What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?
I think my success as a leader is a direct result of my leadership style. What is most notable about my leadership style is that I lead by example. It does not matter what the task is, I am the first person willing to tackle it.
I firmly believe in never asking an employee to do something that I would not be willing to do myself, and I think that resonates deeply with my staff.
Naturally, the restaurant business comes with extremely long hours and very hard work. By battling in the trenches night in and night out with my employees, I have built and instilled a great culture and work ethic in all my restaurants.
In my experience, employees are much more willing to rise to the occasion when they see the boss rising to the occasion right alongside them.
What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?
I can say my leadership style never changed because of the pandemic.
The biggest lesson I learned from the disruptions that came from COVID-19 over the past 18 months was the significance of control in my industry. Control is absolutely crucial in the restaurant industry. Control over every little detail is something that restaurateurs need to get their vision executed properly, and over the last 18 months I realized that there are certain things that are 100% out of your control.
The big question was, “How do we adapt to our current situation in which we have minimal control?” Once I, myself, came to accept our current environment, I was able to work with my team on an individual level to strategize a way to push on collectively as a team.
Once we got a good grip on the situation, we were able to breathe a little easier from a management perspective. Our success was directly related to rolling with the punches and worrying only about what was within our control.
What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?
Empowering economic growth is extremely important to me as a restaurateur. For me, it is focusing on what I can do personally, and that is to continue to contribute to my community by successfully operating and staffing seven — soon to be eight — restaurant concepts.
I feel that Arizona, and the Phoenix Metro area as a whole, has and continues to set itself up for a successful future economically. We need to continue to embrace and bolster our business-friendly environment by working and building locally in our community.
I believe that supporting local business is paramount in fostering a thriving community, both economically as well as socially. Getting people excited about their community through events, charity and new business is also a great way to empower economic growth.
What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?
We have two very notable things coming up in the near future that will positively impact our community and economy. Common Ground Culinary is opening two new concepts this winter. At the end of December, our newest concept, Neighborly Public House, will be opening at The Colony on 7th Street and Missouri.
Neighborly Public House is exactly the elevated neighborhood spot that the Uptown Phoenix neighborhood has been craving. It will serve quality seafood, pristine cuts of meat and fresh vegetables.
The second concept, St. Urban, opening directly above Neighborly Public House at the start of 2022, is my take on a modern French brasserie. St. Urban is going to serve craft cocktails, beer and wine alongside light bites and shareable plates.
I have full faith in Arizona’s business community for the next five, 10 and 20 years, which is why I am opening these two concepts now.
Name of Leader: Christopher Collins
Position of Leader: Owner & Founder
Company Name: Common Ground Culinary
No. of Years with Company: 10
Main Local Office Address: 8390 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Phone: (602) 321-9758
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 9
Year Established Locally: 2011
City Nationally Headquartered: Phoenix