If I have said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I love my work. Recently, Sean Tresvant, Chief Branding Officer for Taco Bell, invited me to spend time with the marketing team at the picturesque Seabird Resort in Oceanside, California. I showed up ready to share my latest insights, however, I walked away with so much more. 

I was in a cocoon of marketing brilliance, and I wanted to learn how they became the No. 1 franchise system in the world. Five minutes into the meeting, I could tell that this was a different company. 

The tone was set by Sean. He simply said, “I want all of us to be great leaders who market instead of marketers who lead.” It was profound and riveting at the same time. 

The next big aha for me was their intentional focus on being human. They immersed themselves in a very revealing exercise called “Hopes and Fears.” The vulnerability, holding space for one another, and the commitment to support each other moving forward were priceless. I was stunned.

As I reflected on my time, it dawned on me that they were the living embodiment of these three leadership traits: 

Connect – I had the chance to go to their cocktail reception. I have to say, I’ve met many executive leaders during my lifetime. However, the Taco Bell Leaders of Marketing were exceptionally friendly, inquisitive about my journey from Disney Institute to sharing all over the world within the last 19 years, and gracious in feedback. 

It felt so good to be in person again. As each leader was introduced to me, I got a sense that they loved what they did and the lives they have a chance to impact all over the world. 

Care – According to the State of the Global Workplace Report – Gallup, employee stress is at an all-time high. Any nation, organization, or entity that has individuals working for them must double down on creating a mentally healthy and helpful environment for people to thrive. 

The days of working X hours to complete a task with Big Brother peering over your shoulder are gone. Simply put, what is the highest and best output you are able to contribute?

If you really want to let employees and prospective employees know that you care, consider these suggestions: 

  • Flexible work arrangement 
  • Family-friendly policies
  • Upward mobility 
  • Shifting sideways in their career 
  • Empowerment and trust
  • Clear career path 
  • Financial incentives
  • Positive culture and team environment  

These leaders for Taco Bell really care, and they weren’t phoning it in. 

Mark and Sean are the real deal. They really care about their team. 

Simon T. Bailey has the insight and inspiration to help you find your spark and unleash your brilliance to the world. With more than 30 years of experience, he worked with over 2,000 companies in 50 countries. He has helped countless people find their spark – he will help you finds yours.


Check out his newest book, Ignite the Power of Women in Your Life: A Guide for Men today.