be Adaptable

Hassan and his family came from India and quickly learned they needed to adapt to their new environment if they were going to succeed. Learning to cook for their patrons in France was as much about using what they knew from their Indian roots as it was about adapting to what was available to them in their new environment.

Change can present challenges and can be uncomfortable. You want to make sure you keep the bigger picture in mind of what you are working toward instead of focusing on the change. It may be helpful to know it is not you who needs to change; you need to incorporate new ways of doing things that were not available to you before.

Where does resistance come up for you in your life? If you shift your perspective to see the benefits of adopting, what would you be willing to start doing differently?

#6 – Take Risks

Hassan took risks to follow his passion and develop his skill in becoming a chef. He literally had to take one hundred steps from working in an environment familiar to him with the people he loved to work in a kitchen that was foreign to him with people he barely knew.

When you stretch yourself when going after what calls you, not everyone will approve or support you. It will require that you move through the discomfort and possible fear. Growth and fulfillment come from pursuing your passion and not settling for good enough.

What would feel like a risk right now in your life, although when you got to the other side would feel awesome?

#7 – Follow Your Heart

Hassan followed his passion for being recognized as a chef. The path he took led him to fame, being stopped in the streets for his autograph and landing on magazine covers. He loved creating new experiences with food, although it wasn’t fame he was after. When reflecting, he discovered that cooking food that reminds him of home with a twist of France and being with people he loves is what made him happy.

Life can take on a momentum of its own when we let it. We can get caught up in taking that next step and fulfilling others’ expectations instead of evaluating what makes us happy. It is smart to check in with yourself periodically to ensure that what you are doing continues to align with what makes your heart sing. You can be successful, do what you love and be fulfilled. This has been role modeled for us by leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, and the list could go on.

The question here is simple, “Am I doing what makes me happy?” If the answer is no, “What is missing for me?” Remember it is different for everyone.

The Hundred Foot Journey entailed the physical, emotional and mental steps of going from a gifted Indian cook to a recognized talent in Paris. Ultimately demonstrating what is possible as a leader when you are true to who you are, own what you are an expert at and do work that has meaning.


Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!


Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Dorothy Lazovik

Dorothy is on a mission to shift the culture of organizations to people first! Supporting leaders in fulfilling their TO BE LIST to better deliver on their TO DO LIST. Doing the work impacts how leaders see themselves, the people they lead, the environment they create and the outcomes they achieve. Producing higher engagement, ownership and productivity. How would making a change like this elevate your business results?

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